About the Series

In this series, Matthew MacKisack explores the ways in which visual mental imagery or ‘seeing with the mind’s eye’ has been understood and employed by art, science, and medicine.

The first of three episodes presents a history of ‘guided visualising’ – the instruction to imagine that appears across religious, aesthetic, philosophical, and therapeutic contexts – and asks if there is an underlying impetus to the various manifestations.

The second treats in dramatic form the experimental use of imagery tasks and brain scanning to detect awareness in the vegetative state, where, asked to imagine performing certain physical activities, the apparently vegetative subject gives responses that are indistinguishable from those of healthy controls.

The third episode examines the historical context, personal experiences, and philosophical implications of the recently-named condition ‘aphantasia’: the absence of a functioning ‘mind’s eye’.

This series of programmes is authored by Matthew MacKisack, Associate Research Fellow of the Medical School at University of Exter, and co-produced with The Arts & Culture Unit.

It will be broadcast as part of the second series of Modulations: Broadcasting Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, on Resonance 104.4fm.