Zsuzsa Dárdai

Árnyékkötök / Shadow-weaver

Dendrites of the brain - Our Brains are fractal, with far reaching branches

After decades of practicing the artistic mapping of dendrite crystals, I have turned my attention to the artistic editing of dendrites of the brain, the discovery of the brain’s fractal nature. Concerning its medical background, my consultant was anaesthetist Dr Márton Mocskonyi. The word dendrite (branches) is derived from the Greek word dendron (tree). Dendrites may refer either to extensions of nerve cells or to crystal formations. Both were named after their branch-like design. The crystals have been formed by the rules of physics, the nerve cell extensions have been formed by their function.

DD 1
50 x 50 cm

I was looking for brain dendrite samples in the internet, that served as the basis of my artworks. By examining the nerve tissues that are treated by special techniques through the optical microscope, wonderful projections are created.

There is a long extension, the axon, which is attached to the body of the nerve cell along with numerous shorter ones, the dendrites. The dendrites significantly expand the surface through which the cell can communicate with other cells. At the beginning of ontogeny these extensions are formed through the more and more complicated systems of connections among the cells and are maintained throughout the life of the individual.

(Neuron - dendrid of Brain, from an unknown recording)

50 x 50 cm

Namely, it is the use which creates the system of „branches” and in case the transmission of stimuli ends, the system begins to dwindle. This is the explanation behind the improving capabilities – both mental and physical – by learning and practice on the one hand, and the wilt of certain functions due to lack of use, on the other.

Dendrites can be viewed as the transistors of the computer; they operate with electric signs. Dendrites receive input from other neurons and they carry the signs to the body of the cell. If the neuron is stimulated enough, it emits a potential to act, an electric impulse which stimulates the other neurons.

(Nerves, from an unknown recording)