New York

Francesc Torres

Whitney Museum of American Art

Francesc Torres’ multimedia installation, The Head of the Dragon, grew out of the artist’s interest in neurologist Paul MacLean’s model of the triune brain. MacLean, according to Torres, sees the brain as something like an archaeological site, composed of three different layers of evolutionary development—the cerebral cortex, the limbic system, and the R-Complex (the deepest and most primitive layer, which dominates the brains of our evolutionary forebears, the reptiles and lizards). Though all three layers operate simultaneously in the human brain, in this installation Torres chose to focus on the pervasive influence of the R-Complex in Western civilizations; by so doing, he suggested the ways in which primitive forms of territoriality, aggression, and ritual function in our approaches to technological development, power relationships, and war.

Appropriately, the dominant image in the

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