For those of you who, like me, find themselves absorbed by the bite-size advertisements that line the London underground's escalators on a daily basis, you may have noticed a colourful depiction of a human brain with the words 'Wonder' attached. These relatively new additions mark the Barbican’s exploration into the crux between the arts and neuroscience. Now, as a former neuroscientist, it's safe to say that this got me very excited. Even more so, when I got home and discovered there was to be a performance lecture into one of the field's greyest areas; Consciousness.

The night, which was lead by prevalent mathematician Marcus du Sautoy and featured the music of Border Community founder James Holden, created somewhat of a buzz and this was apparent from the air of anticipation that saturated a brimful Barbican hall. With the lights dimmed, and with them the gentle murmurs of expectation, all attention was focused to a single human brain, which, as du Sautoy later explained, was that of an old lady who had donated her organs to medical science. This dramatic opening set the tone for the rest of the night as du Sautoy, with the help of four charismatic professors, proceeded to explore the very nature of one of the most complex phenomena known to mankind.

With that said, the complexity of the issue didn't hinder its accessibility and the clever use of animations, video accompaniment and comprehensible communication meant this was not a lecture in the traditional sense. This was all the more apparent in the moments of audience involvement, which at times were more akin to a Christmas pantomime. Holden's running soundtrack throughout helped to create a dramatic tone, complementing both the subject matter and the way in which du Sautoy presented it.

Questions into ways in which we might be able to measure consciousness in both animals and infants provided moments of comic relief, whilst those into the possibilities of artificial consciousness took more of somber tone. One minor criticism I had of the night was the lack of philosophical content into what would appear to be a very philosophical subject. With that said, only touching on this seemingly infinite landscape may have been just as detrimental.

The night ended with an ambient performance by Holden (plus band), aiming to absorb and create a collective audience 'consciousness' and whilst this was somewhat lost on me, was impressive in the musical sense nonetheless.

Uncertainty can often be a double-edged sword when it comes to the build up to an event with the preceding ambiguity leading to either a sense of disappointment or contrastingly, that of pleasant surprise. In this case, I found myself wholly immersed in the latter.