One of the pieces of the exhibit was in a pitch black room. After you stood in the room for 30 seconds or so, a light came on to reveal a poster in front of you. The poster told the story of a doctor during the French Revolution who was interested in seeing how long the human brain remained conscious after it was separated from the body. This being the French Revolution, he had plenty of opportunities to study it.
The poster went on to describe a beheading where the doctor continued to talk to a head after the guillotine dropped and separated it from its body. He described the face's expressions and reactions in some detail, noting that the head remained conscious for about 50 seconds - about the time, the poster's last line read, that it took you to read this poster. Then the lights went out and the room was pitch black again.
It was an eerie feeling standing in the dark room. I don't think a better demonstration of the length of time the head remained conscious could be made. What was the head feeling during this time? Was he feeling a sore neck? Did he have a headache? Could he feel his body? Why do we find such macabre things interesting?
Answers to those questions require further study, I guess. I moved on to the next room, where the artist had a movie of a bug moving its legs over and over again. Beauty in art, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder.