Okay fine, maybe this is more of an artistic representation that's taken a few liberties, but still, the Neuron Chamber on display at Maker Faire 2009 is a pretty cool looking piece of extraterrestrial art.
Creator Alan Rorie says that the concept behind the Neuron Chamber is that there are alien brains inside the chamber that are under observation, and we're watching the cerebral process at work. In this case, it's an reaction moving from the Soma down the Axon of the neuron.
In actual terms, this is an arc puller causing an atmospheric reaction that looks like a flame moving down the rail. Rorie likens the design to a horizontal Jacob's Ladder. Throw in some steampunky elements for good measure and you get a pretty neat art exhibit. [Almost Scientific]