Theremind

There is an old tobacco factory in Lavapies, it should have been a new and shiny center for visual arts, but there is a crisis and the Cultural Department has no money. In the meantime the neighbors and artists have started moving in and organizing activities.

I have received another grant and this time I bought Max 5. This means that I could start working on my first patch for the EEG machine. It will be a straight brain wave to sound wave, only multiplying the frequencies into audible ones, much like a theremin. First of all the IBVA is fast, very fast at low resolution, but with only 3 sensors it’s a bit limited in the sampling area. I guess to really work with the P300 signals you need a full EEG helmet to capture all the parts. An Argentinian friend reminded me of the differences between this and Magnetic Resonance Imaging where you look inside the brain, EEG are signals going out of the cranium and can in a way be interpreted as a thermin. I suspect that working with IBVA live on a performer can quickly generate noise-only with its cable from sensors to the bluetooth sender. There are other systems, cheaper and more suited for a live setting, we hacked both the Jedi Trainer and Neurosky Mindset a time back when I helped develop this project:

The Mexican Standoff removes the link between the persons thoughts and actions; people are directly thinking about what they are doing – creating a hyper-reality. Two people use their minds via EEG headsets to fire their guns in a Mexican Standoff realized in an ultra-violent first person shooter (FPS). To trigger the EEG interface the person needs to relax. When this is detected the avatar will begin to shoot the other.

So here I am hooking myself up before the morning coffee. Looking, listening and feeling as it enters me. Often with headache as the result, staring into my brain doing nothing but mind flexing is tiring. These are the first steps in a larger project, it is the old impress – express. A video will form a base upon where the patients get their head information recorded. These data once stored and analyzed are later used in Max to control machines, sound and video in the performance space. When I discovered that the EEG laboratory at Gaustad was financed by CIA’s MKULTRA it was the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to make this into a performance project.

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