Category: MaxMSP

Eunoia – h20 manipulated with the mind

“Eunoia” is a performance that uses conceptual artists Lisa Parks brainwaves (collected via a NeuroSky EEG sensor) to manipulate the motions of water. It derives from the Greek word “eu” (well) + “nous” (mind) meaning “beautiful thinking”. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a brainwave detecting sensor. It measures frequencies of her brain activity (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Theta) relating to her state of consciousness while wearing it. The data collected from EEG is translated in realtime to modulate vibrations of sound with using software programs. EEG sends the information of my brain activity to Processing, which is linked with Max/MSP to receive data and generate sound from Reaktor.

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Park used the EEG headset to monitor the delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves of her brain as well as eye movements and transformed the resulting data with specialized software into sound waves. Five speakers are placed under shallow dishes of water which then vibrate in various patterns in accordance with her brain activity.

While the system is not an exact science, Park rehearsed for nearly a month by thinking about specific people whom she had strong emotional reactions to. The artist then correlated each of the five speakers with certain emotions: sadness, anger, hatred, desire, and happiness.

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Composer and experimental musician Alvin Lucier had a somewhat similar performance called Music for Solo Performer back in 1965.

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