Immersive Installation Controlled by Brainwaves
DREAM 2.2 (2018)
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, TAIWAN, February-June 2018
DREAM 2.2 is an immersive installation by Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer (PluginHUMAN). Audiences use their brainwaves to control the installation’s audio-visuals.
DREAM 2.2 features an original brain-computer interface designed using TouchDesigner and Ableton Live, and EEG (electroencephalogram) headsets. These headsets track the electrical activity of the brain. This provides audiences with an immersive installation experience and a personalised connection to their neural data.
THE INSTALLATION SPACE
DREAM 2.2 features an immersive room design designed shaped by a ‘brain forest’; a 13m x 6m maze. The maze is made from 100 hand-painted, 4-meter-high PVC panels that hang from the ceiling. When people move through the maze they are surrounded by abstract projection-mapped visuals. The outer walls are covered in reflective mirrors. The effect of the mirrored walls and the projection-mapped maze creates a mesmerising, uncanny immersive art experience shaped by neural data, light projections, reflections and quadrophonic sound.
This exhibition also features a poem that is projection-mapped onto the front of the installation’s resting platform. DREAM 2.2 performer Coco Disco wrote the poem, drawing inspiration from their own dreams. The poem operates as a linguistic tool that further assists audiences to immerse themselves in the otherworldly, dreamlike environment of the installation.
THE INTERACTIVE ART EXPERIENCE
During the installation people can sit or lie down on the DREAM 2.2 resting platform. Each person can wear an EEG headset. They can view a tablet displaying graphs of their neural data. The five graphs on the display track changes in Alpha, Beta, Delta, Theta and Gamma neural signals. When no one is wearing the EEG headset, the graph’s lines are flat. As soon as the EEG is fitted on someone’s head, the graphical lines move, tracking changes in neural activity. This provides audiences with a traditional scientific display of their neural data, and it’s a clear indication that the headset is working. When they wear the headset, people’s neural activity controls the audio and visuals in the installation space, in real time. People see immediate changes in their surrounding environment. Their neural function forms abstract visuals that are projected onto the installation’s maze and they trigger audio effects. Different neural function creates different audio-visual effects, so everyone’s experience is unique.
DREAM 2.2 performances feature two sleeping performers and PluginHUMAN (Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer). PluginHUMAN assign visual and audio effects to the performers’ neural data in real-time. This data is then projection-mapped onto the exhibition’s maze. The data takes the form of abstract visualisations. The audio consists of a 30-minute electronic soundtrack. When the performers generate specific neural signals, new audio sounds are automatically triggered and layered over the soundtrack.
RELATED ACADEMIC PUBLICATION
Betty Sargeant ~ Artist (maze design), producer
Justin Dwyer ~ Artist (projection mapping), programmer
Coco Disco ~ Performer, writer
Levi Dwyer ~ Performer
Andrew Ogburn ~ Composer