[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] back to main

The brief to think about nothing is derived from the experience of looking at stereograms: when perceiving the illusion of depth within the image, the perceiver enters a virtual 3D space which evokes a sense of calm, a feeling of an ensuing less busy mind.

The software that records and analyses the EEG within the database has been developed by programmer Jonny Bradley over two previous projects: Divided By Resistance and Thought Conductor. Looking At Primitives will be the final work in this triptych of performances, with the software developed to produce virtual 3D shapes from the interaction of live EEG data with archived EEG data and primitive shapes within a database. For this performance, the software will analyse the participant’s live EEG while they contemplate 'nothing'; nearest matches to the real-time brainwave will be made from the database of previously donated EEG producing a primitive shape with each match. Due to the potential vagaries of the live brainwave, over time more matches will be made, increasing the potential complexity of the combined primitive shapes. The participant's EEG output as a result of their brain state will be highly individual. The complex-shape generation module within the project software will take specific cues from the individual participant when combining the evoked primitives.

Factors such as hemispherical symmetry, mean frequency and amplitude will influence the way the primitives ultimately relate through boolean type operations. The final virtual complex shape will be generated as a .STL file which is the standard CAD format for 3D print technology.

Due to the invasive nature of the project interface - applying a series of electrodes to the participant’s skull and the manipulation of personal data from members of the public - consent forms for performance participants have been drawn up and the project concept and methodology have been presented to and consequently approved by an ethics commitee from London South Bank University.

Research and Development for this project has been supported by a 3 year AHRB Fellowship awarded to Bruce Gilchrist, 2002-2005. A Science Museum Art projects 5 (SMAP5), Big Ideas commission, led to further conceptual development for the integration of architectural principles into the project software to generate a Pavilion of Thought: each 'Thought Object' produced becoming a component in a larger architecture. Future performances of Looking At Primitives will be produced by London Fieldworks.
page 2 of 5