Description: AUDIO-VISUAL BRAIN OSCILLATION SYNCHRONISATION, 2013
Artist Name: LOVID & SEAN MONTGOMERY [US]
Telephone Rewired is an immersive audiovisual art installation and scientific experiment examining the role of oscillations in the brain and the future of human cognition. As viewers enter the exhibit, the surrounding oscillations of light and sound begin to dominate their perception. Using previously documented techniques to manipulate the viewer’s dominant electroencephalography (EEG) frequencies with light and sound, the viewers’ brain oscillations synchronise with the installation’s frequencies, stimulating the brain’s endogenous waveforms, including beta (focused attention), theta (deep relaxation) and alpha (calm awareness). Viewers don an EEG monitor to create a neurofeedback loop and the experiment begins. Flashing images appear, and the resulting event-related potentials (ERPs) are captured and written to disk for subsequent analysis. Images continue to appear, some immediately seen and others hardly noticed. As the frequencies of the flickering and beating installation modulate brain oscillations, they affect the viewer’s consciousness. After experiencing a cycle of frequencies, viewers exit to complete memory testing and a subjective report. Oscillations from the previous viewer influence the progression of frequencies experienced by the following viewer, and this carry-over connects each individual’s personal experience with those of other participants. This direct sharing of brain oscillations provides a model for novel communication methods as human consciousness transforms into more distributed networks.Willful alteration of physiological and cognitive processes will become increasingly important as humanity progresses and will become increasingly possible as we develop greater neuroscientific understanding. Existing at the intersection of art, science, and technology, Telephone Rewired gives viewers a visceral experience that demonstrates the role of brain oscillations in cognition, while concurrently engaging viewers in scientific research about these oscillations. The work invites viewers to consider the potential of neurofeedback and the future of augmented collaborative cognition.