ThetaLab is a new project by George Poonkhin Khut and James Brown exploring alternate subjectivities facilitated by neurofeedback interactions, presented as part of ISEA2013. The project aims to develop and document new forms and contexts for creative practice that use the technologies of neurofeedback to explore alternate modes of attention and interaction as a focus for artistic enquiry. Electronic soundscapes controlled by increases in Alpha, and then Theta brainwave activity are used to assist volunteers to sense, increase and then sustain – these brainwave patterns to produce a state of heightened hypnogogic reverie, at the threshold of sleep, in sessions lasting between 45 to 90 minutes at a time. Recollections and reflections on the experience of ‘being inside’ the work, and its aftereffects, recorded with participants after their interaction – by way of journal entries, sketches and spoken narratives – provide the basis for an exhibition that invites visitors to consider the possibility of an aesthetics of engagement, and cognitive orientation.
In contrast to other work in the area of creative brain-computer interaction that have focussed for the most part on concert-performance – ThetaLab’s emphasis is on facilitating, documenting and then reflecting on alternate modes of attention and interaction – and the range of insights and subjectivities these specialised forms of cognitive orientation can support: how does it feel to engage with oneself and the artworks (sound design) under these unusual conditions? How might this experience colour subsequent experience of daily life activities and meditative processes?
This presentation will present an introduction to the creative neurofeedback methods used in this project, including a discussion of caveats regarding the reliability of EEG data in non-clinical settings, the compositional strategies required for this type of interaction, and preliminary interview materials gathered from volunteer neurofeedback subjects as part of ISEA2013.
- George Poonkhin Khut, Australia.
- James Brown, Australia.