Artistic-technological research project and installation
Interactive BCI + VR Media Installation
Core team: Manuel Bonell, Michael Bonell, Flavia Mazzanti, Imani Rameses
work in progress, 2020-2021
Neuro-Traces is an artistic-technological research project and installation addressing new possibilities between cognitive processes and spatial translations. The project is realized in the form of an interactive XR (extended reality) installation combining both: BCI (Brain Computer interface via an EEG) and VR (Virtual Reality via VR Goggles). We offer the visitor a completely individual and immersive experience in the form of a continuously changing and abstract formation, which is reacting to the affective sensation of the person’s well being.
The project arises from an artistic-architectural background and it focuses on the aspect of well being in our spatial environment. Both the visitor and the virtual spatial configuration engage in a continuous process of reciprocation, influencing and being influenced by one another: the virtual formation tries to understand the human’s affective sensations and to adapt itself in order to find an equilibrium between the form of the space and the person’s well being. Through the use of the virtual, the provided configuration aims to go beyond static and restricted perceptions of space, showing an abstract landscape in a reciprocal state of adaptation.
Contrary to classic Neurofeedback applications, Neuro-Traces is not merely interested in the empirical data visualization and neurological impulses, or derived control commands, but rather the implications of the user’s interactive experience with her own “visual consciousness” while embedded in a virtual environment. Despite the ever pervading BCI projects developed within the last decade, we understand there to be a young cooperation within the field of artistic experimentation using EEG and VR technologies; a novelty more specifically present in the use of immersive experience within an artistic-architectural context.
Setup: The project works with an 8 channel EEG from g.tec. - a simple yet effective EEG device used to record data in the form of waves or frequencies that correlate with neural activity in cortical areas of the brain. By selecting appropriate EEG channels that correspond to specific regions of the brain, we aim to elicit brain states that correlate to the moods of relaxation and tranquility in efforts to offer the visitor an enhancement of her general well being. The measured brain data received from the EEG are then converted and assigned to specified parameters that drive the behavior of the virtual configuration, which is experienced in real time through a VR Headset.
Experience: The visitor is experiencing seemingly organic structures, testing, analyzing, and adapting different configurations in order to find a balance. The formation is focusing on abstractness, without any visual association or representational figures with our built environment. In this realm, there is no more body, no more hands as a tool for interaction. In Neuro-Traces the visitor becomes both a viewer and a performer, merging with the landscape in a self-reflective performative act.