It's been a while since my last post. Austin has kept me busy over the last few months with so many great interactive art projects. I will say my last one most definitely was my smallest and most intimate and my most gratifying.
It was not too long ago that when I had returned to Berlin I had made the goal to go back to school which was my driving force for going back and getting my visa. A lot of people didn't know I wanted to go back to school and that is because I've been acting like i've been in school ever since I left. My goal in my work was to practice things I couldn't in my undergrad but were not available inn any of the graduate programs I was interested in: Art Therapy using Video. The field of art therapy I had been interested in was gestalt theory and to me what that meant for video was allowing a way for people to see how they saw their life and the world by magnifying one moment. Fast forward 3 years later and I am creating art that is purely experiential(or I hope is). There has of course been a lot of "what the heck am I doing moments" but when you are creating an experience it is easier when you realize that you have given a moment to someone that they will never forget. It was on my last project that I felt that most of all.
It was an installation for a Neuroscience graduate lab at UT lead by assistant professor Laura Colgin. They studied brain waves and had approached us after we had created something small and fun for a recent party of theirs using EEG headsets and an eye tracker. Laura asked if we could create an installation that would appeal to the old and young, was a 5 min experience, used alpha brain waves that were triggered when you closed your eyes. As someone that typically works with video, I considered what this installation would consist of if the person needed to close their eyes. These people would most likely be older(60-70) since the event was about memory and they happened to be the most concerned on it since they were loosing it the quickest. after a couple of days of creating a couple ideas(recording the brain waves and letting people see it after) I quickly realized this was a great opportunity to bring in a new element I never use....stereophonic sound. We would create an installation that would allow the user to hear a musical composition in stereophonic sound using their alpha brain waves.
The goal was to create an ephemeral sound that accompanied the fleeting restless mind and aided it in a relaxation. once relaxed the alphas brain waves would increase and the participant could enjoy the complex melody.
Once the event came around, experience would prove to be much more amazing then expected. The quick set up and 2-5 min experience left kids and adults smiling a minute into their eyes closed. In fact, it became very difficult to tell people it was over because they were enjoying it so much. It was like trying to wake a child from a dream. It was in fact the most pleasing moment I've had watching people interact with any one of my installations and reminded me of why I do what I do.