Poiesis / Tumult

An audiovisual art installation powered by brainwaves.

Creating cataclysmic storms from meditation

New York-based visual and performance artist Lia Chavez approached us for a one-of-a-kind collaboration. For her project, Poesis/Tumult, Lia wanted to demonstrate the visceral light effects she experienced during deep states of meditation.

Execution

With sensors placed around Lia’s head we monitored her changing brain activity in real time while she meditated. Custom-built code translated these signals and transmitted them via Bluetooth to a strobe light. We were able to detect the frequency and strength of Lia’s brainwaves; the deeper Lia’s state of meditation the brighter and more intensively the strobe would flash - dramatically illuminating the art installation around her. During intermediate states, the effect would fade.

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Results

Lia has performed Poesis/Tumult twice. First, during an eight-hour performance in Dundee, Scotland and finally during the 2014 Frieze Art Fair in London.