Elucidating Feedback
File Festival

The more we look, the more we see, the more we see the more we look. “Elucidating feedback” is a brain-controlled installation about the creativity inherent in the act of observation. The more attention that is paid to the installation, the more order is reflected in the video and audio. The idea is that we create the finer details of our experience through the act of being attentive. The more we observe our environment, the more we discover, and the result of this active process is the creation of the rich details of our experience. The project uses neuro feedback supplied through interaction between the user and a BCI (brain-computer interface) device. The mindset (the BCI device) reads your brainwaves and this alters how the installation creates form from static. The more attention is paid, the more pattern is formed; as less attention is paid, the pattern breaks back into static. This is intended to form a feedback loop between the user’s attention and the subject of their attention (the projected patterns). The audio-visual aspect of the installation produces pattern, order and detail in direct proportion to the attention that the user is currently paying. If the user is in a state where the mind is freely wandering and not focused on any one thing, the patterns decay into static, bringing the installation back to a state of stasis.


Céu de aço
A topografia íntima do cérebro é disposta em uma grade de 80 placas de teto de aço. O visitante pode experimentar a dinâmica de seu eu cognitivo usando uma interface de EEG, que permite que ele caminhe sob a representação acústica de suas próprias ondas cerebrais. As ressonâncias acumuladas de chapas de aço geram tons penetrantes. A distribuição espacial do impacto e a sobreposição de reverberações criam um espaço sonoro físico para abrigar um fluxo intangível de consciência. ‘Staalhemel’ (‘céu de aço’, 2009) articula a relação contraditória que mantemos com nosso próprio sistema nervoso. O feedback neurológico faz com que o foco cognitivo seja repetidamente interrompido pela representação deste foco. O pensamento concentrado tenta se retratar em um espaço que é remodelado pensando-se quase a cada fração de segundo.

localStyle (Marlena Novak & Jay Alan Yim) in collaboration with Malcolm MacIver

‘scale’ is an interspecies art project: an audience-interactive installation that involves nocturnal electric fish from the Amazon River Basin. Twelve different species of these fish comprise a choir whose sonified electrical fields provide the source tones for an immersive audiovisual environment. The fish are housed in individual tanks configured in a custom-built sculptural arc of aluminum frames placed around a central podium. The electrical field from each fish is translated into sound, and is thus heard — unprocessed or with digital effects added, with immediate control over volume via a touchscreen panel — through a 12-channel surround sound system, and with LED arrays under each tank for visual feedback. All software is custom-designed. Audience members interact as deejays with the system. Amongst the goals of the project is our desire to foster wider public awareness of these remarkable creatures, their importance to the field of neurological research, and the fragility of their native ecosystem.The project leaders comprise visual/conceptual artist Marlena Novak, composer/sound designer Jay Alan Yim, and neural engineer Malcolm MacIver. MacIver’s research focuses on sensory processing and locomotion in electric fish and translating this research into bio-inspired technologies for sensing and underwater propulsion through advanced fish robots. Novak and Yim, collaborating as ‘localStyle’, make intermedia works that explore perceptual themes, addressing both physical and psychological thresholds in the context of behavior, society/politics, and aesthetics.

Christoph De Boeck


The intimate topography of the brain is laid out across a grid of 80 steel ceiling tiles as a spatialized form of tapping. The visitor can experience the dynamics of his cognitive self by fitting a wireless EEG interface on his head, that allows him to walk under the acoustic representation of his own brain waves.The accumulating resonances of impacted steel sheets generates penetrating overtones. The spatial distribution of impact and the overlapping of reverberations create a very physical soundspace to house an intangible stream of consciousness.‘Staalhemel’ (‘steel sky’, 2009) articulates the contradictory relationship we entertain with our own nervous system. Neurological feedback makes that the cognitive focus is repeatedly interrupted by the representation of this focus. Concentrated thinking attempts to portray itself in a space that is reshaped by thinking itself nearly every split second.