The Brain-Controlled Art Of Lisa Park

Lisa Park is a multidisciplinary artist whose recent work explores incorporating biometric sensors (heart-rate and brainwave sensors) into interactive art.

Eunoia, above, is a performance that uses brainwaves – collected via a Neurosky EEG (Electroencephalography) sensor – to generate sound and manipulate the motions of water. The title is derived from the Greek word “eu” (well) + “nous” (mind) meaning “beautiful thinking”.

The work combines audio synthesis, cymatics, sculpture and performance. 

The data collected from Park’s EEG is translated in realtime, controlling the performance. EEG controls Processing, which is linked with Max/MSP to receive data and generate sound from Reaktor.

Park explores the process behind Eunoia in the video embedded below:

More information on Park is available via her website.

via musicofsound

15 thoughts on “The Brain-Controlled Art Of Lisa Park

    1. You bring up a great point, actually. The piece is nice enough. I’ve heard countless hours of it while getting massages over the years. But it’s not anything that we don’t already generate with our hands rather than from a gizmo strapped to our head. And we also don’t really know how much direct input the person is giving vs evolving patches and such. And it seems like every other person with a bowl of water is doing the vibrational patterns trick these days, so we know that isn’t anything other than a plate transferring it’s vibration of the output sound to the water in the dish (they are not showing “brain waves”!). I used to witness this same phenomenon back in the early 90s when our loud PA would vibrate beer glasses in bars.

      So that would be a great test for these head mounted devices, as well as all motion-controlled hand wavey rigs. Set the system up, then get 100 different people to use it for a fixed set of time each. I would bet serious money that the difference in the results would be statistically irrelevant.

  1. I had exactly the opposite thought – this is the first biofeedback art project I’ve seen that actually succeeds at being beautiful, visually and aurally.

    To the dude who thinks this has been done before in his beer glass – the point of art and music isn’t to do a new ‘parlor trick’, it’s to take the technique and technology available to you and do something interesting with it. In this case, Park’s art may not be interesting to you, but it’s well done and is interesting to others, so it’s successful on those merits.

    1. i agree it sounds awesome. I like it. what i’m saying is they all sound the same. slow droning notes, pretty abstract and or atonal. i want to see more diversity in the area.

      1. Exactly. What we hear in our heads is often more complex than we can actally perform with our hands & tools; a direct connnection with the brain should produce MORE interesting & unique music. Watch this space….

    2. I didnt expect to like it, but I did. The audio part was not especially exciting, but I thought the physical composition (along with some of the camera angles) made it interesting.

      Although …. I didn’t think about it until I read some of these comments, but I wonder how many people will see this and completely not understand what going on here? Is, I’m fairly certain she’s just using the brain wave device to gate a set of 5 audio sources. But will some people see this and think that we’re hearing sounds that she is imagining in her head?

      Still – I thought the physical arrangement was nice. I’ll bet if she dropped some $$$ and time and effort on this – used flames instead of, or in addition to, water, or some kind of plasma effect I dunno, and/or dressed up like what’s-her-name in Ghost In The Machine, etc, this could be a seriously impressive show.

    3. >To the dude who thinks this has been done before in his beer glass – the point of art and music isn’t to do
      >a new ‘parlor trick’

      You miss my point. I’m not suggesting the point of art and music IS to do a new parlor trick. I’m directly stating that if you make music that sounds EXACTLY like stuff that is already everywhere, but then suggest that yours is “brain-controlled”… that is the very definition of a parlor trick.

  2. been there done that and moved on ….

    you can get more control with a $50 korg nano controller
    – even hi end brain interfaces do not give you more than 4 to 6 states

  3. Looks like she’s wearing a Mindplay headset. There is also the OCZ nia, which you can find once in a while on eBay if you want to experiment on your own. These devices do have eight or ten points of measurement with +-127 levels, so there can be a huge variety of sound depending on how willing you are to devote time to training. Also, you can play video games without moving. Sort of the opposite of the Kinect. Well, this stuff was originally developed from research into giving mobility and control to paraplegic people.

    1. it does not work like that … the number of electrodes (points of measurement )
      do not = keys on a piano the total input is summed to give you a “state ”

      you can get :
      on and off state ( like a trigger)
      or a variable state ( like a lfo)

      you do not get both at the same time

      as i said a $50 korg nano controller will give you more control and faster response

  4. Ms. Park’s show might be more interesting if she used dishes of mercury with lasers being reflected up onto huge screens in wild and spectacular patterns. That could make for a mesmerizing show for an audience.

  5. Hi, i tried to use EEG control (Emotif) in the KISS2013 symposium last year, it was a fantastic feeling in my brain: energy-field, and feedback everywhere, i was totally in another dimension. It was not very easy to regulate my own feelings and to send commands to the computer. But this is not a magic, Emotif is a “normal”, “midi” controller. the sound depends on the program.

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