Illusion is an instrument powered by alpha brain waves, signals produced by our visual cortex in the absence of optical stimuli—or when we close our eyes and relax.
- October 4 - 25, 2018
- Opening: Thursday, October 4
Workshop: Gentle Introduction to EEG, Thursday, October 11, 12:00 — 1:00 pm
Haein Kang’s interactive audiovisual installation integrates percussion instruments, video projection, and EEG signals.
EEG is the abbreviation for electroencephalography, a non-invasive technique that records the electrical activities of the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp. A century ago, the first human EEG was recorded by German psychiatrist Hans Burger, and in 1965, pioneering American composer Alvin Lucier created Music for a Solo Performer, generally considered the first musical work to use brain waves to directly generate sound.
Illusion takes its inspiration from this history and uses the same type of alpha brain waves (more specifically termed posterior dominant alpha rhythm), which appear when we block out visual information by closing our eyes while still awake.
To activate Illusion, a performer sits in the middle of a room wearing an EEG headset. On the wall behind the performer are eight rudimentary percussion instruments. When the performer closes their eyes, posterior dominant alpha rhythm triggers in the visual cortex, and the percussion mechanisms begin to produce cadenced sounds—an exterior manifestation of the performer’s internal state.
Kang instructs, “Close your eyes and concentrate on what you hear. From the measured tones, you may think of raindrops falling on the roof in the dead of winter or recall memories of playing with your childhood friends. The paradox here is that you need to shut your eyes in order to see.”
About the Artist
Haein Kang works at the intersection of art and technology. She attempts to arouse synesthesia by stimulating human perception and extending imagination. Her works have been exhibited in Korea and the United States, including at the SOMA Museum, Seoul Museum of Art, Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, and ISEA. She is a PhD candidate at DXARTS, University of Washington.
*This exhibition has been generously supported by a 4Culture Art Projects grant, CoMotion MakerSpace, and DXARTS at the University of Washington.