brainwave kinbaku

Shibari calms me, when dissociated I can’t feel my body

This performance is all about this special stage of tranquility. This is not an ordinary Shibari performance, performers are wrapped in the light of their own mindsets. The brainwaves of the model(models) are observed via scalp electrodes and a wireless EEG machine with a machine learning via algorithm and translating them into abstract mathematical light patterns. These patterns change in structure, color & form according to the activity of the models mind. It’s an experiment that combines biofeedback, neuroscience & Japanese bondage.

This text was posted on the 16th of September 2016 on Facebook. The performance took place during EURIX VIII in Berlin.  Weeks before that event some serious hacking, training, programming and of course debugging was done. The whole project started as an idea to withstand madness. I was forced to stay in my room for three months because of  foot surgery and needed some type of intellectual diversion. Ok, it actually started in my childhood, my father had been an EEG engineer and all the new and all the repaired machines needed a test subjects. Of course it was me. I learned how to read EEG data when I was very young. I could also relate EEG experiments with flickering optics and sinus tones.

So, snap back to the 21th century:I somehow got involved in this Shibari thing and I practised for a couple of years with D. We meet once a week and I tied her. D. is a person that can best be described as bursting with energy a little bit on the nervous side, but when ever I had her in my ropes she changed completely falling into a very calm and relaxed state. I always thought that this change of condition must be observable in EEG graphs. But I never thought about actually doing it, because in my memory EEG machines were big and chunky machines,which they were during the early eighties,  in order to get good data you had to sit still. And of course these machines are very expensive.
Ok, so there I was, bored as hell, unable to move, thinking of something interesting to do. I figured now would be the right time to combine Shibari with EEG & data science, there should be a device that can take the brainwaves and translate the amount of alpha waves into something visually appealing. I discovered the cool people from openBCI and bought a tiny little board that was/is basically an eight channel EEG machine that can stream the EEG data wirelessly.

I trained a machine learning algorithm (an LSTM neural network) to separate the noise from the real data that are coming form the openBCI machine and an other algorithm to measure the amount of alpha and theta waves.

with some inspiration from Jared Tarbell Sand traveler series I developed my own version of generative art piece. I feed the numerical values form the EEG data to my creation …

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