Alpha Lab

Collaboration with James P. Brown, 2013 – 2014

Combining neurofeedback training with participatory art, and electronic music, AlphaLab (previously called Theta Lab)  explores the possibilities of a unique form of electronic art, in which attention, experience and compositional form become radically entwined.

Electronic soundscapes controlled by changes in Alpha  brainwave activity are  used to guide participants  to a place of intense but wakeful stillness. Interviews and diagrams recorded with participants after their interaction document the range of experiences and reflections supported by this unusual human-computer interaction.

AlphaLab explores new connections connections between consciousness, subconsciousness, creativity and electronic art – combining experiential and interactive approaches with documentary and ethnographic aesthetics, to explore in a concrete and highly focussed way, the dynamics of consciousness itself as a material for aesthetic enquiry – in this case the open-foccused states of  attention uniquely supported by Alpha neurofeedback training.

Event Dates

 

Friday 7th, Saturday 8th, Sunday 9th and Monday 10th of June, 6pm – 10pm

Shop 2.04, 140 George Street, The Rocks (behind the MCA), Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

 

Credits

 

George Khut: Interaction Design, Installation, Sound Design, Interviews

James P. BrownInteraction Design, Sound Design, Interviews, Photography

Acknowledgements

 

Special thanks to Sophie Greenfeild (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Rocks Popup); Alinta Krauth and  Andrea Dixon (laboratory assistant facilitators); and dLux Media Arts.

But seriously, as I leave the building (after ‘describing’ my experience in a blackboard drawing and completing a short exit interview) I realise: this sound, whether grumbling, crackling, smooth or harmonic, is me. It holds a mirror to who I am, in a particular situation.
All the conflicting feelings are reflected; the unstoppable ping-ponging between awareness, in-the-moment-ness, thought, peace, the arts-journalist self, the curious self, the self-judging self, the playful self. And I really wish I could take it home and do it more, learn to really find those (Alpha) waves. Co-creator James Brown later tells me that an intensive workshop of Alpha Lab – say, ten hours a day for a week – is something the artists would love to experiment with.
AlphaLab renders a particular experience of the brain and the mind accessible – one that for all but the mystic is usually beyond perception. For me, it was challenging – but an incredibly illuminating, warm and embracing experience nonetheless. Some people fall asleep, some people access those elusive Theta waves easily. It made me want to lie down and chat to my brainwaves more often.

Urszula Dawkins, RealTime Arts ISEA 2013 blog