Distillery: Waveforming

Collaboration with Jason McDermott & Greg Turner

Distillery: Waveforming, a prototype iPad app that responds to changes in heart rate and breathing patterns, emerged as part of George Khut’s residency at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in 2011, as part of the BrightHearts Research project with Dr Angie Morrow at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Kids Rehab.

Comprised of a clip-on heart monitor, laptop and iPad , the work  invites audiences to explore connections between mental, emotional and physiological phenomena, using a combination of slow breathing and quiet attention to produce resonant, wave-like oscillations in heart rate (0.1Hz). These changes in heart rate drive the appearance of the iPad based artwork: layers of luminous, continually morphing geometric form.

The accompanying video portraits document participant’s recalling the various thoughts, emotions and sensations that emerged during the course of their interaction with the work, revealing the range of associations and self-representations people bring to their experience of work.

In a medical context, Khut’s app is being developed as a tool to help children to regulate feelings of anxiety and distress associated with, painful clinical procedures. Reconfigured for interactions in gallery context, this work demonstrates the unique, even wondrous, spaces opened up between mind, body and computer — reminding the audience of their own life force, and what is revealed when we direct our attention quietly inwards towards the most basic elements of being.

Credits

George Khut: Interaction concept, visualization programming and interactive sound design (Max)

Angelo Fraietta (SmartController) and Tuan M. Vu: Signal analysis software

Jason McDermott: iOS visualisation software by  adapted from original code by Greg Turner.

Julia Charles: Portrait lighting and photography

Troy Brennan: Portrait styling

Acknowledgements

Supported by the Australian Network for Art and Technology and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Kids Rehab in association with the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Special thanks to Dr Angie Morrow (Kids Rehab), Frank Maguire (electronics and design), UNSW Creative Practices Research Lab (iO Myers Studio), and Kevin Jackson.