Mettāmatics III, 2017-2020

Mettāmatics III is the third work in a series of interactive artworks exploring ways that heart rate patterns can be influenced by feelings of compassion, gratitude and equanimity.

Participants wear a pulse-sensor on their finger-tip or ear lobe, and watch at a realtime visualisation of changes in their heart-rate patterning, accompanied by interactive soundscape and guided meditation. They interact with the work, using their breathing and the quality of their attention to subtly alter the patterning of their heart rate. After a few minutes they see and hear how these shifts in breath and being, alter the appearance and sound of the artwork.

Participants learn to sense and perceive these feelings as ways of being that are clearly embodied – in an objectively measurable way – within our physiology – akin to the different physical postures and coordinated movements we engage in everyday life, and a quality of being and orientation-to-others that can be voluntarily applied – outside the context of this art experience.

Mettāmatics requires its to audience slow down. Because the works in the Mettāmatics series measure very low frequency changes in heart rate, the interaction requires a lot more time and attention than is usual for interactive artworks. Many of the wave-like variations in heart rate that are measured in Mattāmatics, take place over several minutes. To assist participants to enter into the work and the slower timeframes it works with, Mettāmatics III includes a ten-minute long recorded introduction and ‘body-scan’ guided meditation.

Credits

George Khut: Interaction concept, art direction, interactive sound design

Callum Howard: data visualisation, systems automation

Angelo Fraietta: pulse sensing hardware and software

Tuan Vu: heart rate variability analysis software

Maggie Slattery: prerecorded text development, development (2009)

TEI Arts Track Exhibition, 2020

Group exhibition presented as part of TEI 2020 the 14th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, Sydney, Australia, 9-12 February, 2020.

Karen Cochrane, Thecla Schiphorst and Deborah Turnbull Tillman: Curatorial team

Iakovos Amperidis: Gallery manager and technical support

Maja Baska: Photography

Contemplative Interactions (solo exhibition), DADAA Gallery, 2019

Presented as a part of the 2019 Fremantle Biennale. A solo exhibition of interactive works by George Khut comprising ‘Mettāmatics I and II’ and ‘Behind Your Eyes, Between Your Ears’, DADAA Freemantle Gallery, Freemantle, Western Australia, 20 October – 9 September, 2019.

Katherine Wilkinson: Curator

David Doyle: DADAA WA Executive Director

Jessica Wylde: Photography

Sounding The Future, UTS Gallery, 2017

Group exhibition curated by Gail Priest, UTS Gallery, with work by Gail Priest, George Khut, Pia van Gelder & Tom Smith, Peter Blamey, Sydney, Australia, 1 August—22 September 2017.

Gail Priest: sound-design and samples, ‘Mettāmatics I’

James P. Brown: sound-design and samples, ‘Mettāmatics II’

Acknowledgements

This project has been supported by UNSW Sydney, and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.