The Mobile Mood Lab, 2017

Mobile exhibition for The Big Anxiety festival of art, science and mental health

The Mobile Mood Lab was a mobile immersive installation, presented a converted hospital patient transport vehicle, that travelled around Greater Sydney as part of The Big Anxiety Festival of Art, Science and Mental Health, from September to November 2017.

The MoodLab incorporated two existing projects by George Khut: The Heart Library Project, and the BrightHearts App.

Visitors entering the Mood Lab bus experience a version of The Heart Library Project – resting on their backs an interact with image of themselves floating on a large video screen on the ceiling of the vehicle – as if immersed in a pool of brightly coloured lights. Wireless heart rate sensors record changes in heart rate influenced by stress and relaxation responses – these control the colour, texture and sound of the work: red for faster rates, changing to orange, yellow, green and blue for decreases in heart rate.

The experience is immersive, intimate and mesmerising, accompanied by a live soundtrack of your own heart beat, and sounds that rise and fall with changes in your breathing and heart rate. Afterwards visitors where invited to draw their own maps as a way of processing your experience.

Outside the MoodLab bus, visitors could interact with George Khut’s ‘BrightHearts App’, and view a large display of body-maps created by previous Heart Library Project participants.

Credits

George Khut: interaction concept, audio-visual design, programming
Professor Jill Bennet, UNSW: Big Anxiety Festival Director
Phil Downing: Technical and Production Manager
Ella McInnes: Facilitator, Tour Manager, Volunteer Coordinator
Cameron ‘Ran’ Stanton, Alien Proof Construction: vehicle fit-out
Michela Ledwidge, MOD Studio: visualisation software, 2017
David Morris-Oliveros: visualisation software, 2006
Dr Angelo Fraietta, Smart Controler: electronics for heart rate sensors

Acknowledgements

The Mobile MoodLab was a Big Anxiety 2017 Festival Commission presented by UNSW. This project was assisted by the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund.

Special thanks to Michela Ledwidge (software), Ran Stanton (van fit-out), Jason McDermott and Trent Brooks (BrightHearts iOS development), and the Big Anxiety festival staff and student volunteers who helped present the work.