Lilith (Brain-in-the-Machine) (2006)
This interactive installation experiments with virtual and mixed realities, game technologies and bio-signals. The virtual environment was created with the help of Slovak artist Ivor Diosi (SK, 3D graphics and interactivity) and musician Ivan Acher (CZ, sound). The image and sound of the amorphous landscape environment reacts to the data coming from the viewers’ brain and heart activity sensors. As in the preceding installation, “The Room of Desires”, the visitors experience a journey through only the virtual landscapes into which their own physical and psychical (psychological) mental condition leads them. The virtual landscapes, originating from the 3D engine used in computer games, are projected stereoscopically directly in front of the visitors, who can experience a situation resembling daydreaming in a private 3-D movie house. The imagery gradates from a horror hyperrealist atmosphere to a geometrically clean or, per contra, fantastically organic abstraction; submarine sea flowers, various flying objects, trees or even human embryos or sperms appear there. Meeting with artificial beings (avatars) controlled by the artificial intelligence modules also forms a part of this investigative journey.
The installation uses the principles of biological feedback, with real time analysis and interpretation of biophysical signals on the basis of emotional response from the participants. After entering the project room the visitor receives stereoscopic glasses and headphones. The sensors scan three kinds of bio-signals: on the head, the sensors monitor electro-encefalographic signals (EEG), from the forearm, information about the heart pulse frequency (EKG) is received and on the finger, galvanic skin resistance. These parameters provide the image of actual physical and psychical conditions and are transferred to MIDI signal. That means that with the speeding up of the pulse, the rhythm of the image and sound also speeds up. The projecting room is also equipped with the motion capture system monitoring the detailed position and movement of the participants. Therefore, it is not a 3-D space entirely defined beforehand, but a space for investigatory mental activity.
The title, Lilith, is in homage to the first wife of Adam who escaped from paradise because she didn’t want to live in subordination based on gender. According to some interpretations she appeared again in paradise and gave the apple to Eve. In the 1960s and 1970s Lilith was rediscovered by the feminists who made her the symbol of emancipation rights. Lilith is also the symbol of unfulfilled dreams, hidden aspects of personalities, and secret aspects of the human soul. The reasonable control of the imagery meets with the emotional participation and it is thus an interconnection of conscious and unconscious levels, the boundary-line between purposeful bodily activity and basic biological outputs where the installation’s exploratory space truly resides.
„It is the combination of pre-recorded acoustic instrumental tracks (sampler) and real time generated electronics (synthesizer with the potentiometers connected with the sensors). These contain rhythmical and harmonic cycles, logical and amorphous structures respecting the rhythm of the heart.
An additional component of the composition is added with each excitement of the lie-detector located on the finger. When “the boy in the dental chair” gets scared of something in the glasses (3D – not someone), he immediately modulates the composition or goes through it with the filter, thanks to the finger-sensor of the stress, and the beat spreads from the frightened heart.”
(From the interview of Ivan Acher with Peter Vendera, hisVOICE 1/2007)
Michal Máša (programmer, 3D stereoscopic projection)
Jan Šebek (technical production)
Bioart (November 7 – 10, 2006, Academy of Sciences, Prague)
(2nd exhibition in 07?)
Video from LILITH installation and from the Czech TV show about this