Artist vibrates water with the power of thought

Performance artist Lisa Park has used EEG to create patterns of dancing ripples across the surface of water.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
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(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Performance artist Lisa Park has used electroencephalography (EEG) to create patterns of dancing ripples across the surface of water.

At first glance, it might not look as tricky as piloting a quadcopter just by thinking at it, but a project by artist Lisa Park has surprising depth. Eunoia — Greek for "beautiful thinking" — is all about the hidden power of the mind.

The performance itself consists of Park meditating, surrounded by flat 60-centimetre-diameter dishes of water mounted on speakers. As she meditates, she channels her thoughts into making the water ripple and leap, remaining completely still in the centre.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

On her head, she wears a Neurosky EEG headset — the same device used in the Necomimi emotion-displaying cat ears. It monitors her alpha, beta, delta and theta brainwaves and her eye movement. This information is fed into Processing, where it is translated into sound waves in real time — which are then fed into the speakers.

To calibrate the EEG to her thoughts, Park associated five different emotions with different people — anger, sadness, hatred, desire and happiness. As she practised, she would adjust the audio output of these thoughts to create a specific pattern to play across the surface of the water.

Park isn't the first to use EEG to create sound from thoughts. Last year, Japanese musician Masaki Batoh used EEG to transform the brainwaves of earthquake survivors into haunting melodies as a sort of therapy. Park's goal was different, yet similar — to find stillness in emotion.

Via www.thisiscolossal.com