No. 42

Imagination Machine 2.0

By : Clara Leivas

Entrant’s location : Sweden / USA



Imagination Machine 2.0 aims to remind you of the uniqueness of you and every single moment you experience. While listening to music by electronic musician Elin Piel your brainwave data is captured by a MindWave EEG headset and translated into water painting drops on a canvas. Each painting will only ever be created once because of you and how you experience that specific moment. The algorithms were developed through arbitrary choices. Therefor there is no scientifically correct analysis you can make out of the result. This way I have taken away a possible cause of judgement and comparison. What is left instead is the opportunity to accept and hopefully appreciate that whatever the reason for the placement of the drops it was only possible because of you. Imagination Machine 2.0 was funded through Region Skåne’s arts grant for digital development, for ETER festival organized by Little Finger in Lund, Sweden 2018.

What did you create?

A machine that uses a MindWave EEG headset to sense your brainwaves and then translates them into water painting drops on a canvas using an old plotter, IV bags with colored water and peristaltic pumps. Each person that goes through the experience gets to keep their one of a kind painting.

Why did you make it?

I wanted to create an installation to make a statement against what I see as a widespread faith in technology as something that can gather data about us and then tell us something important about who we are. I believe that who we are can be found within us and an obsession of data collection and analysis could possibly keep us from looking within. I wanted to find a way to use technology to point to the essence of what it is to be you, without actually saying anything about you.

How did you make it?

The brainwave data is sensed with a MindWave EEG headset. I wrote the software to receive and process the data in Python. The Python application sends the processed data to two Arduinos via serial communication. I used one Arduino to control the peristaltic pumps for choosing what color to drop, and one Arduino to control the plotter to choose the position of the drops.

Your entry’s specification

EEG headset, Houston Instrument Digital plotter, IV bags with colored water and peristaltic pumps.