Making light of mind control
Artist Laura Jade’s Brain Light Project (2015) integrates biology and illumination design into an interactive, sculpture cut from perspex, and engraved with dendrites. Collaborating with neuroscientist Peter Simpson-Young and programmer Sam Gentle, the brain sculpture lights up in response to changing brain activity transmitted from a wireless headset. The work has been created in a CULTURE AT WORK 2015 art + science residency program. The Brain Light Project is Laura’s major work for her Masters degree in Illumination Design at the University of Technology, Sydney.
An interactive sculpture of the human brain is set to illuminate this year’s National Science Week.
Interactive Brain Light, by UTS Master of Design graduate Laura Jade Hindes, uses complex data visualisation to provide a real-time display of brain activity. The Brain Light Project was developed in conjuction with programmer Sam Gentle and neuroscientist Peter Simpson-Young (opens an external site).
The large interactive brain sculpture, made from Perspex, features filaments lined with multi-coloured LED lights edging the large piece. Once a user places an EEG headset on, the sculpture lights up according to mood and movement to provide an accurate register of brain activity. It’s a unique way of turning visual data into digestible and even playful, interactive forms.
“I wanted the piece to be a replica of an actual brain so I teamed up with a neuroscientist who was really interested in unlocking the true potential of mind through technology, to guide me through the project.”
“Together we then found a software developer looking for a creative project; the three of us learnt a lot about each other’s respective fields during the whole process so it was true merging of multiple disciplines,” continued Laura.
The Brain Light Project was the first venture to trial the sleek all wireless, all embedded EEG technology, which was initially developed by a local Sydney-based academic.
“Laura’s creative talent and energy is inspiring," said course director, Dr Susan Stewart. "Her projects have generated interest from artists and designers all over the world; with a number wanting to enrol in the Master of Design to follow in her footsteps. This kind of open-ended, exploratory and boundary-crossing practice is the most exciting development in design today.”
Completed as her Master’s major project, Laura Jade Hindes was determined to explore the area of science visualisation and demonstrate how design allows scientists to see patterns and findings in a new light – quite literally in this case.
“I’ve always been fascinated with how art and science blend together; I feel as though both require very similar thinking and historically both disciplines had been intertwined.”
“But then things changed and there was less collaboration between science and art so I’m thrilled to be part of the movement that seems to be making a comeback,” said Laura.
The Brain Light Project will be on display at the Australian Museum for the annual Science Week Open Day on 13 August, followed by 2015 Sydney Mini Maker Faire at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences from 15-16 August. On 31 August it will be on display at the monthly MCA Art Bar event.
Interactive Brain Light, by UTS Master of Design graduate Laura Jade Hindes, uses complex data visualisation to provide a real-time display of brain activity.