Exquisite Corpse – Visual Artists

Exquisite Corpse – Visual Artists

Artists wore skullcaps fitted with EEG electrodes and inertial sensors as they played Exquisite Corpse – the collaborative, chance-based game made famous by the Surrealists in the 1920’s. The
performance-study seeks to uncover clues to what happens in the brain as people create and contemplate art. Working simultaneously before a live audience, each artist has 15 minutes to begin creating an artwork. After 15 minutes, their work-in-progress is concealed with a cloth, leaving only a small portion exposed. The artists then rotate stations and take turns adding to each other’s creations for two additional 15-minute increments. Their brain activity is projected onto a nearby screen as audience members watch and also contribute their MoBI data.

Exquisite Corpse – Musicians

Exquisite Corpse – Musicians

Wearing skullcaps equipped with sensors, different musicians play a variation of Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative, chance-based game made famous by the Surrealists in the 1920s — in which they play saxophones and drums instead of drawing. It is a collaboration between Houston Community College (HCC), Houston-based artists, Blaffer Art Museum, and the University of Houston’s Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, seeking clues to what happens in the brain as people create, perform, and contemplate art in a variety of disciplines.

The study is funded by the National Science Foundation (#BCS 1533691) and led by engineering professor Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal — to study connections between the brain and creativity, expression, and the perception of art.

Brain on Arts-Museum Exhibits

Brain on Arts-Museum Exhibits

In this study, we partnered with our collaborators at Blaffer, Smithsonian, Synthesis Center and the Contemporary Art Museum-Monterrey to accelerate the acquisition of cognitive, affective, movement, neural and demographic data from the general public attending art exhibits, interactive displays, and programmed performance events. The objective is to characterize the stability and individuality of the qEEG measurements as a function of time of the day (AM/PM), location, type of art exhibit/object, and a number of demographic, cultural and neurological factors, as well as decode affective and cognitive states from brain activity.

Exquisite Corpse-Dancers

Exquisite Corpse-Dancers

Wearing skullcaps equipped with sensors, UH dancer-choreographers played a variation of Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative, chance-based game made famous by the Surrealists in the 1920s — but they were dancing rather than drawing.

The event was part of a groundbreaking collaboration between Blaffer Art Museum, Houston-based artists, and the University of Houston’s Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, seeking clues to what happens in the brain as people create, perform, and contemplate art. For this event, we also partnered with the School of Theatre & Dance.

Minecraft

Minecraft

In this study, we partnered with the Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH) to investigate the brain dynamics of children playing Minecraft – a creative game that enable players to build 3D constructions using textured cubes in a virtual world.  The goal was to investigate the feasibility of assaying the neural responses associated with creative game playing in a museum setting and to identify differences in brain activity as a function of age, gender, and gaming experience. Scalp electroencephalography (EEG) and head motion were acquired using off-the-shelf, low-cost, mobile brain-body imaging (MoBI) technology that limited recording to electrodes in the anterior and the temporal scalp areas.