The Sound of Emotions

Collaborators Vaughan Macefield (an Australian neuroscientist) and Canadian arist Erin Gee are working on a venture that turns electrical signals from the brain into music. While the use of biosignals and biosonification in the creation of musical performance is hardly new, this is the first work I’ve come across that uses direct recordings of nerve activity in this way. The ‘data capture’ process sounds a little more invasive and unpleasant than that used in other performances I’ve seen. Macefield’s research team:

“injects a very fine microelectrode needle into a peripheral nerve in the body that allows researchers to record electrical signals emitted from the brain. Blood flow, heart rate, sweat release and respiration levels are also recorded.”

The data is then processed and converted into a range of bell-like sounds. Gee writes of the project:

“It takes these tiny bodily physical performances that happen when one is emotional and transfers these tiny beating hearts and fluctuations in breathing and nerve activity — and amplifies it through technology.”

I first read about this in Macleans On Campus. I’d like to read something a bit more technical/detailed though, so I’m going to have a root around on the ‘net. I’ll report back later.

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