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Mutual Wave Machine Experience at SVC 2014 (via Art Nerd SF)
Mutual Wave Machine concept, Courtesy of the Marina Abromovic Institute

Mutual Wave Machine concept, Courtesy of the Marina Abromovic Institute


The Mutual Wave Machine had its U.S. premiere last night at Silicon Valley Contemporary, and Art Nerd San Francisco contributor Ashley Gardini and I had the very first exclusive experience. Conceived from Marina Abramović’s desire to get into her own experience through “brain visualization”, the piece was created by artists Suzanne Dikker and Matthias Oostrik with Peter Burr, Matthew Patterson Curry, Diederik Schoorl, Oliver Hess, and Roy Kesrouani. The Mutual Wave Machine is an interactive light installation that is controlled by your brain activity synchronization with the person you are sharing the installation experience with. By using head gear the visitors are able to visualize their brain activity by making the light visuals larger through greater brain synchronization or smaller with less. Watch the video on the research for the concept of this project and others like it, and Mutual Wave Machine on the Institute’s website.

Ashley and I getting our brain sensors placed on.

Ashley and I getting our brain sensors placed on.


Our Experience:
The lead artist, Suzanne Dikker, was able to chat with us as she prepared our head gear and asked us questions for her research, she also walked us through the control panel for the brain sensors, which were extremely cool and high tech. Aleksandra Dorann from TodaysArt, who sponsored the piece to attend SVC this week, explained to Ashley and I that we would have to “learn” how to sync up with one another as we experienced what worked and what didn’t work in our relationship, based on how we connected. Gathering all the information we had been given and attached to, we were then led to the Mutual Wave Machine.

Once we climbed into the installation with our head gear on, brain sensors attached and feeling like the best of friends we waived goodbye and said a prayer to the contemporary art gods as they closed the flap on our pod for the 6 minutes of the installation. Really it was like a date, at first. We tried the forced stare for a minute and got a little feedback, tried holding hands, and touching knees and shoulders, and then we started chatting. When Ashley and I started a conversation about art (something we both love and understand) the lights went wild, the capsule created a full image, and it got really bright and fluid. We had found our synchronization through a natural conversation about art, in an art installation (I am not going to try to analyze that!). Then all too quickly it was over. We both were excited to have gotten on the save “wavelength”. We did not hear ringing in the ears or feel any brain manipulation from the other party as promised by the press release, but it was still a very exciting experience.

Sarah in the Mutual Wave Machine

Sarah in the Mutual Wave Machine


If you weren’t planning on going to Silicon Valley Contemporary this week I suggest you do in order to experience this installation. Although the actual pod that typically houses the participants is not in use at the fair (shipping costs were too high), seeing the whole process from start to finish and getting to speak with the artists about their work is well worth the trip. If you do plan on going make sure to give yourself plenty of time as there may be a line.

For FREE VIP tickets to Silicon Valley Contemporary, register here.


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Posted by Abhilasha Singh on 4/15/14

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