Augmented Body, Altered Mind is an interactive exhibition weaving a brain-computer interface with an audiovisual environment. The artwork celebrates divergent cognitive abilities used for creative problem-solving and explores the potential to collectively reshape the world towards a more diverse and sustainable future.
Delving into the climate challenge and tech-growth narratives, Augmented Body, Altered Mind examines correlations between the natural world, neurology, philosophy, and neurodivergence. Immersed in a projected environment and multi-channel soundscape, visitors co-create the artwork in real-time by wearing a brain-sensing headset that detects electric signals generated by different brain waves. By doing so, audiences control evocative visuals reminiscent of environmental and neurological imagery and patterns.
Climate change disproportionately affects people with disabilities, including from the lack of accessible information and vulnerabilities in extreme weather events. Underpinned by the theory of Complementary Cognition and the psychological aspects of the climate challenge, the artwork encourages new approaches to thinking about the accelerating environmental crisis and how it could be tackled. Highlighting the importance of accessibility, Augmented Body, Altered Mind welcomes all audiences to engage, collaborate, and shape the artwork.
Augmented Body, Altered Mind was commissioned by Carlow Arts Festival 2022 following a prototype Open Mind, Closed System for Carlow Arts Festival 2021. The work was developed further for the Earth Vision London 2022. Augmented Body, Altered Mind was been funded by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Ireland and Arts and Disability Ireland.
In Augmented Body, Altered Mind, you can wear a small headset and interact with visuals and audio. The headset is activated by the electricity in your brain. Because everyone’s brain is different, each experience of the artwork is unique.
Listen to an audio description of Augmented Body, Altered Mind at The Earth Vision London by Harry Baxter, available here
Read an opinion piece of Augmented Body, Altered Mind written during Carlow Arts Festival by the artist here
“I was amazed to see imagery appear on the screen as soon as I began wearing the headset. This imagery consisted of amorphous and shifting shapes determined by my own brain waves. The experience felt very different to watching a video because I could clearly distinguish changes in the images that corresponded with deliberate changes in my thoughts, and so I had a visceral sense of my own participation in the production of these images. Talking to the invigilator grounded the artwork in my own reality. It me acutely aware of the tenuous relationship between users and technology, and of the tangled power-structure we take part in when we engage with smart devices.”
“My daughter is autistic and I would trust her to run the country”
“I am a dyslexic journalist writing a lot on the environment, I have always tried to hide my dyslexia. I never thought about it as a helpful skill in journalism before.”
“I came to the exhibition twice, I found the overall concept very interesting because I am interested in exploring aesthetic dimensions of thought. The visual material evoked the natural world whilst containing enough complexity in the way it was transformed by the brain scanning interface to exceed any simplistic representation. The space and staff were extremely welcoming and I felt that this was very much the inclusive environment it was aiming to be. Visiting with small groups of people enhanced the experience because the variations in the visuals and the brain activity monitor were a talking point and encouraged social interaction.”
Artist & Producer: AlanJames Burns
Curator & Producer: Marek Wolynski
Writers: Dylan Coburn Gray, Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan
Composer: Michael Riordan
Digital Visuals: Ibragim
Voice Artists: Martha Breen. Emmanuel Okoye
Creative Production: Actual Perceptions
Director of The Earth Vision: Maggio Carizi
Project Assistant: Silvia Poppemeier, Marie Farrington, Brendan Atkins
Visitor Experience: Emma Mohan
Publicity & Graphic Design: Karolina Slup
Marketing: Stephanie Dickenson, Contemporary Lynx
Prototype Visuals: Bileam Tschepe
Documentation: Ania Mokrzycka, Sotiris Gonis Sotiris
Generously funded by: Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council England, Culture Ireland, Arts and Disability Ireland.
Originally commissioned by: Carlow Arts Festival
The Earth Vision, Actual Perceptions, D-Fuse, The Performance Corporation, Science Gallery Dublin Rapid Residency.
Special thanks to:
Linda Rocco, Jo Mangan, Tomas Ward, Emer Lynch, Ria Murphy