That is your mind on Pink Floyd | TechCrunch


The human mind has lengthy been a topic of fascination for artwork and science, which at the moment are each blended into “Brainstorms: A Great Gig in the Sky,” a brand new stay interactive expertise to the tune of Pink Floyd.

Interactivity is non-compulsory, however memorable. Exhibition guests can decide in (and pay additional) to have their mind exercise recorded whereas listening to Pink Floyd’s traditional album “The Dark Side of the Moon” — and afterward, displayed as a mesmerizing cloud synced to that very same soundtrack in a really massive room of London’s immersive artwork gallery Frameless.

Immersive artwork venues have been popping up the world over, usually that includes standard painters whose works mix partitions, ceilings and flooring across the guests. However combining the idea with music and a stay component brings “Brainstorms” nearer to “ABBA Voyage,” as an example. 

That’s not their solely factor in frequent: Each exhibits equally use expertise as an enabler, not a spotlight. 

This makes “Brainstorms” completely different from final 12 months’s groundbreaking experiment during which neuroscientists have been in a position to re-create Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1” utilizing AI to decipher the mind’s electrical exercise. This time, it’s a spectacle.

In “Aurora,” mind recordings from relaxed volunteers are displayed in “a calming blue.”
Picture Credit: Antonio Pagano

Whereas superior expertise is concerned behind the scenes, from Emotiv EEG headsets and spatial audio to Unreal-powered visualizations, the place to begin of the Brainstorms mission was very a lot music — extra exactly, that of late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright. 

Wright’s daughter, Gala, needed to do one thing particular for the fiftieth anniversary of the album that includes “The Great Gig in the Sky,” the enduring tune composed by her father, with no much less memorable vocal composition by Clare Torry. “So we started to put together ideas,” composer and music technologist JJ Wiesler advised TechCrunch throughout the premiere.

Wiesler is the co-founder of Pollen Music Group, a San Francisco-based inventive outlet famend for its music scores and sound design. With each a music studio and a lab the place it really works with VR/XR headsets, telephones, house gadgets and extra, Pollen isn’t new to experimenting. However “this is a bit of a change to take it into the exhibition world,” he mentioned.

It was Gala Wright who had the concept to deal with neuroscience and the research of the human mind’s response to music. This led her and Pollen to accomplice with Dolby to file the mind exercise of 125 volunteers listening to “The Great Gig in the Sky,” synced with advert hoc software program, Wiesler mentioned. 

Carried out final 12 months, the experiment varieties the idea of “Aurora,” a creation during which the moon casts a glow over the arctic tundra, progressing into an aurora borealis. 

“Aurora” takes up the whole thing of Frameless’s largest gallery, however there are 4 in whole, which wasn’t a part of the unique plan. With 30,000 sq. ft at its disposal, the Brainstorms staff got here up with greater than fillers. Holding “great gigs in the sky” as its overarching theme, it took on a room of its personal with “Eclipse” and enlisted London-based music artist Imogen Heap for a bird-inspired room.

Get off my cloud

A musician recognized for participating with expertise, Heap is doubly featured in “Murmur,” which is ready to her ambient observe Cumulus, whereas two starling flocks — murmurations — symbolize her mind exercise and her daughter dancing within the sundown. 

Murmur at Brainstorms image credits Antonio Pagano
In “Murmur,” starling flocks symbolize musician Imogen Heap’s mind waves and her daughter dancing within the sundown.
Picture Credit: Antonio Pagano

Maybe extra clearly than in every other room, this visualization provides us a glimpse of how the identical music can have an effect on completely different folks. That’s the science a part of Brainstorms: Throughout the go to, individuals will be taught that visualizations replicate what others felt whereas listening to Pink Floyd. 

In “Aurora,” engagement triggers purple aurora hues, rest provides “a calming blue,” and pleasure enlivens the motion of the aurora, exhibition panels clarify. In the meantime, in “Eclipse,” uncooked electrical energy from the mind fuels photo voltaic exercise, driving flares and ejections, whereas regional exercise of the mind is aligned spatially with the solar’s floor exercise.

For guests who decide into EEG readings, it goes extra private: A few days after their go to, they’ll obtain a abstract of their mind exercise. It comes with science-based explanations on gamma, beta, alpha and theta mind waves and what it says about one’s frame of mind, however it’s arguably the personalised visualization that they’ll keep in mind essentially the most.

“We created a visualization engine that was about how clouds form, because Richard Wright was an amateur photographer who took thousands of pictures of clouds,” Wiesler mentioned. Cross that with knowledge and neuroscience, and also you get the Cloud Gallery.

Brainstorms Cloud Gallery image credits Antonio Pagano
The Cloud Gallery is one among Brainstorms’ 4 rooms at London’s immersive artwork venue Frameless.
Picture Credit: Antonio Pagano

“Enjoy your cloud,” the PR individual tells me earlier than I wander into the huge room to look at my mind on-screen, moments after Imogen Heap did simply the identical. Due to steps taken to protect anonymity, solely you’ll know which cloud is yours, however the look in your eyes is likely to be a inform.

From ASMR to brain-themed museum exhibitions, there’s rising curiosity in what music does to our brains, however there’s one thing about Pink Floyd’s music that makes it an ideal match for such a show. “Due to popular demand,” “Brainstorms” already added new dates to its London residency, its organizers mentioned, and I received’t be shocked if it will definitely makes its technique to different cities and immersive venues world wide.

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