Brainwave Projections on “Arsenāls” Wall during the “Reader” Project

Brainwave Projections on “Arsenāls” Wall during the “Reader” Project
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The “Reader” (“Lasītājs”) project, part of the “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light, will demonstrate what is going on in the human brain while reading. The performance will feature one festival visitor at a time who will listen someone read a book for him or her, while a brain frequency reader will register impulses in the person’s brain, transforming them into colourful and unique video projections that will be projected onto the façade of the Latvian National Museum of Art exhibition hall “Arsenāls” (Torņa iela 1).

The spectators will see, literally, what is going on in the reader’s head, how thought changes matter, in response to what is being read from some of the Top 100 books selected through the “Great Reading” popular vote. These include books by Latvian authors, such as “Kitten’s Watermill (Kārlis Skalbe), “The Child of Man” (Jānis Klīdzējs), “Epiphanies” (Imants Ziedonis), as well as foreign authors: “Three Comrades” (Erich Maria Remarque), “Winnie-the-Pooh” (A. A. Milne), “The Alchemist” (Paulo Coelho), “The Count of Monte Cristo” (Alexandre Dumas) and others.

“What happens when a reader embarks on a journey into the world of books? What feelings, associations does he or she have? This object of the festival of light will not only answer these questions, but also demonstrate it for the public,” says Kristaps Banga, one of the designers of the object. “We have ordered brain sensors for the project from abroad, and we have been closely collaborating with neurologist Sandra Vestermane.”

The idea of the project was suggested by Mārtiņš Dāboliņš and Kristaps Banga and his creative team. They have been participating in the festival for three years, but the festival this year is especially challenging, in part due to the large number of foreign artists participating, which is why the artists opted for a technologically innovative project this time.

Every performance will continue for ten minutes – an excerpt from a book will be read out loud, whereas the person participating in the performance will listen and try to visualise what he or she is hearing. The emotions and associations that the person goes through will be registered by EEG sensors, and the data obtained will create three-dimensional images resembling complex, mathematically-precise and harmonious architecture.

Those who wish to participate in the “Reader” performances are requested to fill out an application here. The participants need to be at least 18 years old, the application also has to include contact information and a brief description why the person wishes to take part in the performance.

As reported, the “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light will continue for five evenings from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the 14th to 18th of November. The “Staro Rīga” Festival of Light will experience a positive “force majeure” during the European Capital of Culture year, becoming a platform for international and national multimedia light and technology art projects. The main exhibits at the festival will be video installations that have won international acclaim or were created specifically for the festival. In 2014, the festival also launches the public participation programme “Riga Carnival” for the first time that, with the motto “Light Up Your City!”, urges companies, government and municipal institutions, and residents to create colourful light installations in the windows and on facades of buildings until the 18th of November.

“Lattelecom”, the main co-operation partner of the “Staro Rīga 2014” festival, will set up new WiFi hotspots at bus and trolley-bus stops near the Cabinet of Ministers and Riga Regional Court buildings, meant for the visitors to the festival. This in addition to the more than 1,000 free WiFi hotspots in Riga – the European capital of free WiFi. On the other hand, the “1188” directory assistance will, as usual, create an online map of all “Staro Rīga 2014” exhibits, which will be convenient to use also in mobile phones and tablet computers.

Insurance company ERGO, the official insurance partner of “Riga 2014” and a supporter of the main cultural events in Latvia this year, is the insurer of this and other key events in the European Capital of Culture programme of Riga.

The “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light is financed by the Riga City Council, the festival’s partner “Lattelecom” and other co-operation partners, the “Connecting Cities” network of the European Union’s programme “Culture 2007-2013”, and the EEA/Norway Financial Instrument in Latvia. The festival is organised by the “Riga 2014” foundation.

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