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So Cool! Brain’s Reaction to Cocktails Creates Artwork

on 04/05/11 at 11:46 am

Booze News

A synesthetic drinking installation aims to broaden minds after just one sip of a cocktail, as the experience of taste is translated into individual artworks through the brain.

Marcos Lutyens is a multimedia artist interested in the neurological condition of synesthesia, which causes subjects to experience mixed sensory reactions to situations that would normally just stimulate one sense — for example, being able to smell or hear color. He’s working alongside Absolut Vodka to bring cocktail drinkers a visual representation of how their brains are enjoying their drinks as part of next month’s FutureEverything festival in Manchester, England.

It may sound like a bit of a party trick, but there’s a lot of hard science and mathematical theory behind the FlavourCollider installation. Roy Williams’ Xmorphia, a mathematical system that generates forms that mimic the building blocks of life, forms the basis for the algorithm that translates the drinkers’ brainwaves into art.

Explaining his role in the work to Wired.co.uk, Lutyens says, “I’m more like a kind of orchestra conductor. It’s very multidisciplinary, as we’re mixing brain waves with taste with visuals, and bringing them together is where my work sits. What I do like about the visuals is that they emerge mostly out of these algorithms, these equations which allow signals from our brain to create self-generative art.”

Lutyens likes to be “as transparent and uninterruptive as possible” during the process, in which participants wear a Neurosky MindWave headset while drinking a particularly flavorsome cocktail. Their brain activity is picked up in EEG signals by the headset and are then translated into real-time visuals on large flatscreen monitors around the bar.

“It’s going to be a relatively quick process,” says Lutyens, “but it will allow people to watch how their subconscious minds react to taste.”

{Full story via Wired UK}

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