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December 19, 2006

Touching the Invisible


Working with the Invisible Flow of Information

Touching the Invisible characterizes the work performed at the Smart Studio and reflects how we work with the invisible flow of information. As it is channelled and directed into specific lines of investigation, the bits and waves transform through an eclectic mix of ideas into compound forms that become both visible and tangible. Our aim is always to bring the invisible out into the real space we inhabit, to invite the visitor for interaction, and overturn the outcome. The exhibition is built around six individual pieces representing different aspects and interpretations of the theme, that in different ways challenge our preconceived notions on flux and immobility, on thought and matter, on time and space.

The generative processes that lead to the final work can often start from discussions in the group, where we try to find associative paths between individual definitions, for example by delimiting an area of interest with keywords or images that may provoke a multitude of interpretations. The shifts of meaning that occur in the process are used as an asset that can add an unexpected twist to the issues and their realisations.


Brainball is a game, an art object and Smart studio's first completely hybrid research project. The players move a ball on a table by the sole use of their brainwaves. Encouraging competition through relaxation, the game objective is to score a goal on the opponent's side with the least possible action. Brainball is an exciting and social game but also an interesting tool for learning how to control your mental states. It has been exhibited in as widely different contexts as art and design exhibitions and medical fairs, and is seen as one of the studio's most successful hybrid objects.


Brainbar is a mechanical bar that mixes drinks according to the visitor's brainwaves. The bar reads the brain frequencies (EEG or electroencephalogram) in the alpha and beta wavelength. These wavelengths are generally considered to be synonymous with the states of relaxation and activity in the mind. Thus the BrainBar serves the drink most suited for you, at the moment of measurement. BrainBar can be seen as a mediator or manipulator designed to give a party its perfect state of enhanced socialising, carefully adjusting the drinks served so that every guest stays within acceptable parameters for a “good” behaviour or, if the settings allow, a “bad” behaviour. By the use of alcohol and medical herb essences, the bar can emotionally equalize or polarize the group of guests. This can be seen as a sociological experiment exploring how much a person is prepared to submit to external forces and how far the person can allow a machine to intrude on the body.


A paranoid web spider searching for the Devil on the net. By detecting inverted pentagrams in images stored on the Internet, the program determines if the image has evil content and alerts the siteowner. HellHunt is an application based upon the use of so-called vision algorithms, a way of enabling computers to detect and distinguish geometrical configurations inside pictures. The active algorithm in this piece traces down the diabolic symbol of the reversed pentagram on images stored on the Internet. When the program hits an image that corresponds with the algorithm, it draws the lines of the hidden pentagram on it. Furthermore, it saves the address of the page and sends an e-mail to it, kindly demanding the removal of the harmful image.

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Posted by jo at December 19, 2006 04:09 PM