Author Topic: "The Ascent" - Art Installation “Infinity Simulator” Coming Near You (We Hope)!  (Read 1800 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011




Sorry I missed this--and hope they do it again!  :D
 



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/fashion/the-ascent-levitating-in-brooklyn.html?pagewanted=all



Brain Waves Lift Me Higher
By ARIEL KAMINER
 Published: June 22, 2012



The author, above, levitating on “The Ascent” in Brooklyn.



Ariel Kaminer, the author, practices her concentration beforehand.



YOU could drive past the hulking warehouse on the rough patch of waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, several times without ever figuring it for the latest frontier of neurological thrill-seeking. But that’s where Yehuda Duenyas, 38, who calls himself “a creator of innovative experiences,” was camped out last week, along with his team of scrappy young technical wizards and a quarter-million dollars’ worth of circuitry, theatrical lighting and optimism called The Ascent.

Part art installation, part adventure ride, part spiritual journey, “The Ascent” claims to let users harness their brain’s own electrical impulses, measured through EEG readings, to levitate themselves. During its brief stay in New York, it welcomed representatives from cultural organizations like PS 122 and Lincoln Center, event promoters and friends of the team.

In the shadowy vastness of the warehouse, “The Ascent” looked spare and heroic, like the setting for the final showdown between good and evil. Up high, a large circular track of lights and equipment hung from the ceiling. Down on the floor, another circle mirrored the one above, with incandescent bulbs illuminating transient puffs of smoke and casting the apparatus in a ghostly light. In the 30 feet between the lights above and the lights below, the air seemed heavy with magic and danger.

An assistant outfitted me with a harness around my middle and a couple of EEG sensors across my forehead. Another assistant led me to the center of the circle and snapped me into the two hanging cables. For one long and mysterious moment, I stood alone in silence. Then the fun began.

A wide band of blue light appeared behind me. Distant echoes sounded, full of portent. Now powerful spotlights blazed around me. The sensors on my forehead were recording the electrical activity they were picking up and sending it to a network of half a dozen laptops, which initiated various sequences of light and sound and motion and smoke.

That band of light was an indicator, I had been told, of my shifting mental state, from blue (focused) through green (less so) to red (distracted). The more I could keep my readout in the blue — by closing my eyes, by concentrating on nothingness — the more cool effects I would trigger. And the higher I would ascend.

The mechanism is mercifully smooth. When my eyes were closed I couldn’t even feel if I was moving. I’d just know I was in the right mental zone because I could hear thunderclaps rise and rumble and fall and shatter. I could see an aurora borealis of color playing across my eyelids. I could feel the pulse of bass.

But every time I started thinking about how to describe those effects — or how cool my friend Heather would find all this, how disappointed I was to miss my friend Andrew’s birthday — I’d open my eyes and see that my readout had distracted itself back into the red. Time to focus again.

Two-thirds of my way up, 12 spotlights from the circle below threw their powerful beams up into the semidarkness, and the distant echoes gave way to the triumphal strains of Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, played at a volume just short of deafening. The colors gave way to a bright white light, suffusing the warehouse and seemingly sanctifying me. Up farther, as a crown of spotlights shone down, their beams and the ones from below crossed in midair. I rose past the lights and into some uncharted realm, possibly Heaven. Finally a great cymbal crash, a wild whirring of colors and a burst of silvery confetti. From 30 feet below I could hear people applauding.

Accompanied at full blast by “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky, I descended slowly to the circle that had first surrounded me what felt like half a lifetime ago but was only a few minutes.

Down on the ground, someone congratulated me on getting the confetti burst, a final tippy-top thrill that only about 15 percent of ascenders achieve (those who struggle to find the right focus but who make it to the top anyway). I am ashamed to admit how proud I felt.

Compared with levitating, walking again should have felt like a major letdown, but the journey left me exhilarated and ever so slightly altered.

That’s the kind of response that Mr. Duenyas, who first conceived of “The Ascent” as part of his master’s thesis at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was hoping for.

“My goal is just to up the epic feeling,” he told me. “ ‘More epic, more epic, more epic,’ I kept telling myself.” For inspiration, he and his team looked to “those iconic Renaissance paintings of a deity ascending into the heavens, as well as 60s futurism, like ‘2001.’ ”

The result is deliberately hard to define.

“There’s something so intense and serious about it but at the same time it’s totally ridiculous and over-the-top,” he said, later adding, “We’re still figuring out what it is.”

To help answer that question, I brought along Partha Mitra, a neuroscientist who is mapping the brain circuitry of mice at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Driving to Sunset Park that morning, Mr. Mitra had been deeply skeptical.

“You know what it is,” he said, “it’s mesmerism,” the gimmicky pseudoscience that had hoodwinked an earlier era.

EEG technology is a crucial diagnostic tool, but the electrical impulses it detects are faint. Commercial headsets like the one I wore were more likely, he suspected, to be reading the muscles just below the skin.

In his spare time, Mr. Mitra maintains a daily practice of yoga and meditation. So when it was his turn to ascend, he just slipped into a meditative state and cruised steadily up toward the ceiling in a nearly uninterrupted sea of blue. He loved it, happily describing “The Ascent” as perhaps the largest EEG biofeedback installation in the world. “Megaginormous” was the particular term he used. But did the science behind it hold up?

After his ascent, Mr. Mitra spent some time analyzing data streams from other users. He said it was clear that the headset was, indeed, picking up an EEG signal. But it occasionally seemed to be picking up a different signal, too — one coming from the muscles around the eyes, not the wiring of the brain. As to which signal was driving the ride at that point, without a detailed study it was not possible to say for sure, he said.

Whatever “The Ascent” is, Mr. Duenyas got it to Sunset Park on the generosity of a single donor: Jeremy X. Halpern, 47, an artist and musician. Mr. Halpern first met Mr. Duenyas when Mr. Halpern volunteered to be his intern a couple of years ago. Now that its Brooklyn residency has ended, the team has grand ambitions, although no firm plans, for what lies ahead. Asked about his dream setting, Mr. Duenyas mentioned the Park Avenue Armory, the vast entrance of the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim or, why not, the ancient Greek theater in Delphi.

For now he has been enjoying the reactions of visitors. Many said they felt thrilled. A few said they felt inadequate. Rodger Stevens, an artist, recalled: “I just turned to Yehuda and I said, ‘That’s how I want to die. That’s perfect.’ ”


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011















[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2ptUuaAKzA&feature[/youtube]
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by christopherrogy
Shot on my iPhone 4s



"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/01/emotiv-eeg-headset-hacked-into-vr-trapeze-act-lets-you-fly-like/#comments


Emotiv EEG headset
hacked into VR trapeze act
lets you fly like Superman


By Sean Hollister
posted Mar 1st 2011 10:35PM





Last year, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students built a virtual reality contraption that let them soar through the sky, held aloft by a trapeze harness and seeing through HMD-covered eyes. This year, they're controlling it with the power of their minds. For his master's thesis, project leader Yehuda Duenyas added an Emotiv headset -- the same one controlling cars and the occasional game -- to make the wearer seemingly able to levitate themselves into the air by carefully concentrating. Sure, by comparison it's a fairly simple trick, but the effect is nothing short of movie magic.



[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yGvsDD50cb8[/youtube]
Uploaded by eameres2 on Feb 24, 2011



Yehuda Duenyas, AKA XXXY, is an MFA student in RPI's MFA program. His project, Ascent, uses EEG controlled performer flight as its centerpiece. Lauren controls her "ascent" by concentration read by an Emotive EEG headset. Here's a little look behind the scenes.

Among other technologies, it employs OpenSound Control (OSC) for much of its inter-program communications.
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011




xxxy is artist Yehuda Duenyas.

He creates venues, experiences, productions, events, and systems that reenvision how audiences engage with live experience.
 
With an extensive background as a theater artist and director, he has custom-built numerous venues around NYC including a jewel-box theater in a downtown storefront, an indoor amusement-ride in a Brooklyn warehouse, and a scale model of an early 20th c. vaudeville theater in the basement of a deserted deli off Times Square.

He is currently conducting research in Electronic Arts at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he is developing a new body of interactive performance systems which fuse playful tropes of theater with experimental gaming, simulation, engineering, and cognitive science.
 
He is a founding member and co-artistic director of the multi award-winning collaborative The National Theater of the United States of America (ntusa.org).


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Sophia

  • BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,574
  • Your elbows, try to lick them
That sound just amazing.... I WANNA DO THAT. Please let it come back in September.