“Chaotic Storyline” is an interactive installation and experiment embedded with brainwave sensing technique, real data visualization and the interruption of a fictional video’s display.
Brainwaves, as a chaotic system, are the physical reflections of human neural activities. Most of people believe they have free will, or in other words, they can think freely, but what if we overrated our subjective will-power and the ability we control our own mind? Losing control of our mind is always the worst situation of all time, no matter if it’s insanity, Alzheimer or even the mind control technique appeared in Sci-Fi movies, but it is always regarded as an extreme situation that as a healthy person we don’t usually have to face.
However, I always keep a high respect of the brain itself. I think it controls me more than the other way around, or at least my own will have to compete with it. The brain, which produces mind, is a thing-in-itself. This project tries to explore and show how easily people lose control of their own mind in the most normal daily activity, watching a movie.
I chose Hamlet for the participants to watch, because it is a representative of one of the most organized linear narrative system in the human history, which shows human’s collective aesthetics of orderly structured storytelling and can be an interesting contrast of our own individual chaos in mind.
I chose 9 points in the video which are the dramatic nodes in the story of Hamlet. I developed a program that can receive the brainwave data of the participant via the brainwave sensor Neurosky.
If the participant is concentrated, the video will play normally as usual. If the participant is distracted, the program will put user’s brainwave data through an algorithm I designed and get a result ranging from 0 to 8 which responds to the 9 dramatic points in the program. Then the anchor of video player will jump to that certain point.
I invited some friends and classmates to do the play test. The interesting thing is although the most concentrated friend I know among them can make the video normally play longer than others, they all cannot hold on to more than 2 minutes.
This project lets people realize the efforts they have to make to control their mind and fight with their own thing-in-itself brain, although it is actually a thing they do every day.
Neurosky brainwave sensor：
Timeline of the video “Hamlet” with 9 dramatic points and red playhead: