Beautiful Thoughts: Water Moves to Artist’s Brainwaves

A woman clothed in white sits in a meditative position in the center of five metal pans of water. Throughout the performance, the water ripples and jumps to waves of haunting meditative music.

The name for Lisa Park’s piece “Eunoia” is derived from the Greek words ey (well) and nous (mind) to mean “beautiful thought,” a suiting name for the beautiful auditory and visual manifestations of brain activity through the mind of an artist.

The performance is an introspective piece in which the artist seeks to not only track her emotions but, by quieting them, find balance, unity, and clarity. The five pools of water symbolize human emotions of sadness, anger, hatred, desire, and happiness.

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On her head, Lisa Park wears an EEG sensor that tracks the frequency and variation of her brainwaves according to her emotions and level of consciousness. Then, by using the software programs Max/MSP and Reaktor, the brainwave data is interpreted and generated into music that plays from speakers underneath the pools of water.

Her mind is thus translated into a dance of liquid music.

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Similar and perhaps influenced by past experiments with the mind and music, such as Alvin Lucier’s “Music for Solo Performer,” this piece tacks on a visual layer rooted in Zen philosophy. The metal plates’ circular form represents the unity of spirit, and the simple aesthetic alludes to this ideological foundation.

Initially, Lisa Park hoped to end the performance in silence as a representation of a balanced state of mind. However, despite many dedicated hours of training, her intention was not realized and she instead left behind a beautiful representation of the chaotic, complicated, and poetic human experience.

In her next piece, the artist intends to stand in a larger pool of water against a reflection of herself as she travels deeper into the recesses of consciousness.

Ellen Xie

A native of Bethel, CT, Ellen attended Vassar College for a degrees in Environmental Studies and English. www.ellenguanlee.wordpress.com

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