BLACK BOX – An installation that plays with the observer effect

The observer effect is the disturbance of an observed system by the act of observation.

BLACK BOX is a light and sound installation made for the IJsselbiennale 2021. It is inspired by the paradox that is impossible to (just) observe a system without disturbing it. Why and when do we decide to step in, to observe, or to actively interact with a system or environment? The choices we make have consequences and BLACK BOX offers the opportunity to reflect on them.

Artistic team:

Sound design: Ivo Bol
Scenography & light design: Marion Tränkle

Produced and supported by:
IJsselbiennale 2021

20/21.08.2021  Harculo Centrale Zwolle

(UN)FOCUSSED – A performance on neurofeedback and brain activity

Ik werd meegenomen naar een andere wereld waar hersenactiviteit en omgeving aan elkaar worden gekoppeld. De ingenieuze visualisatie is een mysterieuze ervaring: als kijker zie je direct verschillen tussen individuen. Het geluidsontwerp maakt het gehele beeld compleet.

Sabine Wildevuur, WAAG society 

(UN)FOCUSSED is a performance with and about the brain. It exposes our differences as individuals and our basic similarities as humans.

The EEG data of two performers are monitored, compared and translated into dynamic movements of lasers, light, and sound. The performative system uses neurofeedback and real-time display of the performers own brain activity as well as external stimuli for the brain. The audience becomes a witness of the performers effort to self-regulate their brain function, while trying to maintain synchronicity with each other. The performance ends with a mental effort of the performers that puts the entire audience in the spotlight.

(UN)FOCUSSED was commissioned by the Amsterdam Brain and Mind Project (ABMP). This UvA‐VUA Amsterdam Academic Alliance Initiative aims to build sustainable bridges between the fields of neuroscientific and cognitive research. NOW was approached for an artist in residence project to develop a work that interprets and adds to the scientific theme of neuroscience and cognition research. (UN)FOCUSSED was performed for 2000 academic researchers during the Amsterdam Neuroscience Kick-off Conference in the Theater Amsterdam. [link]

Artistic team:

EEG analysis and laser design: Alberto Novello
Sound design: Ivo Bol
Scenography & light design: Marion Tränkle
Choreography: Marion Tränkle, Roos van Berkel and Tashi Iwaoka
Performers: Roos van Berkel and Tashi Iwaoka
Registration: Eric de Clercq

Amsterdam Neuroscience Alliance.

Funded by:
The Performing Arts Fund NL, the Creative Industries Fund NL, and the Amsterdam Brain and Mind project

15.10.2015 try-out at Amsterdam Dance Event, Compagnietheater Amsterdam
18.04.2017 Amsterdam Brain and Mind project, Compagnietheater Amsterdam
19.04.2017 Worlding the Brain Symposium, Compagnietheater Amsterdam
06.10.2017 Amsterdam Neuroscience Kickoff Meeting Theater Amsterdam
09.04.2017 The Warp, Art Chapel Amsterdam
23.09.2017 Festival Nuit des Lampions, Wiltz, Luxemburg

(IN)FOCUS- Interviews with sonified EEG data

video loop ǁ 23 minutes

For (IN)FOCUS we conducted interviews with specialists from the fields of science, cognitive research and cultural analysis. In an attempt to treat the brain as subject and object at the same time, we asked the researchers to reflect on their work and the implications for neuroscience. During the interviews we recorded the brainactivity of the interviewees with an EEG and translated their alpha waves and eye blinking into a soundwork.

(IN)FOCUS was produced for the Amsterdam Brain and Mind Project in 2017. It was part of a commission to produce artworks that contribute to the merging of cognitive research, life sciences, behavioural sciences and humanities.

Interview Partners:

Prof. dr. Agneta Fischer, Director of the Psychology Research Institute at the UvA

Prof. dr. Arjen Brussaard, Director of Amsterdam Neuroscience

Prof. dr. Patricia Pisters, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam

Prof. dr. Wijnand Geraerts, Emeritus Professor Molecular Neurobiology University of Amsterdam

Artistic team:

Marion Tränkle – video

Ivo Bol – sound design


Amsterdam Neuroscience Alliance

18.04.2017 Amsterdam Brain and Mind project, Compagnietheater Amsterdam
19.04.2017 Worlding the Brain Symposium, Compagnietheater Amsterdam