NeuroKnitting Beethoven celebrates the 250th anniversary of great composer Ludwig van Beethoven by re-imagining his music through the creative application of brain waves and knitting.
In a classical music concert, we hear the interpretation of the composer’s piece by a musician. What if we could also see and manifest in the knitting processes the musician’s state of mind when performing?
NeuroKnitting Beethoven project re-visits Beethoven music by offering a novel experience of classical music at the interface between neuroscience, music and media art. During the concert, we record the brain waves of a pianist (in Seoul we recorded Buddist monk’s brain waves), which affect Circular Knitic’s (our circular knitting machine) pattern and knitting speed. The first one is composed of the peaks of attention level, and the second corresponds to the meditation state. In other words, the higher is the attention, the more dense is the pattern. And higher is the meditation level, the faster knits the machine. All these processes are real-time and take place simultaneously.
In addition to the affective knitting with brain data, performance has also visuals that represent all data that is received from the EEG headset and has thematic videos that were generated with AI algorithm (StyleGAN2) and that react also to the audio input (music in this case).
The project was initially planned as an on-site interactive performance-concert that has been transformed into a telematic performance due to Covid-19, which added an additional twist to the project. Meaning, the concert, capturing brain data, and visuals were happening in the physical space of the performance with the audience. Knitting happened in our studio and was streamed to the performance place, and at the same time, brain data from the performance place was sent over the internet in real-time to our studio that controlled the knitting machine. Also, the entire performance was streamed online.
In Hong Kong Art Centre piano play was performed by Linda Yim Chui Chu (Hong Kong New Music Ensemble) playing Beethoven’s ‘Piano Sonata No. 17 – Tempest’.
Jongwha Park (Pianist, College of Music Seoul National University Professor) was playing piano in Seoul performing Beethoven’s ‘Piano Sonata No. 8 – Pathétique’ and ‘For Elise’.
Project curated by Susa Pop (Public Art Lab) and commissioned by Goethe Institute.