• Brain activity and mental workload associated with artistic practice

      Locke, Caroline; Swann, Debra; Wilson, Max; Maior, Horia; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 09/02/2018)
      We present the first stage of our on-going artist-driven BCI collaboration, where we equipped an artist with the brain scanning technique functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in order to record mental workload levels during her creative practice. We artists are interested in exposing the hidden cognitive processes involved in our creative practice, in order to reuse or integrate the data into our performances. The computer science researchers are interested in collecting unstructured ‘in the wild’ fNIRS data, and to see how the artists interpret the data retrospectively. We highlight some interesting early examples from the data and describe our on-going plans. We will have completed a second data collection before the workshop.
    • Heart sensing sound fountain

      Locke, Caroline; The University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University (FACT, Liverpool, 2015-07)
      The term ‘ Performing Data’ was first used by the artist Dr Rachel Jacobs and became the title of Caroline Locke’s research residency at Nottingham University. The Performing Data Project was developed by an interdisciplinary group of HCI (Human, Computer, Interaction) researchers, artists and creative technicians based across the Mixed Reality Lab and Horizon Digital Economy Institute. The Heart Sensing Sound Fountain was developed as part of this project and residency. The previous work Sound Fountains, where sound is visualized through water has been developed so that audiences can engage in their own unique and sometimes very personal experience with the Sound Fountain, using their body data to make changes within an installation environment. The audience (or 2 participants) are asked to place their fingertip on top of the heart shaped sensor, to hold in place for as long as they like to see what happens to the Sound Fountains. The sensor locates the participant’s heart rate and their pulse triggers tones, which are sent to the Sound Fountains. They watch as the waves synchronize with their own beating heart. The sculpture involves live performance on many levels. An element of performance is at the end of the data flow in the water but also between the two individuals facing each other and the dialogue that occurs between them. The surrounding audience watch as the two participants become performers. Perhaps there is a feedback loop as participants attempt to slow down their heart rate or it speeds up with levels of engagement/excitement. The activity is part of a long period of original and significant research and development. Locke’s research, in its wider sense, reflects on the relationship between the spectator and the performer and the opportunities to blur their respective roles within Contemporary Art Practice. It investigates ways in which a spectator can engage more in the work through direct interaction. For example, spectators became performers and integral to the work by triggering sensors within the exhibition space, allowing their presence to orchestrate changes within the installation.
    • Making a rock

      Locke, Caroline; Swann, Debra; University of Derby; The Academy in Antwerp; Nottingham Trent University (N/A, 16/03/2016)
      This collaborative project with Caroline Locke and Debra Swann was developed through a series of residencies at Primary, Nottingham and Summer Lodge at Nottingham Trent University 2016. The first exhibition at The Collectiv National Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium in 2016 and then developed further as part of an exhibition at Primary, Nottingham 2017. Making a Rock is an ongoing durational performance that attends to the physical construction of a large-scale object (a cardboard ‘rock’) embracing the potential of duration, temporality, liveness and performativity. Using photography, video and sound to document this process of making, the enquiry expands the vocabulary of sculptural practice through the focus of the durational aspects of making and the idea of the sculptural work in flux. This enquiry explores the process of making and collecting data. It investigates how we understand objects and sound and the properties and qualities they possess. Through the artist/object relationship a focus on the evolution of an object and the artist’s process is examined. Rock Music is a composition created using sounds taken from recordings of the artist Debra Swann making a huge cardboard rock. The artists have explored the different kinds of data gathered from their combined artistic practices. They extract the data and rework it in live performances and exhibited works. Rock Music explores sound in relation to domestic and labour intensive activity. The composition is cut onto a vinyl record which is played over and over within the exhibition space. The sound of the activity becomes abstract and otherworldly when amplified. Mundane working involves repetition – a strange rhythm develops – a kind of chant.
    • Making shaking shifting pouring sawing

      Locke, Caroline; Swann, Debra; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University; Collectiv National Gallery, Antwerp; The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (Primary Studios Nottingham, 2017-02)
      Making Shaking Shifting Pouring Sawing is an installation, exhibition and live Performance. The work explores the idea of repeated and intensive labour and the data gathered in relation to artistic and domestic processes. The exhibits and performances feature made and found objects and the data collected in relation to repeated activities whilst making or working with the objects. The data is retrieved as sound, physical data, digital imagery and animation. These elements are exposed as part of live performances and exhibited kinetic sculptures and devices. The project involved collaborative research explored by Caroline Locke and Debra Swann and was initially developed through a series of residencies at Primary, Nottingham and Summer lodge at Nottingham Trent University 2016. The first exhibition was in Antwerp, Belgium, at Collectiv National, Antwerp Gallery in 2016 (Collectiv National, was founded by Janna Beck and is linked to The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium). An exhibition and live performance at Primary, Nottingham followed in 2017. As an extension of Locke’s residency at Nottingham University, based across the Mixed Reality Lab and Horizon Digital Economy Institute, Locke and Swann worked with Assistant Professor Max Wilson and Horia Maior, who equipped Debra with a brain scanning device known as Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in order to record mental workload levels during her creative making processes. Visualisations of the recorded brain data were projected as part of a live performance and exhibition. The brain data was also used to control various devices as part of the exhibition. For example: a motor uses the rate of brain activity to speed up and slow down a record deck. Rock Music is a composition created using sounds taken from recordings of the artist Debra Swann making a huge cardboard rock. The ‘music’ was cut onto a vinyl disc and played on the brain data controlled device. Rock Music explores sound in relation to domestic and labour intensive activity – The brain effort during the making activity controls the speed at which the record plays during the performances and exhibitions. Shaking Shelves is a kinetic sculpture which is also part of the live performance and exhibition. The brain effort during a cleaning and sweeping process controls the speed at which the motor attached to a shelving unit spins. The shelves are loaded with domestic items and the vibration and movement of the motor causes the shelves to vibrate and the items to shake and sometimes fall. The extended Performing Data research is funded by the Arts Council and explores ideas around body rhythms and physical data in connection with labour, multi-tasking and women's work. Locke is interested in capturing data and using it to control kinetic sculptures within an immersive environment.