City Gallery

Past event

Monadic Device

28 November 2020

Watch a painting machine turn human brainwaves into art live in the Gallery every Saturday and Sunday. Simon Ingram's painting-performance project Monadic Device is part of his exhibition The Algorithmic ImpulseA schedule of performances can be found below.

Ingram has developed a painting machine that responds to electrical activity in the brain, input via an EEG headset and translated by high-tech computer software. Members of the public have been invited to don the EEG headset and hook themselves up to his machine to create a new painting.

During their Monadic Device performance, each person will carry out a different activity including listening to heavy metal and classical music, building Lego, meditating, and harakeke weaving. The resulting artwork will then go on show as part of the exhibition, before being returned to their makers for keeps. 

The machine is programmed to paint lines that wander around a canvas, avoiding paths previously traced and tunnelling under or glancing off lines it encounters. While connected to the painting machine, a person's beta brainwaves determine the length of lines, and their alpha brainwaves whether the lines turn left or right. To complicate matters, you can use a Wacom tablet to draw directly into the machine’s interface, so the resulting paintings may scramble drawing by hand (with intention) and drawing by brain (without). 


Monadic Device Performance Schedule

See Monadic Device in action 2–4pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday 6 February | Marcus Moore plays chess on a tournament-sized board with his son Tobias.

Sunday 7 February | Edwin Nieman rides a bike trainer.

Saturday 13 February | Sarah Laing drawis a diary comic of her experience.

Sunday 14 February | Emma Donnelly reads her late grandfathers letters.

Saturday 20 February | Sally Mainland assembles a craft model kitset and does a jigsaw puzzle.

Sunday 21 February | Fliss Quick sketches the gallery space and the painting machine.

Saturday 27 February | Phoebe McDougall does advanced maths calculations.

Sunday 28 February | Rachel Denee crochets a blanket.

Saturday 6 March | Robyn Cockburn reflects on every year of her sixty years of life by browsing through memorabilia, photos, and documents. All years will have a time limit of two minutes.

Saturday 7 March | Mike Riversdale creates his own website about the Monadic Device event as it takes place.