Digital 'Head Dome' Immerses You in Art

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One person’s art is another person’s steampunk fantasy. This large copper dome, which is lowered over a person’s head as part of the Eye Resonator art installation, evokes the pseudo-Victorian mechanical style. But in fact, it’s quite high-tech.

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Eye-tracking technology inside the dome fixates on the person’s eye motion as well as pupil dilation to produce an audio-visual feedback loop represented in images of swarming birds, insects, fish and plankton. The aim of the Eye Resonator, according to the developers, John Shearer, of the University of Lincoln, UK, and digital artists at Newcastle University, is to react to the viewer’s state of arousal and then constantly revise the audio and visual pattern, encouraging the viewer to achieve a balanced state of a control and relaxation.

Every day, humans are surrounded by white noise and chaos. There’s road traffic, commercials, chatter, elevator music, not to mention the myriad stimuli coming from our electronic devices. This art installation is attempting to use technology to focus the mind and make sense of chaos.

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“We’re inviting people to step back and reflect in a way that we rarely do, much the same way as meditation does,” one of the developers, Brigitta Zics, said in a press release. “It’s a chance to step out of life for a few minutes and just be with yourself. Technology is always moving towards a better user experience, so why not art galleries too? Art needs to be more responsive to people who are engaging with it and this work is really pushing that, looking to understand better what makes us human.”

If you’re interested in stimulating your sense of observation, you can try the resonator at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab between 3-5 June 2014.

See a video here.

Credit: Newcastle University