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Live Stream Saturday Dec. 23, 2023 at 5 pm ET

Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan
Sound of Mind and Body
Watch the live stream on the EE Twitch TV channel

The production of this video and livestream has been made possible with a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

This collaboration by Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan uses concepts of human-to-computer brainwave interfacing to manipulate and produce real-time music, sound and lighting, integrated with dance, body performance and slapstick. An EEG interface worn by dancer-choreographer Coleman sends data to several Max/MSP software patches in real-time. As Coleman shifts through various states of mental and physical concentration and movement, he is able to produce and control alpha-brainwaves while dancing. He uses these alpha waves in conjunction with Monahan’s software manipulations, to produce various responses in musical instruments such as piano and percussion, to control the fading of stage lights, and to control sound spatialization and audio processing. Monahan simultaneously controls several Max/MSP software patches on stage that harness Coleman’s brain signals to sculpt soundwaves, light, instrumental composition and kinetic actions into a progressively layered multi-media artwork.

Historical note:.

This piece follows in the tradition of brainwave music composition pioneered by Alvin Lucier, David Rosenboom, Richard Teitelbaum, and others, beginning in the 1960s. In fact, the history of brainwaves and sound reproduction dates back to 1928, when the British scientist Edgar Adrian (1889–1977) was the first to successfully sonify human brainwaves (EEG) in laboratory experiments.