On Your Wavelength by Marcus Lyall, Lumiere Festival @Canary Wharf, London 20th Jan 2018


It was a great experience to participate in that interactive installation work which combined EEG (electroencephalogram) technology, visuals and music. EEG is usually used on epileptic patients to measure their brain activity via small sensors attached to the scalp.  For the purpose of the installation, an EEG headset was used. I queued for around 20mins to have my turn and see how my brain activity actually looks like.  Each person would provide for a unique 3 minute show and so it was hard to get bored.

We were given clear instructions to simply concentrate. The more concentrated a person  the brighter and further a square lighting up a tunnel in front of us would be and the higher the sound pitch. Should the concentration dropped, the visuals would come closer and become more colourful, and the sound would drop into low frequencies. Naturally having around 100 spectators behind our backs, pacifying one’s monkey mind would be quite a challenging task.  I cheered on each single person who would step on that little platform and felt for those who never managed to push the square further out from the ‘red’ frequency.  I noticed that girls found this task much easier to handle than boys around their age, who would sometimes fail miserably. Such an intimate insight into our brains made some people uncomfortable. For me it was an exciting way of finding out whether my meditation practice will bear any fruits in an adrenaline infused situation.

With my heart pounding I first tried to follow my breath but the visuals distracted me as I noticed the red square coming closer and closer eventually lighting up the very first LED frame. I haven’t seen this happening to anyone before me, reflecting on the recordings later, but at that time I wouldn’t notice much aside from colours. Distance and time were foreign concepts. I switched to meditating on the visual instead and I started feeling a pleasant melting and tingling in my brain as the square became brighter eventually bursting into a fluid block of light at the end of the tunnel. I was relieved I managed to keep the square at bay and save myself from embarrassment as I stepped from the platform…

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