This performance is part of Performing Home
26 NOVEMBER, 6.30PM - 10PM
Whilst working on The Substation Archive exhibition in 2015, many people that I spoke to had different ideas of The Substation, but one thing that remained consistent was that The Substation evokes many strong emotions in artists, administrators, and audiences. However, pure emotion does not keep an art space running; and what do we with these complex and conflicting emotions?
This interactive performance attempts to evaluate the emotions that people feel about The Substation. Using a consumer-level electroencephalogram (EEG) reader with the TGAM1 module that is used in "mind control" toys such as Mattel's Mind Flex and Uncle Milton's Industries' Star Wars Force Trainer, electrical changes in the brain are used to crudely quantify mental and emotional activity - with present technologies, we can only detect levels of emotional activity, but cannot specifically determine what types of emotion the user might be feeling.
Laid out on a table are photographs and printed materials about The Substation that can be used to alter one’s mental activity and "emotional readings". Members of the audience will be invited to don the headset and their “emotion” will be recorded. I will inscribe the names of the audience and the value of their "emotional readings" onto a chart on the wall of the Random Room, so it can be compared with other "emotions".
Every half hour, I will announce a new “emotional goal” – each one constituting a drastic departure from the previous intention – in order to influence the distribution of “emotions" on this absurd emotional chart.
Are we on the same or different wavelengths? Are we trying to close the gaps, or trying to move further away? Who wins the game when we feel everything, or nothing, or something very confusing in-between?
About Debbie Ding
Debbie Ding is a visual artist and technologist working between Singapore and London. She received an MA in Design Interactions from Royal College of Art in 2015. Other ongoing exhibitions of her work include "Shelter" (2016), a live-sized model of a HDB Household Shelter (commissioned for the Singapore Biennale 2016), and "The Library of Pulau Saigon" (2015), a computer-aided exploration of archaeological ambiguities at the site of a former island in the Singapore River (at NUS Museum's exhibition "Radio Malaya").
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