The Chaotic Storyline | 混乱的故事线
Discover the Nature of Your Brain with Brainwave Sensor

用脑波感应器探索大脑的混沌本质

“Chaotic Storyline” is an interactive installation and experiment embedded with brainwave sensing technique, real data visualization and the interruption of a fictional video’s display.

“混乱的故事线”是一个互动视频装置,采用了脑波探测技术, 实时可视化脑波数据,并影响舞台电影《哈姆雷特》视频的播放

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Brainwaves, as a chaotic system, are the physical reflections of human neural activities. Most of people believe they have free will, or in other words, they can think freely, but what if we overrated our subjective will-power and the ability we control our own mind? Losing control of our mind is always the worst situation of all time, no matter if it’s insanity, Alzheimer or even the mind control technique appeared in Sci-Fi movies, but it is always regarded as an extreme situation that as a healthy person we don’t usually have to face.

However, I always keep a high respect of the brain itself. I think it controls me more than the other way around, or at least my own will have to compete with it. The brain, which produces mind, is a thing-in-itself. This project tries to explore and show how easily people lose control of their own mind in the most normal daily activity, watching a movie.

I chose Hamlet for the participants to watch, because it is a representative of one of the most organized linear narrative system in the human history, which shows human’s collective aesthetics of orderly structured storytelling and can be an interesting contrast of our own individual chaos in mind.

I chose 9 points in the video which are the dramatic nodes in the story of Hamlet. I developed a program that can receive the brainwave data of the participant via the brainwave sensor Neurosky.

If the participant is concentrated, the video will play normally as usual. If the participant is distracted, the program will put user’s brainwave data through an algorithm I designed and get a result ranging from 0 to 8 which responds to the 9 dramatic points in the program. Then the anchor of video player will jump to that certain point.

I invited some friends and classmates to do the play test. The interesting thing is although the most concentrated friend I know among them can make the video normally play longer than others, they all cannot hold on to more than 2 minutes.

This project lets people realize the efforts they have to make to control their mind and fight with their own thing-in-itself brain, although it is actually a thing they do every day.

脑电波是一个混沌系统, 是人类神经活动的反映。大多数人相信他们能自由地思想,但有没有可能我们高估了我们的主观意志力以及操控自己头脑的能力呢?对头脑失去控制一直是最糟糕的情况,比如精神分裂、阿兹海默症、甚至科幻电影里的思想控制术,但这些往往是一个健康人不常遇到的极端情况。

然而我总是对大脑怀有高度的敬意。我认为它控制我多过我控制它,或者起码我的主观意志经常需要跟它的运作方式和规律去竞争。因此产出思想的大脑,其实是一个物自体。(康德的概念,物自体是指物体本身所固有的属性,它的存在不受主体认识形式的限制)这个项目也正是试图探索,人们即使在看电影这样最普通的日常活动中,都多么容易对大脑失去控制。

我选择了《哈姆雷特》作为观看影片,因为这是人类历史上具有高度组织性的线性叙事的典范,也代表了人类对于有序构架的叙事上的集体审美,与之相对照的是人类个体大脑中的混沌系统。

我在视频中选择了九个点,这些是《哈姆雷特》故事中最重要的几个戏剧性点。另外我编设了一个程序来通过脑电波探测仪获取参与者的脑电波数据。

如果参与者精力集中,视频会正常播放。如果注意力分散了,程序会对脑电波数据进行一定的计算,计算公式不重要,只是为了得出一个足够随机但是又具有直接联系的0到8之间的数值,来对应第1到第9个戏剧点。视频播放头会根据数值结果跳到相对应的戏点继续播放。

我邀请了一些朋友和同学来参与测试。有趣的是,他们中有我认识的做事注意力最集中的同学,但即使是他也不能持续集中注意力超过2分钟。

这个项目能让人们意识到,他们在试图控制自己的大脑意识的时候需要付出的努力,即需要对抗大脑作为物自体的本性,而实际上这正是我们每天都在做但很难意识到的事情。

Neurosky brainwave sensor
Neurosky脑电波感应器


Timeline of the video “Hamlet” with 9 dramatic points and red playhead
舞台剧电影《哈姆雷特》时间上的9个戏点和红色播放头


Playtest
体验者测试