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


“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


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。







Neurosky brainwave sensor

Timeline of the video “Hamlet” with 9 dramatic points and red playhead