Focus Artistic Research

Neuromatic Game Art: Critical play with neurointerfaces

Project lead: Margarete Jahrmann
Center Research Focus
Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR 581 Programm zur Entwicklung und Erschließung der Künste (PEEK) 
Wider arts-based research context / theoretical framework 
Game Art currently undergoes a rush of presence and importance in the context of artistic research, as it informs methods of insight and experiments. This happens at the same moment as new mobile interfaces linking body, brain, and electronic networks become available in a subtly gamified world. Ludic Theory, the concept of Flow, and the transformative potential of play will serve as theoretical frameworks for a series of publicly performed artistic experiments evolving around neurointerfaces.
 
Hypotheses / research questions / objectives 
According to our hypothesis the everyday availability of neurointerfaces will create new dimensions of social and ethical questions reaching from of privacy and surveillance to self-optimization, but will also carry the potential for new forms of creativity and interaction. As arts-based research question we take up the challenge to critically evaluate neurointerfaces as technological devices of potential everyday use. Our research objective is the creation of a new form of experimental game art – the neuromatic one – to contribute new knowledge, awareness, and resilience, and to elucidate ethical questions, possibilities and limitations of technologies that intrude the individual brain and to ultimately change self-optimization into self-expression.
 
Approach / methods 
In a series of staged and performed artworks informed by Game art, concepts of Flow and play, we will create a hybrid interplay and inquiry of questions around personal data and brain measurement informed by the neuroscientific research and techno-philosophical discourse that accompanies the project. By artistic re-engineering neurointerfaces will be transformed from intrusive measurement devices into participative and creative tools.
 
Level of originality / innovation 
The present project constitutes a unique, original, and urgently needed critical but playful artistic examination of an emerging technology. The prototypes and artefacts of our research, a new innovative form of modified playful neuromatic devices, will be the seed for further artistic and philosophical use.
 
Primary staff involved in the project 
The highly transdisciplinary project is carried out by five experienced researchers from complementary fields. The leading roles are held by artistic researchers. Margarete Jahrmann is an experienced artist, professor in the artistic research PhD program at Angewandte Vienna and in Game Arts at the Zurich University of the Arts. Ruth Schnell is a leading media artist and holds the chair for Digital Arts, Angewandte Vienna. The techno-philosophical research line is led by Mark Coeckelbergh (University of Vienna). Stefan Glasauer (Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg) guides the neuroscientific research. The group will be complemented by several young emerging artists and researchers.