THE LOOP 
A Projection Mapped Performance Controlled by Brainwaves. By Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer
Melbourne Knowledge Week Festival, Melbourne Meat Market, AUSTRALIA, 2019
THE LOOP is a projection mapping performance by PluginHUMAN. The show’s imagery and audio is controlled by the performer’s neutral function (brainwaves). This performance places the human body at the centre of a digital experience. PluginHUMAN create a feedback loop between people and machines, forming a cycle of information that is shaped by a collusion between active brainwaves and real-time multi-sensory art.
THE LOOP features two performers: a musician/programmer (Justin Dwyer), and a dancer (Betty Sargeant). An EEG headset reads electrical activity that’s occurring inside the dancer’s brain, and sends this data to PluginHUMAN’s custom designed TouchDesigner system. This system transforms real-time brain activity into abstract audio-visuals, it also provides aromatic, gustatory and haptic feedback to the dancer. The dancer’s neural function controls the aesthetic environment.
The dancer’s movement is tracked and their body is projection mapped with imagery effected by their neural function. Their brain function is also visualised and projected onto a large media surface at the rear of the stage. The dancer’s neural function also controls a vibrating vest that they are wearing and it effects the release of aromatic and gustatory (taste-based) stimuli.
When the dancer hears and sees the audio-visuals, and when they feel, taste and smell the sensory stimuli that is triggered from their neural function, this has an impact on their brain, and this impact then stimulates new brain function that, in-turn, changes the audio, visuals, aromas, gustatory and haptic effects. Therefore, a cyclical feedback loop is created between the human body and a real-time reactive multi-sensory environment.
Radio Interview with Betty Sargeant
Justin Dwyer ~ Artist (projection mapping), programmer, live drummer
Dr Betty Sargeant ~ Artist, performer, producer
Andrew Ogburn ~ Composer
Penny Baron ~ Director and Choreographer
Dr Kate Hunter ~ Assistant Director
Thanks to Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller and the Exertion Games Lab, Monash University, Australia.
PluginHUMAN is a multi-award-winning art duo led by Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer. PluginHUMAN are at the progressive edge of their field, providing audiences with new cultural, environmental and scientific perspectives. Their artworks address the leading questions and concerns of our times.
PluginHUMAN’s work centres around the art of illumination. They create projection mapping, video artworks and led immersive multi-sensory environments. They use the medium of light to translate complex data into meaningful audience experiences.
PluginHUMAN has created commissioned artworks for institutions such as the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea), Questacon (Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre), the Melbourne Museum (White Night Festival, Australia) and Experimenta (Australian triennial touring media art exhibition). They have exhibited in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. PluginHUMAN were awarded the Rupert Bunny Foundation Visual Art Fellowship (2019/20); they’re developing new carbon neutral and carbon negative materials and working methods. They have also won Good Design Awards (2020 and 2018), and a Victorian Premier’s Design Award (2017).
PluginHUMAN has an acute understanding of the role that technology plays in contemporary society. They reimagine new technologies to produce artistic innovations, creating meaningful large and small scale audience experiences for indoor spaces and outdoor public arenas.