Mind Moves Matter: Cerebral Hut in Vienna

A kinetic installation that moves in response to the thoughts of the visitor.

If you've ever wanted to move things with your mind like Magneto or dreamt of walls that look like the inside of a beating heart, your wishes have been granted. The answer is called Cerebral Hut, a kinetic installation that moves in response to the thoughts of the viewer.  

Cerebral Hut resembles an out-of-this-world cave, with an interface that measures brain frequencies and turns them into a reactive environment.  Created by Guvenç Ozel in collaboration with designer Alexandr Karaivanov and media artists Jona Hoier and Peter Innerhofer, the piece uses a commercially available device to measure concentration and blinking, and then runs scripts on them that are communicated to the physical space.  If the viewer comes in with a normal state of mind, the Hut is relatively calm; if the viewer begins to concentrate, for example on thoughts of motion, the Hut moves more and more frenetically, undulating like a moving wave.  The result, in Ozel's words, "is the first of its kind in the world where architecture reconfigures itself physically with thoughts."

CEREBRAL HUT from Guvenc Ozel on Vimeo.

Originally presented in the Musibet half of the Istanbul Design Biennial and then displayed at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Cerebral Hut moves to the University of Applied Arts on Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz 2 in Vienna next Tuesday, May 7th. The challenge Ozel and his colleagues have taken on in this endeavor is the assumption that the built environment influences our psyche. The Hut then explores whether we can reverse that relationship.

Traveling ultimately towards the creation of form without form, the big question they ask is "What if architecture could transform itself based on our needs and emotions?" Something delightful about that question is that the means towards this kind of architectural transformation is the power of the human mind, just as the power of the human body generates the momentum of a bicycle, our mind too can propel us forward. It's a thrilling idea to consider, all the more so because our understanding of the mind's great reach, like Ozel's noble exploration, is only in its infancy.

Photos courtesy of Guvenc Ozel.