Reveal! is staged as a media installation with a flat screen, headphones and a biofeedback interface (breathing, heartbeat and skin conductance) to measure the visitor’s affective response to the presented audiovisual stimuli. The visitor in turn alters the parameters of image and sound, which are connected to the biofeedback signal in real-time, closing the bidirectional feedback-loop: The installation influences the visitor and vice versa.

The work explores the romantic longing in Western culture for mystical foreign cultures and the inspiring strength of nature, evoking questions about the meaning of life. The emblematic video sequences are sinister and mysterious and do not resemble an invitation to paradise, as pictures in travel magazines do and illustrate the fear of self-delusion. The mission of interaction also represents the difficult access to paradise: The hidden images need to be unveiled. In order to be able to recognize the content of the scenes the visitor needs to engage with the piece of art and relax (regular biofeedback values).

The visitor can enter a non-linear narrative, composed of 5 video scenes. The hidden scenes first appear as aesthetic real-time biofeedback data visualizations, resembling macro- or microstructures found in galaxies or molecular and organic structures. At this stage the context of the video scenes is not yet recognizable, but the abstract 3D vector spaces are based on the video’s pixel parameters like colour, saturation, contrast, brightness, transparency or position. Once the visitor relaxes, the 3D vector space slowly converges into the underlying pixel image. Colour dots, lines and shapes animated by biofeedback impulses slowly become image content created by appropriate assignment of pixel parameters and composition.

Equally to the image conversion the elements and parameters of sound influenced by biofeedback signals have to be composed to become the natural sound track of the video sequence. At the moment of complete revelation of the video scene a child’s voice unexpectedly whispers from an imaginary space directly into the visitor’s ear. The child’s voice stands for naive longing, but also represents the moment of enlightenment and the companionship of a divine or possibly evil medium. The somehow spooky voice is also meant to irritate the visitor at the moment of complete relaxation.

For more pictures and downloads in print resolution click here!


Jan Torpus: script, video, production and biofeedback interface

José Navarro: audiovisual design and programming

Renato Grob: installation development