BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN BRAIN AND MACHINE: NEW CHALLENGE FOR ART AND SCIENCE

9 04 2009

CIANT LAB researchers proposed to organize a session at Science beyond Fiction: The Euroepan Future Technologies Conference (FET09) with a title “Bridging the Gap between Brain and Machine: New Challenge for Art and Science”. The session was evaluated and accepted by the programme committee into the official conference programme. Moreover, it will also be brought to general public on April 22, 2009, at DOX, starting at 5 PM.

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The session will address explorations and aspirations of hard-core researchers beside the ones of artists in the field of brain-machine interfaces. Recently, neuroscientists have significantly advanced brain-machine interface (BMI) technology to the point where severely disabled people who cannot contract even one leg or arm muscle now can independently compose and send e-mails and operate a TV in their homes. They are using only their thoughts to execute these actions. Thanks to the rapid pace of research on the BMI, one day, individuals may be able to feed themselves with a robotic arm and hand that moves according to their mental commands. The potential of bringing practical behavioural acts to more people is growing. What is the current state-of-the-art of research and creative exploration of the BMI technology? What are the emerging and future visions of controlling machines with brains and brains with machines? We propose to deal specifically with the future of neuroprosthetics in terms of coupling brain recording and stimulation, with signal-recording methods, with multiple regions of the cortex for driving cognitive functions well beyond movement, as well as with significance of learning and creative processes in using different external brain-controlled devices. The session will bring together researchers and artists to challenge current concepts and formulate new visions for neural interface technology. The goal is to link theory and practice in science and art while enabling different disciplines to engage in an open dialogue. The session will include interactive both scientific and artistic demonstrations and will aim to stimulate further discussion. Aside a strong interdisciplinary character of the session itself the main intention is to engage visionary scientists in a dialogue with innovators from the creative and cultural industries, including computer games and interactive arts. The objective is to exemplify scientific and technological advances of the BMI technology and at the same time to deal with a more general interest in it of citizens and entrepreneurs. “The future gets closer every day…”

Speakers:

Olga Jafarova – Head of Biofeedback Computer Systems Laboratory, Research Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia

Janez Janša – Co-founder and director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Alexander Ya. Kaplan – Head of Human Brain Research Group, Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Biology, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Anders Sandberg – James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and research associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford, United Kingdom

Reinhold Scherer – Technical manager of the Institute for Neurological Rehabilitation and Research affiliated with the rehabilitation center Judendorf-Straßengel, Austria, and former research associate at the Department of Applied Neuropsychology, Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria

Pavel Smetana – Director of CIANT, former professor of virtual reality at the Arts Academy in Aix-en-Provence

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SCIENCE BEYOND FICTION:

THE EUROPEAN FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES CONFERENCE

April 21-23, 2009, Clarion Congress Hotel

ENTER festival is scheduled to run in parallel and partnership with Science beyond Fiction: The European Future Technologies Conference (FET09) that is a new European forum organized by the European Commission dedicated to frontier research in future and emerging information technologies. Leading scientists, policy-makers, industry representatives and science journalists will convene over 3 days to discuss today’s frontier science, tomorrow’s technologies and the impact of both on tomorrow’s society.

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Selected keynote speakers:

Albert-László Barabási, Northeastern University, Boston, USA. Barabási is a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research. Barabási is the author of “Linked: The New Science of Networks”, the co-author of “Fractal Concepts in Surface Growth” (Cambridge, 1995), and the co-editor of “The Structure and Dynamics of Networks” (Princeton, 2005). His work leads to the discovery of scale-free networks in 1999, and proposed the Barabasi-Albert model to explain their widespread emergence in natural, technological and social systems, from the cellular telephone to the WWW or online communities. Barabási is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2005 he was awarded the FEBS Anniversary Prize for Systems Biology and in 2006 the John von Neumann Medal by the John von Neumann Computer Society from Hungary, for outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology.

H. Henrik Ehrsson, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Ehrsson is a medical doctor and neuroscientist by training (M.D., Ph.D.) He worked as a research scientist at University College London and he is now a senior lecturer and research group leader at the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Ehrsson has published over 30 articles on how we perceive our own bodies and how we control our bodily movements. His current research addresses the fundamental questions of how we recognize that our limbs are part of our own body, and why we feel that one’s self is located inside the body. Erhsson’s labs’ main goal is “to identify the multisensory mechanisms whereby the central nervous system distinguishes between sensory signals from one’s body and from the environment. The long term goal is to develop a physiology-based model of the central representation of one’s body”.

Henry Markram, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Previously working at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the NIH, UCSF, and the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg (Germany), Henry Markram is the founder of the Brain Mind Institute (BMI) at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and director of the Blue Brain Project. Among other major scientific results, Markram discovered the three fundamental principles of synaptic learning in the brain: The first is called Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity (STDP) where the relevance of each of the 10′ of thousands of inputs to neurons is judged with millisecond water-shed precision – and rewarded or punished accordingly. The second is called Redistribution of Synaptic Efficacy (RSE) where the content of information transfered by each synapse in the brain is tuned to allow neurons to extract the correct information from their neighbors. The third is called Long-Term Microcircuit Plasticity (LTMP) where the brain rewires itself in response to an experience so that the circuitry is better structured to absorb and store new information.

Ehud Shapiro, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Shapiro founded and served as the CEO of Ubique Ltd., an internet software pioneer. Building on “Concurrent Prolog”, a project aimed at developing a high-level programming language for parallel and distributed computer systems, he developed “Virtual Places,” a precursor to today’s widely-used Instant Messaging systems. Currently, Shapiro is leading research projects at the interface of computer science and molecular biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he attempts to build a computer from biological molecules; a computer that would operate inside the living body, programmed with medical knowledge to diagnose diseases and produce the requisite drugs. In other projects, he designed an effective method of synthesizing error-free DNA molecules from error-prone building blocks and developed a biological model that may explain the root cause of genetic disorders such as Huntington disease. He has also developed a method for tracing the “genealogy” of cells in the human body, an approach that is being used to investigate fundamental questions in biology and medicine, recently providing the most conclusive evidence to date that cancer originates from a single cell of a mature organism. For this work Shapiro received the 2004 World Technology Network Award in Biotechnology and was a member of the 2004 “Scientific American 50” as Research Leader in Nanotechnology.

Anton Zeilinger, University of Vienna, Austria. Zeilinger is internationally recognized as a scientific leader in the foundations of quantum mechanics and as one of the founders of the field of quantum information science. With entangled photons, the main focuses of Anton Zeilinger’s research since 2000 were all-optical quantum computation, the development of entanglement-based quantum cryptography systems, and experiments with entangled photon pairs over very large distances. In 2005, Zeilinger with his group again started a new field, the quantum physics of mechanical cantilevers. They were the first to demonstrate experimentally the self-cooling of a micro-mirror by radiation pressure, that is, without feedback. Anton Zeilinger’s international awards include the King Faisal Prize of Science and the Newton Medal of the Institute of Physics.





I REMEMBER… BY IVAN CHABANAUD

9 04 2009

“Emotions as a driver for memory.”

To combine snapshots and qualitative aspects of an emotion it is necessary to appeal to the memory that comes form the corpus of emotion. And it seems reasonable to think that emotions are themselves the source of content memorial. In tribute to the writer G. Perec, dispersion in the sphere of digital memories, the installation is close to the sound poetry, questioning values appropriate to the memory. Memory loss and foremost, a combination that calls to dispel memories performance to a conversion of emotions and mental states. The elements of this situation weave a link between the world of words and the digital. The beginning of scouring sentence encapsulates the memory for distribution in a sieve that made it comes out, an operation that will accentuate the disappearance. The object: interior monologue, it is declaims by a voice synthesis “manipulated” by the actor. A series of physiological sensors are placed on the body of the actor, his breathing, movements of an eye, his heartbeat and muscle of his jaw are connected to a machine “interpreter of emotions” To achieve the words, their tone, these emotions just provide a phrase generator information on how prosody. Prepared on a simple plan, one seat is placed on the left; the actor is sitting above or next. A screen arranged diagonally slightly illuminates the scene of slow decomposition of images. In the few memories 479 set by the bionic brain, the actor silent focuses on emotions that shipment. The sound is distributed through 5 speakers arranged within the scene. The sound must make think the public that he is in the mental universe of the actor. The system involves the performer in complicity with the different levels of analysis. The management and treatment of loops, samples of G.Perec “I remember…” enable it to adjust sound layers. Tools: PureData, labview, python, panda3d, blender, java. Several modules can be constituted interpretative for purposes of exploration. The analyze filters are the major remaining issue.

The installation / workshop offers an opportunity for visitors to compare their own approach to the analysis of physiological data.

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Ivan Chabanaud makes studies in Paris in “Beaux Arts” and “Metiers d’Arts” and begins is work with the classical painting stuff. Around the 1992 year his first approach of numerical work start with video computed “Hero Logo” about the mythological trip of Ulysse. Further he makes computed animation on the Marcel Duchamps “Etant Donnés” work. After this, real-time appear more essential on his work, trough virtual reality immersion and network streaming. Like Icare installation (virtual immersion) and Selfworld (numeric motel). He has been working during a time in the CICV structure in Montbeliard and the last years on stage for choreographic projects. He develops experimentations on 2008 with the R.A.N (Réseau Art Numérique) with physiological sensors.





PSYCHOTIK ROOM BY DARDEX–MORT2FAIM COLLECTIVE

9 04 2009

Psychotik Room is an interactive installation in which the viewer is immersed in a psychiatric isolation room with 3D glasses. By dint of infrared sensors and heartbeats sensor, the 3D environment and sound are modified in real time. This installation questions relationship between new media‘s immersion and social isolation of the individual. Thus underlining the frailty of human body confronted with today’s world, in a sterile hospital universe, out of reality, referring to the horror film’s aesthetic. This installation offers to the viewer a moment of deep closeness and meditation, in a 3D universe modified under corporal pressures that may cause claustrophobia feelings.

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The Dardex-Mort2Faim Collective gathers several artists, Quentin Destieu, Romain Senatore, Sylvain Huguet, and Stephane Kyles, who graduated from the Ecole Supérieure d’Art in Aix en Provence and some of them became laureates of Pépinières Européennes for young artists. They are activists as well as performers and first of all they engaged in an exploration of the notion of play, reprocessing popular aesthetics and underground culture, thus underlining the frailty of social relationships and the human body confronted with today’s world. Since they appreciate the video game “8 bits” universe and the computer and networks revolution, they express themselves by means of several techniques: video, sound, graphic arts, design, laser and the web in installations and happenings using interactivity and games. They collaborate with the International Centre for Art and New Technologies in Prague (CIANT), the Emergences festival in Paris, the Eniarof experimental fun fair and the M2F Creations Association in Aix en Provence. They have also presented their works on a regular basis since 2003 in various exhibitions and festivals in France and abroad. http://dardex-mort2faim.blogspot.com

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BRAINLOOP BY JANEZ JANŠA & COL.

9 04 2009

BRAINLOOP is an interactive performance (presented in Prague in a documentary form) that utilizes a BCI system allowing a subject to operate devices merely by imagining specific motor commands. These mentally visualized commands may be seen as the rehearsal of a motor act without the overt motor output; a neural synapse occurs but the actual movement is blocked at the corticospinal level. Motor imagery becomes non-muscular communication and control signals that convey messages and commands to the external world. The performer is able – without physically moving – to investigate urban areas and rural landscapes as he globe-trots around virtual Google Earth. Through motor imagery, he selects locations, camera angles and positions and records these image sequences in a virtual world. In the second half of the performance, he plays back the sequence and uses BRAINLOOP to compose a custom soundtrack by selecting, manipulating and re-locating audio recordings in real time into the physical space. http://www.aksioma.org/brainloop/index.html

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Credits: Author: Janez Janša, BCI performer: Markus Rapp, BCI supervisor: Reinhold Scherer, Programmer: Suncica Hermansson, PD programmer: Seppo Gründler, Sound designers: Brane Zorman and Seppo Gründler, Executive producer: Marcela Okretic, Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, Co-production: VisionSpace, Department of Information Design, FH Joanneum, University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria, Institute for Knowledge Discovery, Laboratory of Brain-Computer, Interfaces, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana. Courtesy: BEEP/Data Logic.

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Janez Janša is a conceptual artist, performer and producer graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Milan, Italy. His work has a strong social connotation and is characterized by an inter-media approach. He is co-founder and director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana. His first public artistic project was the urban installation “I Need Money to Be an Artist”, which was presented first in Ljubljana, Slovenia (1996) and then in Venice, Italy. Between 2004-2007 he leaded the project “Brainloop”, an interactive performance platform which allows a subject to navigate a virtual space merely by imagining specific motor commands. Janez Janša is co-editor with Ivana Ivković of the textual and pictorial reader “DemoKino – Virtual Biopolitical Agora” published by Maska and Aksioma in 2005, of the book “NAME – Readymade” published by Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana in 2008, and of “RE:akt! – Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-reporting” in 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janez_Janša,_performer

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