Entangled (Elaine's Brain)

October 14th, 2012

Entangled (Elaine's Brain) - Interactive Audiovisual Sculpture


Entangled(Elaine's Brain) is a hanging interactive audiovisual sculpture. It looks like a dendrite/neuron/unfolded protein as illustrated in the graphic image below. In Alzheimer's patients, one of the underlying biochemical indicators is the presence of the Tau protein. The Tau protein is intriguing due to its "natively unfolded" structure, and contributes to neuronal "tangling" in dementia patients.
Every protein has a unique amino-acid sequence. I have used the amino-acid sequence of the Tau protein as the basis for the design of the wiring harness, and for the audio-visual patterns displayed by the work. In its "default mode" the sound/light sequence unfolds unfettered, progressively entangling the affected area. When interaction occurs by someone coming into proximity, the "neuron" gets confused, shifting into unpredictable patterns.

It is interesting to me that as we take more and more of our cultural memory on-line, collectively shared and disseminated, our pre-digital memories, shared in the form of human recollection and story, run the risk of being lost. That fragile relationship between biology and memory, history and technology is the impetus for the work. On a personal note, my mother, Elaine, passed away in 2012 due to complications from Alzheimer's.

Technically the work is composed of a series of LED's that flash according to a preset sequence derived from the Tau protein as described above, and illustrated in the graphic below. This is combined with sound sythesis based on the Mozzi library, and generates sound in realtime based on the interactions of gallery visitors as captured by an ultrasonic proximity sensor.