exhibition, 301 Gallery, 2019
An exploration of art and authorship in an age of automation.

Automatic is an exploration of the evolving role of technology as tool, medium, and active collaborator in artistic practice. Designed and developed by myself and Andrew Sliwinski, this collection of work centers around a series of drawings produced by an Automatic Drawing Machine (ADM). 

Inspired by Surrealist Automatism in which the artist suppresses conscious control over the drawing process - allowing the unconscious mind to guide mark making - our ADM transforms electrical activity in a wearer’s brain into a series of graphic marks. The drawings in this collection of work were produced while eight different artists engaged in a range of practices including painting, drawing, writing, woodworking, and computer programming; forming a type of call and response between each artist and the technology.

The ADM system works by utilizing a non-invasive brain sensing technology called Electroencephalography (EEG), as well as custom software built to transform raw brain activity into a graphic representation. For this exhibition at the 301 Gallery in Beverly, MA, these graphic representations of various artists’ brain activity were transferred from screen onto paper using a computer-controlled plotter and a ballpoint pen.

The ADM helmet with EEG sensors, 3D printed and assembled using Open BCI components.

ADM helmet detail.

Student using the ADM while painting.

Student using the ADM while letterpress printing; on screen is the corresponding drawing being made using the artist’s EEG data.

Left: An artist drawing. Right: a visualization of their corresponding EEG data.

Left: Artist’s finished drawing. Right: Corresponding ADM drawing.

Left: Video documentation of an artist wearing the ADM helmet while woodworking. Right: the artist’s ADM drawing happening simultaneously (no audio).

Audio / video doumentation of an artist playing a banjo in a duet while wearing the ADM helmet.

A selection of ADM-generated drawings, made using  participating artists’ EEG data processed through custom software.
ADM drawing detail.

An ADM drawing being plotted.

Exhibition view.

Exhibition view.

Exhibition view.

Exhibition view with live projection from the ADM.
Exhibition view.
Exhibition view; tabletop audio / video on iPads.

Exhibition view; process work and statement.

Exhibition view.