Share this article

Visualise Your Brainwaves

Most of the world must be Pink Floyd fans seeing how they’ve been tantalising our ears for the best part of sixty years, but now we can see how much they tantalise our brains at Brainstorms: A Great Gig In The Sky, writes Michael Holland.

In a blend of music, art and the latest neuroscience and technology, visitors travel through different galleries, each featuring amazing sky-themed, 360° visuals of the brain’s response to music.

Most mesmerising was Murmuration where, to the music of Imogen Heap, who along with her young daughter took part in the initial brain data capture, you see their brainwaves visualised in a swooping murmuration of starlings. Sitting there I was calm, at peace and could have sat there all day just watching the birds swirling around the open skies.

Most realistic, perhaps, was the Aurora room that depicted the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in all their magnificent glory. I stood alone in the vast space and felt that I was out under the night sky; I even felt an arctic chill run through me as the heavens danced as if by magic but were actually created from the results of the Brainstorms’ brain data collection that took place last autumn where 125 individuals had their brain activity recorded while listening to the 1973 Pink Floyd classic, ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ from the highly celebrated album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’. The track, creation of Floyd’s Richard Wright whose daughter is connected to this event, was deemed the perfect piece for the largest data collection of its kind, made even more magical by the vocals of Clare Torry.

The most interesting gallery was Clouds and, with a VIP Ticket, involved much more than experiencing the sights and sounds. Here, the EEG readings of brain activity are showcased within the Frameless experience and reflect your excitement, interest, relaxation and stress felt whilst listening to a Pink Floyd track.

First I was led to a rather ambient, mood-lit space and told in a soothing voice by one of the neuroscientists what will be happening. There were three individual pyramid tents. I sat in front of one while an operative gave me earphones and fitted on a headset that would record my brain activity for five minutes while I listened to a track from The Dark Side of the Moon, which was Money in my case. Once the equipment was placed on my head I wheeled the chair backwards into the tent.

Soon I had closed my eyes and was transported away from the rest of the world as the music oozed over me. At some point the sounds ceased and I opened my eyes to find I was back with the living and the smiling assistant asked if I was okay.

I was very much okay; that five minutes of outer-body experience felt like an hour in a meditation float tank. I could only smile back and nod slowly as she said I should make my way to the Clouds gallery and seek out the Red Zone. ‘In a few minutes,’ she explained, ‘you’ll hear the track you just heard and what you’ll see is your brainwaves visualised into a cloud’. I left feeling bemused and lightheaded as well as on Cloud Nine, not really knowing what to expect.

As I entered I discovered walls of sound and cumulus clouds, mirrored floors and ceilings put you in the middle of the fluffiness; the Pink Floyd album was on a loop. I found the Red Zone and took a seat. Before long I recognised the intro to Money and as the first bars played the clouds took on even more life. They throbbed with light, they billowed and they thinned out before coming together again. My brainwaves were creating this effect; each different movement meant either excitement, interest or relaxation. I felt at one with nature and technology and art and music. I had seen the future of music-listening and I loved it.

After, in the refreshment area, I was able to get some feedback and information from the experts on hand there, which just made me want to have my brain activity captured every day and revealed as clouds and murmurations and Aurora Borealis.

8th June and other Friday and Saturday nights in June – From £30

VIP Experience including personal brain data capture and visualisation – From £45

Frameless, 6 Marble Arch, W1H 7AP.


Get the latest news for South London direct to your inbox once a week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Share this article