For one day only, an installation which is a work-in-progress will be open to you and other members of the public to try out your mind control skills. If successful, you will find yourself swept off your feet, and into the air, rising to a height of some thirty feet as you work to keep your brain quiet and transcendent. Get distracted by all the stimuli or your own thoughts, and you quickly find yourself back down on earth.
What a concept. The paradox is that in order to succeed, you need to release your desire for achievement, and contend with what might be the biggest obstacle: yourself. For more information on The Ascent visit: xxxyprojects.com
Details: Although the creators of this hybrid installation/ride who use a playful blend of
theatrics, interactive gaming and mind control to achieve their results, it will be open for the public to try out on only one day: Thursday, May 12th at EMPAC (corner of 8th St. and College Ave. in Troy, NY). This “ride” is free and open to the public from 10am-5pm with demonstration/talk back at 7:30pm. EMPAC is the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer.
It is difficult to categorize “The Ascent,” but basically it is an interactive installation/ride created by xxxy and artist Yehuda Duenyas, Theater Director, NTUSA.
It mashes up a playful blend of theatrics, gaming and mind control, It could be called a live theatrical ride experience created for anyone to try on May 12.If you decide to give it a whirl, you and other individual riders will be asked to wear an EEG headset, which reads brainwaves, along with a waist harness, and by marshaling your calm, focus, and concentration, try to levitate yourself thirty feet into the air as a small audience watches from below. The experience is full of obstacles-as a rider ascends via the power of concentration, sound and light also respond to brain activity, creating a storm of stimuli that conspires to distract the rider from achieving the goal: levitating into “transcendence.” When successful you will find yourself levitating in as close to a blissful state as is humanly possible. If you are unable to achieve the quiet state you could find yourself earthbound, and it will be someone else’s turn.
The Creative director for the project is xxxy with lighting design by Ben Kato, sound design by Jody Elff. Programming and control systems: Michael Todd. Produced in conjunction with EMPAC and the Rensselaer Department of the Arts.
In the video below is the group’s first functional test of live mind-controlled rigging. The rider is controlling her ascent via the use of an EEG reader. The EEG communicates with the custom software, the Infinity System, which in turn communicates with the StageTech rigging console over OSC. Sound and lights are controlled via MAX/MSP and MIDI show control.
xxxy is artist Yehuda Duenyas. He creates venues, events, productions, and systems that reenvision how audiences engage with live experience. His work has been presented nationally and internationally, and with an extensive background as a theater artist and director, he has custom-built numerous venues around New York City and abroad, including a jewel-box theater in a downtown storefront, an indoor amusement- park-style ride in a Brooklyn warehouse, and a scale model of an early 20th-century vaudeville theater in the basement of a deserted deli off Times Square.
He is currently conducting research in Electronic Arts at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he is developing a new body of interactive performance systems that fuse playful tropes of theater with experimental gaming, simulation, engineering, and cognitive science.
He is a founding member and co-artistic director of the multi-award-winning theater collaborative the National Theater of the United States of America.
What does it feel like?
The experience is quite thrilling and mythic. It can be somewhat disquieting as well—for one thing, thirty feet is pretty high. There’s a lot of stimulus to overcome during the ride, which makes it a struggle. However, once you center yourself and it begins to flow, it is really exhilarating—but if you become wrapped up in the exhilaration, it disappears. It’s both a subtle and oblique experience. It actually does feel like what you imagine from your dreams. It’s like some mythic extension of your body, and when you come down you feel like you really went somewhere else, somewhere other.
For more information on The Ascent visit: xxxyprojects.com