The Art Research Lab is an essential part of Pingo ergo sum. Within the lab, artists and computer scientists join forces in order to explore questions related to art, perception, and the nature of reality. More specifically, we will perform two kinds of activities: First, we develop enabling technologies in order to put new tools into the hands (and heads) of artists. One major goal is to increase the degree of freedom in Brain Painting, which so far is rather limited due to the limited communication bandwidth of the existing EEG-based BCIs. Second, we perform experiments, where visitors can become experimental subjects. Finally, artists will perform.
Two ideas guide the the development of new tools and the experiments: On the one hand, we aim at demonstrating that perception in general, and the reception of art in particular, is a skillful activity and not a passive download of sensory signals. On the other hand, we aim at demonstrating that creating art is mainly a mental process, as compared to a skillful activity such as using a physical brush.
Our motivation to perform research in the ARL in public as part of the Pingo ergo sum exhibition is that we believe in Social Science, i. e. the open sharing of ideas and the joint working on projects. Thus, we will publish the individual project descriptions and the progress reports as blog posts on this site, and we invite programmers, artists, and scientists abroad to join our virtual team and to contribute.
Another motivation is to demonstrate that science is a cultural activity, but not simply yet another social game. (Think of aerodynamics as yet another social phenomenon the next time you board an airplane.) Visitors of the exhibition can see scientists in action, but they can also ask “What are you doing?” and engage in discussions. In other words, we aim at redefining the relation between scientists and the general public similar to how Brecht redefined the role of the spectator in theater.