The Room of Desires (1996)

RoomOfDesires_detail2.AVIGNON Francie 2000 The visitor enters a darkened cabin, sits down in an armchair and is wired to the brain/heart interface, while on the wall in front of him/her sequences of moving images begin to evolve which emerge and metamorphose depending on the biofeedback. The signals from biosensors located on the body surface influence the image and sound in this private movie house, continuously reacting to the physical and psychical (non-standard) condition of its visitors. The information about heart and brain activity is activated by the computer connected to a videodiscs player which chooses video-sequences according to a predefined key. The viewers thus make the compositions of image sequences depending on their own recorded heart and brain activity and thus create each time a unique imagery, a personal irrepeatable movie.

The visitors “choose” the individual image sequences (totality includes 760 sequences ranging from 0.18 to 15 seconds) of various emotional intensity graded from the resting state till the state of extreme emotional incitement (excitement?). They can move from a landscape of corn fields accompanied with calm sounds up to a disturbing imagery full of violence. The installation investigates the possibility of creative usage of the nerve impulses which are transformed into digital impulses influencing film and sound material. In the case of biological feedback, the relation between viewer and the work is interiorized and partly shifted towards an unconsciousness level. Hearth and brain become the interface and the installation examines the possibilities of constructing imagery literally through our own body, at the boundary between the programmed and accidental. It is as if the movie in this case penetrated right into the heads of its viewers, in a complex way reflecting their psychical /psychological and physical condition: “the live being transforms the medium at the same time as the medium transforms the live being,” writes Louis Bec and it continues that The Room of Desires “is endowed with all the conditions that characterize emotional programming.”

(Louis Bec, Hardware, Software, Artware. Confluence of Art and Technology. Art Practice at the ZKM Institute for Visual Media 1992-1997, pgs 130-133)

Concept and realization:

Pavel Smetana


The author of “electro-acoustic fractal music” is Slovak composer Alexander Mihalic. Musical sequences are compiled in relation to that image ones (?) and consist of series of recordings or accords, noises and special sound effects. These are organized into “families,” while each “family” includes individual sequences of variations on a single theme or sequences of particular recordings. Musical sequences can be replayed one after another or together to create polyphony.

Technical equipment:


2 Apple Macintosh Power PCs

· Video projector, digital video mixer

· 4 MIDI-interfaces

· 2 video disc players

Apple Macintosh Quadra

· MIDI tone generator

· 16-channel audio mixing desk

· amplifier, 2 loudspeakers

· WaveRider interface brain/heart and sensors

· armchair


· Opcode MAX, MAX-Patches, Sound Designer


La Mazarine. September 1999. (computer schema + visualization)

Libération. Vendredi 14 Mai, 1999. „Effractions intimes“ (Annick Rivoire).

L’Est Républicain, Samedi 17 Mai, 1997. „Aux confins de la quatrième dimension“ (D.C.)

Outlook (Indie), February 16, 1998. „In the Room of Desires“. /Pritha Sen/

Financial Times, February 14-15, 1998. „My fantasie for all to see“ (Amy Kazmin).

PT Multimedia. Centro Cultural de Belém. Cyber 99. (o The Mirror a The Room of Desires).

Apollonia. Échanges artistiques européenes. Lanterne magique. The Room of Desires.

„Un printemps d’artistes Ars multimedia“. Metz 1996. (p. 17)

surrogate – exhibition catalogue.


schema of installation
Videoeffects piloted by brainwaves
La Mazarine - katalog
Room Of Desires_detail1.AVIGNON Francie 2000
RoomOfDesires_detail2.AVIGNON Francie 2000
RoomOfDesires_detail3.AVIGNON Francie 2000
RoomOfDesires_front - .AVIGNON Francie 2000

[ 23537 ]

[ Login ]

©2007 Pavel Smetana. All rights reserved.