Dezeen Magazine

Audiovisual installation translates emotions into beams of light

Studio Nick Verstand has created an immersive audiovisual installation that reinterprets people's emotions as pulsing light compositions. 

During this year's Dutch Design Week, visitors to the Aura installation were equipped with multiple biosensors that register brainwaves, heart-rate variability, and galvanic skin response.

As they sat or laid down on cushions on the floor, a musical composition played out in the background, triggering emotional responses.

The visitors' emotional "data" was then analysed and metamorphosed into different forms, colours and intensities of light that were beamed down onto them from above.

Surrounding the visitors like a curtain, the light made each person's emotional responses visible to others.

Artist Nick Verstand, who is known for creating large-scale immersive art installations, developed the scientific system in collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research.

His intention was to further explore light as a medium  – an idea that was pioneered by artists such as James Turrell, Anthony McCall and Olafur Eliasson.

"Aura is an audiovisual installation that materialises emotions into a perceptible, physical form," he explained.

"It explores how this perceptual process influences the understanding of ourselves and of each other. The installation symbolises the materialisation of internal metaphysical space into external physical space," he continued.

Aura was showcased during last month's Dutch Design Week, from 21 to 29 October 2017 in Eindhoven, as part of an exhibition called We Know How You Feel.

Curated by VPRO Medialab, the exhibition explored how wearable technology can play a role in making and consuming of media.

Other installations at Dutch Design Week included a motor-operated needle that scratched away at a block of carbon every time someone posted a suicidal tweet, and a thermochromic tapestry that changes colour in response to Wi-Fi signals.

Photography is by Hanneke Wetzers and Noortje Knulst.

Project credits:

Custom laser software: Naivi
Music: Salvador Breed

More images