This is your brain on music


What do we see when we listen to music? And could it be possible to let others share your visions? In 2019, Sónar presents two A/V shows directly concerned with the relationship between sound and the brain’s visual cortex, resulting in groundbreaking live performances that unite the fields of science, art and music.

The Japanese digital artist, coder, DJ and musician Daito Manabe has always taken the idea of “Electronic Body Music” further than most - whether through attaching electrodes to his face in his Face Twitch series, or through his explorations of dance and robotics with Phosphere (commissioned for Sónar 2017). For his new show, “dissonant imaginary” this relationship is taken even further, going inside the brain and employing a powerful ai algorithm to decode what it is we see when we listen to, and create, music.

The show, which will be performed at SonarComplex, sees Manabe team up with Kyoto Universities’ Dr. Yukiyasi Kamitani - a groundbreaking researcher into brain imagery - to interpret and project the images produced in Manabe’s brain during the performance in real time, using an MRI scanner and Kamitani Labs own AI based software. The result is a fascinating insight into just what happens inside our minds when we play, listen or create.

This central idea iis also the jumping off point for the show by Istanbul digital design studio Ouchhh and Barcelona’s avant-psyche-jazz-rock-electro duo Za!. Taking a more conceptual approach, and based on the “superstring” theory of physics, the collaboration plays on the idea of ‘vibrations’ to present a beguiling live projection of the band members’ brainwaves as they perform, projected, mapped and manipulated on screen by the pioneering Turkish studio  

Two shows that further erase the line between the human and the computer, harnessing the power of science to create art. This is your brain on music at Sónar 2019.