Thoughts on a Digital Sound Project

I would like to find a way to record what the brain sounds like when someone is meditating. I think that many regions of our conscious are unexplored and that meditation is a way to travel into our own minds and get to know ourselves better. Brain activity is electrical activity, which can be measured – for example with EEG. As we learned from Lawrence English [1], electronic activity produces sound which is undetectable for human ears. On a scientific level, meditation changes the brain waves and alters brain activity, which can then be measured.

Josef Parvizi and Chris Chafe developed a brain stethoscope, a device that turns brainwaves into music and which can also be used to research epilepsy [2]. The device uses EEG electrodes and an algorithms that turns the brain activity into a singing voice, which makes distinct sounds during an epileptic seizure.

I would like to use this technology to listen to a meditating brain and see how the audio output changes. This could go together with a video installation that interprets what is going in the brain of a meditating person visually. I would need to hire a computer scientist to write an algorithm that turns the sound into visuals with different colors and shapes. Visitors of the exhibition could connect themselves to the EEG and listen to a short guided meditation on headphones while other visitors can hear and see what their meditation sounds and looks like. The room should be completely dark and the visuals projected onto all 5 walls and the floor, while the sound comes from speakers throughout the room to produce a feeling of being “inside” the brain of the person who is meditating

With this installation, I would like people to draw their attention towards themselves and listen into their bodies. Most things we experience in life are directed outwards and away from us and I think art can and should bring out attention back to ourselves and our place in the world.


[1] We Can See Someone Looking, But Can We Hear Someone Listening? | Lawrence English | TEDxSydneySalon. 2016. TEDx Talks Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA9hkqFbx1k> [Accessed 7 Mar. 2019].

[2] Austen, K., 2019. We turn brainwaves into sound for music and medicine. [online] New Scientist. Available at: <https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229640-800-we-turn-brainwaves-into-sound-for-music-and-medicine/> [Accessed 7 Mar. 2019].