Brain Music!


Chris lives in Austin, TX, where he once shook Willie Nelson's hand.

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13 Responses

  1. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    feels more like a Monday than a Wednesday anyway

    Probably because it is Monday?Report

  2. I think part of the reason you found the music unsettling (as did I) is that, not only do you know that it arose from suffering, but the human-like quality of the sound makes it sound disturbingly like a person gibbering/ululating in a chaotic and frenzied manner.Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    I find it interesting that you refer to the person whose EEG scans are being transformed into music as “the artist.” “Art” to me involves a degree of volition on the part of the artist, an act of will motivating a communication of some nature. A person suffering a seizure has in no way chosen to seize. The person whose brain waves are thus translated strikes me as a “subject” rather than an artist:
    This woman, whose name is lost to the fog of history, was not the artist who created this famous painting; the painting is not a portrait of Johannes Vermeer.

    So I would say that the artist who created this music is Chris Chafe, not the anonymous patient. Now, I see your issue that the art here is indeed troublesome because it illustrates actual rather than depicted suffering. Prof. Chafe made quite a number of artistic choices in transforming the found information of the EEG scan into music. One of which was to say, “Yes, I know a patient was in distress when this was generated but I shall transform it into a different medium nonetheless.” If we evaluate it as art, instead of data, then that decision is part of how the art comes to us. And I’m not prepared to say that in this circumstance, this origin renders it so troublesome I feel impelled to turn away.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    I refuse to listen to this. I suspect it is similar to the evil computer code in Snow Crash — you know, that sting of ones and zeros that if you gazed upon reformatted and your brain and turned you into a mindless zombie.

    I am pretty sure listening to this will do the same to my own brain.Report

  5. Rod says:

    Tom: Hello, you’re on Brain Talk. What’s you’re name and where are you calling from?

    Caller: This is Kathy and I’m in Minnesota.

    Ray: Kathy with a K, or Cathy with a C?

    Caller: K.

    Ray: I knew it! All the Cathy’s with a C are from the west coast. How can we help you today?

    Caller: Well, I was just sitting at my desk today and I sort of locked up… spacing out, you might say. And then, next I remember is my boss asking me if I was all right.

    Tom: Has this happened before?

    Caller: Maybe a couple times when I was a kid.

    Ray: Sheesh… Did you notice any funny noises when this happened?

    Caller: Yes! It was something like this. (Caller makes a sort of whooping sound.)

    Tom: Sure it wasn’t like this? (Makes slightly higher pitched and faster whoop.)

    Caller: Yes! That’s it!

    Ray: Did it sound like it came from the front of your brain or more toward the back?

    Caller: More toward the front.

    Ray: What you describe sounds like a classic case of frontal cortex seizure.

    Caller: Sounds expensive.

    Tom: (Laughing) Ya got insurance? Cuz this is at least a couple boat payments.

    Ray: More like a couple boats.

    Caller: Is it dangerous?

    Ray: Well, you really need to take it into the shop and have it looked at, pronto.

    Caller: Really? The holidays are coming up. I was hoping to put it off for a while.

    Tom: No, you need to take care of this right away. It could be dangerous. What if it happened while you were driving?

    Ray: Or even just walking down the street. Wham! Right into a light pole.

    Caller: Okay. Thanks guys!

    Tom: Bye-bye, and thanks for calling Brain Talk.Report

  6. dhex says:

    oddly enough, for a seizure that didn’t really grab me.Report