Music of the Hemispheres: A Live Music, Film & Science Event
Issue Project Room at the Old American Can Factory (232 3rd St., 3rd Fl., Brooklyn)

A multi-sensory film + art + science extravaganza, the idea for which originates in the work of neuro-philosopher Dan Lloyd, whose research focuses on taking patterns found in brain activity and converting them into musical scores. These scores are not biofeedback or music cognition experiments, but rather, they extract the “architecture of consciousness,” as it occurs in the brain, and assign its varying components musical tones. The result is musical scores meant to reflect brain activity itself. Through this, Lloyd found that recognizable musical structures emerge, and he thus formulated a theory that consciousness operates within a musical structure—or rather, that music is an expressive interpretation of how our brains work.

Aaron Einbond is a composer and music theorist whose work centers on the exploration of timbre space. He has developed a beautiful and provocative compositional method of transcribing naturally occurring sound environments, such as a rainstorm, café, or covered passageway, and creating musical transcriptions for live instrumentation intended to place the listener in the midst of a virtual space of sound simulating an immersion in timbre space. What if the space simulated were not of a passageway or rainfall, but rather the human mind?

Thus, a unique and musical fMRI experiment has been formulated through a collaboration between Lloyd, Einbond, neuroscientist Zoran Josipovic, and filmmaker Elisa Da Prato, wherein a subject was prompted to imagine and listen to the very same sound samples used in Einbond’s technique. Sound artist Maria Chavez has offered herself as subject, and mind as instrument through which Lloyd will present a piece of Brain Music representative of her cognitive experience. This to be followed by live performance by piano and percussion quartet Yarn/Wire, who will perform two pieces: Einbond’s Passagework, created with the aforementioned technique, and a new interpretation of bio-music pioneer Alvin Lucier’s Memory Space, a score instructing performers to improvise while listening to recordings of outside spaces.

The evening will open with a short film, directed by Elisa Da Prato, who initiated the event and is currently working on a feature-length film examining Dan Lloyd’s Mind As Music theory. The short film will break down the various compositional techniques employed, the documentation of Chavez’s brain scans, and the premise of Lloyd’s theory.

Da Prato states her goal is to create a seamless submersion into a rabbit hole of different layers of cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, compositional process, and musical experience—to experience the transmission of the same source material through the various mediums of notated composition, improvisation, and the human mind and dually the transubstantiation of person into music.

The Evening’s Schedule:

Short Film by Elisa Da Prato, surveying the players, and theories.
Dan Lloyd’s presentation of subject Maria Chavez’s “Brain Music.”
Yarn/Wire performance of
Passagework by composer Aaron Einbond for two prepared pianos and two percussionists.
Yarn/Wire and Aaron Einbond on live electronics to perform Alvin Lucier’s
Memory Space.
Q&A with panel mediated by filmmaker Elisa Da Prato: philosopher Dan Lloyd, neuroscientist Zoran Josipovic, composer Aaron Einbond, subject Maria Chavez.