Hendrick's House of Wonders
Consisting of a custom built vision tracking system and screen mounted to a mechanical armature, all built around a beautifully restored 1930's dentist chair, the Ocular Cocktail Creator was designed to provide a wildly theatrical way of prescribing cocktails to event guests. Very loosely based around a psychoanalytical technique called Guided Affective Imagery, participants were shown groups of carefully selected images (mountains, trees, streams, etc) with each group sharing a hidden emotional theme (aspirations, self-concept, narcissism, etc). Participants were instructed to let their eyes wander over the images, with the vision tracking system silently noting images with the longest dwell time. With each set of images relating to a particular emotional state, a "profile" would be assembled and given to the participant in the form of a tongue-in-cheek medical assessment, culminating in a printed percentage breakdown of the psyche along with a prescription for a cocktail designed to redress any imbalances within the Big Five personality trait categories.
Built in part on the exceptional Eyewriter project developed by members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab and The Ebeling Group communities.
A second piece commissioned for the same event series, the Power of the Mind used the very brainwaves of the participant as the method of interaction. Upon donning a headset the guest found their neural activity (consisting of alpha, beta, gamma and theta waves) mapped, wirelessly and in real time, to one of four antique glass beakers. When activated each beaker would flicker to life, the liquid inside bubbling, frothing and releasing delicate perfumes into the air. The participant would be encouraged to focus their attention as hard as they could, increasing alpha wave output and making one beaker stand out over the others. This stand out colour would then become the base of the prescribed cocktail.
Commissioned by Steely Fox on behalf of Hendrick's Gin, with technical direction from Devin Matthews.