Inside the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, students are busy gluing 64 wired electrodes to caps resembling the kind used for swimming. Wearing them are three Houston artists: Dario Robleto, Jo Ann Fleischhauer, and Lily Cox-Richard.
Once their caps are activated, they’ll work on art in front of an audience. On the opposite side of the room, a screen on the wall shows each of their brain activity in blots of blue and yellow.
It’s part of a study by engineering professor Jose “Pepe” Contreras Vidal. He’s tracking neural activity of people while they engage in creative activities.
“We hope to inform clinical neuroscience about how best to use art to treat neurological and mental disorders,” Contreras-Vidal says.
Fleischhauer will also be taking part in an 18-month study with Vidal, where she’ll wear a device while working on a commissioned piece.
“And what I’m hoping, that in the long-term process, is that it’s going to be a different kind of an experience by me working in my more normal situation and over a long term,” Fleischhauer says.
Vidal says they hope to start publishing the results by the end of the year.