Brain Cloud (by Brain Factory)

The Brain Cloud
Maurice Benayoun, Tobias Klein, 2018

At the same time an innovative art installation, a world premiere, and a prototype for brain design technology. Brain Cloud is part of the Brain Factory series of works helping the visitors, recently converted into “brain-workers”, to give shape to human abstractions just by thinking. Brain Cloud is made of a massage chair, an EEG headband, an LCD monitor and, thanks to its connection to the Gateway and the Hypercube, in the Astrilab, it displays the 3D models resulting from the interaction as dynamic animated forms on the Hypercube and a full database of the brain production + brain waves monitoring on the Gateway.

The Brain Cloud

In times of the Industrial Revolution, we started to produce objects with machines. Everything, from a pot to a car was made on production lines. The price and value of these products became less as the object was made faster and did not involve a craftsman anymore. Products became economically more efficient.

Today, we are at the end of Industrialisation as we know it. Today we are dealing with virtual values and an established knowledge economy. All products are interconnected into systems. These systems, from Bitcoin to blockchain are virtual values and are completely immaterial. The peak of this development – it seems – is the complete removal of the human component in the production process through the integration of AI. Algorithms are predicting behaviors, market values, currencies and create or destroy economies.

Brain Cloud is a work that embraces this new form of production. Returning back to the construct of the Industrialisation seen as a development and metaphor. Back then, the production of hardware and materials – mining, melting, casting and shaping the object was a conscious act. There was a direct link – made of intentionality, logic, causality, mechanics – between the design of a lamp, for instance, the object and its value. This relationship does not exist anymore since the introduction of the immaterial digital. Today, we do not stand in a factory; we do not live in a world made only of solid objects. All products have a life starting and/or ending in an interconnected cloud. Blockchain, Fintech, cybersecurity, smart cities or new infrastructures are the building blocks of a knowledge economy.

Yet, where is the human in this new immaterial world? Certainly, we created even AI in our mind, yet how do we think and how do we evolve from a semiotic relationship between name and object? Brain cloud is a tool and an artwork that monitors the brain activity of a single user seeing a single word, an abstraction. Brain CLoud is where Human Intelligence talks to Artificial Intelligence, HI to AI. The beauty of the project lies in the transformation of the user’s brain reaction to the word, in creating shapes and forms. The forms are abstract and do not resemble a particular element. They do not look like a lamp if the user is exposed to the word light. Instead, Brain Cloud allows the visualization and engagement with something previously out of reach. As we are far from understanding the complexity of our thoughts, similar to the workings of deep learning algorithms, the Brain Cloud operates outside a binary logic and allows a glimpse into the most complex network space on Earth – the human brain.

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