MINDSCAPES is an ongoing collaborative project by drawing and installation artist Maria Teresa Ortoleva and computer scientist and data visualization expert Dr. Rita Borgo based in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London. Mindscapes engages with research in data visualisation, urban informatics and mental wellbeing. It explores the potential of using contemporary art languages of sculpture and installation to translate the intimate data of our mind into three-dimensional immersive environments that communicate through sensory perception and creating empathy.

Mindscapes deepens Maria Teresa’s fascination for imagery that attempts to capture the imaginative mind and push our understanding of its workings. It especially relates to her ongoing interest in EEG and in the signature shapes of brainwaves that signify elusive states of consciousness – from fancy to remembrance, to hypnagogia and dream – and their impact on mental wellbeing. Equally, the project intersects Rita’s research in data visualisation and urban data.

Working together at Mindscapes, Rita and Maria Teresa aim at conducting new studies around the spatialisation of physicalised data.

Their enquiry starts with a field data collection that uses an EEG portable headset to record brainwaves from the public in a real life scenario, together with a variety of contextual information. Then, the work proceeds to consider ways of physicalising the collected data into acrylic sculptures whose colour and surface quality (reflective, transparent, fluorescent, opaque) provide an interpretation of the data. Last, playing with the layout of the physicalised data disseminated back into a real life space again, the project aims at examining how these types of data visualisations are experienced by people and communicate to their perception, widening the understanding of our mind and empowering with further awareness of their own mental wellbeing.

More about the project will soon be published on a dedicated Mindscapes website.

Photo credits: Gemma Riggs