New Media on the Brain

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For an English-speaker, Germany's netzspannung.org can seem confusing. Billed as '...a knowledge space and a research laboratory,' the site is in effect a huge archive for New Media scholars, and features a rich archive of papers and Real Media lectures exploring the issues central to network art. The most beautiful aspect of the site's design is the 'Semantic Map', a Java application that allows the user to navigate the site's space via a map interface. I recommend using the Semantic Map as a way to browse the corpulent netzspannung databases: areas of research represented as continents on the map. The 'data' continent, for example, will bring you to such reasearch projects as 'Affect Space' by Theda Schiphorst and Sid Fels, which seeks to 'design a networked semantics of caress, where the interactivity can recognize, understand, and even express non-rational states such as emotion or intention..' Lurking elsewhere, one finds 'BIOS,' an ironic comment on tech consumerism which consists of a 'helmet with 16 electrodes (sensors) that get attached to the spectator's head, HMD (head mounted display), EEG device and a computer. The HMD shows images that are synthesized from the impulses, generated from spectator's brain reaction to the images shown a moment before - thus creating a feedback loop.' - Lewis LaCook