Neuromatic Game Art

Critical Play With Neurointerfaces


Neuromatic GAN Portrait GAME: The artist is measured

Shown at Parallel Vienna 2020. exhibition. 17 – 27 September 2020. old commercial building, Rudolf-Sallinger-Platz 1, 1030 Vienna.

Biometric choreographies (Coeckelbergh 2019) playing with machine systems take on new forms in the age of social distance in art exhibitions: Contactless neuromatic games about brain and face measurement. The combination of face recognition, as used for political social quantification in social credit systems (see Pinyin shèhuì xìnyòng tǐxì), its aesthetic-artistic interpretation in relation to art and painting in “Breeding Paintings” have their technical basis in the well-known example of an artificially generated face (This Person Does Not Exist). Current art production on Latent Faces takes up this theme (Vines, 2019) and changes it.

1) the image is taken
2) the artist is measured
3) the portrait is generated

Our installation on Portrait, Face Recognition and Social Credit System, shown in September 2020, thus moves on the current state-of-the-art of artificial intelligence research in the experimental field (see Reader Donaufestival 2020: Machines like Us, Edlinger 2020) and shows a possible connection to the research question of the social significance of neurointerfaces and the quantifiability of cognitive creative performance. The context of an art fair offers a special stage for the supposed measurement of the artistic gaze, for the theme of the portrait in art – in a hybrid of artificial deep neural network and neuro-interfaces.

Room 1: Take your picture! Photobooth with face-detection: 16 parameters identified and sonified.

This installation was the first in physical space since the pandemic imperative of only virtual performances. Its theme is the reverse artistic view. A portrait is generated in a 3-room parkour. In room 1, a photo of the visitor’s face is taken using software based on Chinese facial recognition and instructions are given on how to behave before the face capture. In a selfie/facetracking situation the audience interacts with the installation in a “Choreogaphy of Technology” (Coeckelbergh 2019).

Installation View Parallel Vienna “the artist is measured”. September 2020

In room two, the artist is measured with a professional 32-channel EEG headset: “the artist is measured! In room three a generative portrait of the last visitor is created with the help of a deep neural network system. The network constructs a portrait “from scratch”: the photo of the visitor is not used directly (as in the case of image processing), but only for comparison. The network thus takes on the role of the portraitist. The social score of the visitor is the higher, the faster the network can generate a portrait, the more similar the photograph is to the training data of the network. The result of the portrait process of the generative adversarial network is used in room two as a stimulus for a neuroscientific experiment that measures the visual reaction of the artist to real photographic or synthetically generated portraits via EEG. The output remains open; which of the images evoke the stronger reactions in the artist’s brain remains hidden from the viewer, who can follow the raw data of the EEG recording on the screen of the measuring computer.

Test Setup/ stimulus Brain Products 32 chanel EEG & reaction of artist on UNCANNY VALLEY PORTRAIT, 20.09.2020.


Game art, game design, art and games gain importance in the context of artistic research because they allow empirical methods and direct experience. Ludic experiments in the form of neurogames and the transformative potential of games serve as a framework for a theoretical discourse on social issues concerning the handling of personal data and social distance gamification. The focus of our first Preliminary Findings is on a new form of extended game art that systematizes biometric aspects in performative installations and enables playful experiences with them.


Coeckelbergh M (2019). Moved by Machines. Performance Metaphors and Philosophy of Technology
Routledge New York.

Jahrmann M (2020). PLAN A for I/motions. Die Kunst des Spiels mit Emotionen und neuen Formen der Kognition. In: Machines Like Us. Reader Donaufestival. Ed. Thomas Edlinger, Falterverlag Wien, pp 95-103. ISBN 978-3-9504740-1-5

Jahrmann M (2020). Expanded Game Art and Neurointerfaces as Means of Produsage. In: Abend P, Beil B, Ossa V (eds.) Playful Participatory Practices – Theoretical and Methodological Reflections, Springer Nature, Wiesbaden, pp 131-147. In series: Perspektiven der Game Studies. DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-28619-4

Parviainen J (2016) Quantified bodies in the Checking Loop: Analyzing the Choreographies of Biomonitoring and Generating Big Data. In: Humantechnology, Volume 12(1), Finnland May 2016, 56–73.

Schwab M(2018). Transpositionality and Artistic Research, pp. 191 – 215. In series orpheus: Transpositions: Aesthetico-Epistemic Operators in Artistic Research (ed.) Schwab M, Leuven University Press. DOI

Project related Links:

Neuromatic⦁ ⦁ Brainwave⦁ Channel ⦁ –⦁ ⦁ März –Juli ⦁ 2020 
Neuromatic⦁ Game Art Kickoff AIL – Mai 2020
⦁ Künstlerisches Spiel mit Gehirnströmen Mai 2020
⦁ Research Blog