'Portrait of a Kiss' is based on the performance EEG KISS, in which we investigate how a kiss can be translated into bio-feedback data. Public participants are invited to kiss with an EEG headset, that measures their brain activity while kissing. The EEG Data of their kiss is made realtime visible and audible to spectators around, as a new form of shared intimacy, engagement, responsibility and trust. In a digital synesthetic kissing ritual all participants - both kissers and spectators - feel, see, hear, touch and experience a communal kiss.
We host each kiss carefully and ask kissing participants to give personal meaning to the abstract, rather mystifying data-visualizations by asking: 'How does your kiss feel in these EEG data?' We experienced that kissers perceive their data-visualization as traces of shared memories. These data-visualizations open shared memories of intimate co-creation. Instead of interpreting these data as a rational system, they are more often perceived as intimate and embodied, as a 'Portrait of our Kiss'.
Portrait of a Kiss
Touched by these reactions, we decided to create a 'Portrait of a Kiss'-series, for which personal data visualizations are translated to printed portraits. Each portrait is designed as a data-sequence-still, (comparable to a video-still), selected from the kissers' personal, realtime data-visualization. Data from both kissers dance around each other, as what we call Dancing Data, in patterns and rythms; in colors gold and silver printed on black. Location, Date and Kissers Names are added as part of the portrait, staging the performative moment of kissing in space and time.
Although each portrait shows an intimate kissing relation, the procedure (of kissing in public, while the experience is being measured through EEG technology, translated to public data and being saved in a database) evokes question on our understanding of authorship, uniqueness, authenticity and ownership. Reflection on these questions are anchored within the portraits' concept.
A personal ‘Portrait of a Kiss’ is obtainable at Studio Lancel/Maat,
Currently, we are designing a wedding ring, based on Kissing Data.