Artist Makes 1st Mind-controlled Digital Video Art Installation

< Art/Code > Artist Spotlight | Jeremy McKane is an underwater fashion photographer who has traveled around the world to capture the movement and grace of fabric-draped forms under water. This is the second in a series of artist profiles.

Jeremy Mckane Digital Dallas Art/Code

Editor’s Note: The <Art / Code> event will bring together 15 digital artists to show off their cutting-edge work at the Aria Stone Gallery on July 27. The event is curated by David Rodriguez (aka Dr. Gorilla) and hosted by Digital Dallas. John Stalle gives us a glimpse into the work of Jeremy McKane, an underwater fashion photographer who has traveled around the world to capture the movement and grace of fabric-draped forms under water. In partnership with futurist Aliaksei Rubinau, McKane has developed the world’s first mind-controlled digital video art installation, which we’re excited to showcase at <Art / Code>. 

What we think, we become. That’s the thought behind the LUCiD Project by <Art / Code> artist Jeremy McKane and his co-founder Aliaksei Rubanau — but there’s more to the story than that. 

Exploring new digital frontiers

Ever since the early days of the modern internet, McKane has been at the forefront of technology, exploring new digital frontiers across the land, air, and sea.

In the early 1990’s, McKane was a technician for a company that became one of the first internet providers for the average consumer in Dallas.

“Within four years, we [Onramp Technologies] became the world’s largest web hosting provider,” McKane said.

From there, McKane took to the skies, manufacturing drones (which his friends simply assumed involved him playing with remote-controlled helicopters), and using his artistic abilities to photograph architecture.

As his artistic talents developed, McKane was soon drawn to the sea.

“There were only a few people doing underwater fashion and it was something I had been wanting to get into,” McKane said. “Eventually, I graduated to the ocean and it has become a story that continues to evolve. Like the ocean, my work is a living thing — constantly changing with world events.”

 A deep dive in ocean conservation

Now a full-fledged underwater fashion photographer, McKane has “traveled the world to capture the human form in its most graceful element, water.”

On one such excursion several years ago, McKane was visiting a private island in the far north of Queensland, Australia for what he describes as “an epic day of mud crabbing and oyster free-diving.”

“Upon our arrival, we saw this boat that had been washed ashore. I’d never been to this part of Australia in all my adventures,” he said. “Keep in mind, that when I’m this remote, I rarely see another human being. Yet, on this day, the evidence of human beings was all around. Tens of thousands of flip-flops, scuba tanks, red solo cups, plastic bags, water bottles … I could go on. As far as the eye could see there was plastic. There were bits of micro-plastic and nano-plastic all around me. The beach wasn’t sand — it was plastic.”

“I didn’t have anything to say,” McKane said. “I didn’t even know where to start. My first thought was that we should do something … But what?”

Meditation-based art

As McKane continued his adventures around the world, his memories of flotsam-filled oceans followed. On a trip to Renaca, Chile, McKane was speaking to startup entrepreneurs when he met his co-founder for LUCiD, Aliaksei

On a trip to Renaca, Chile, McKane was speaking to startup entrepreneurs when he met his co-founder for LUCiD, Aliaksei Rubanau.

“He told me, he had technology to turn lights on and off with his mind — which I didn’t believe,” McKane recounted.

Not only did it work — it was, as McKane puts it, “amazing. I could control computers simply by thought.” As the two (quite literally) brainstormed the technology’s potential use, McKane suggested they create “a meditation-based art installation to bring the ocean to the masses.”

“Maybe, we could build awareness and empathy where others had failed. Beyond this, we could show positive imagery if we wanted positive results,” McKane said.

And so, the two have turned idea into action with the LUCiD Project, a commission by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary out of Vienna, Austria, which aims to create awareness around the health of our oceans using mind-controlled art.

By using a portable EEG (which is essentially a brain control interface), McKane can gauge how calm you are and how much you remain in the present moment.

“If you can clear your mind and imagine what things might look like without plastic, I show you all the amazing things that the ocean has to offer,” he said.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and was originally published at digitaldallas.org.

Digital Dallas <Art / Code> Event 

On July 27, the worlds of art and code will collide from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Aria Stone Gallery, where Dallas’ top digital artists will show us how they’re taking digital design to new electronic heights. Drinks, food, and music from Digital Dallas’ roster of DJs will be provided. The gallery is 1617 Hi Line Drive, Suite 310, in Dallas. Check it out here.

READ MORE ABOUT THE <ART / CODE > ARTISTS

Digital Dallas < Art/Code > featured artist Eric Trich. [Photo via Digital Dallas]

Digital artist Eric Trich. [Photo via Digital Dallas]

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