Per Huttner creates music with brainwaves using a neural interface

Artist and Human Hotel host Per Huttner, co-creator of a neural interface for live music control.

One of Per’s installation projects in Haiti
Photos: Per

Per is a long-term collaborator and friend of ours. We’ve traveled for art projects in both Haiti and China together – and have of course stayed with him in his Paris home, as many of you also have. Thank you for being such a generous host Per!   Normally, Per travels all the time with his art practice, so we asked him about what “home” means to him? And how it feels to be stuck there during COVID-19?  

 

“For me home is not a place, it’s a process. It’s something that is alive and changing constantly. That process partially takes place between the walls of my Paris flat, but most importantly it’s something that I take with me on the journey. I know that I always have somewhere to return to. So when I am travelling and it gets tough, I think about the pleasure of being home.

 

“One of the things I miss the most when I’m not in Paris, is being able to look up things in my physical books. However, this is gradually becoming less pressing since I am building up an e-book library on my computer”, Per tells us from his temporary home in his native Stockholm.

 

“When the virus struck, I was in Paris and stuck at home for over six weeks in March and all of April. It was mostly good, as I was working on artistic content and some technical fine-tuning of the hardware/software platform EEGsynth, that allows us to create music and control moving images in real time using our brainwaves.

 

Working on the EEGsynth project.
Photo: Per

The journey itself was a both very interesting, and rather depressing, anthropological study. 

Since I have a Swedish passport, I had the luxury of being able to travel to Sweden in the midst of the lock-down and have now been here for almost a month. The journey itself was a both very interesting, and rather depressing, anthropological study.

 

The airport in Paris was empty and there were more cops and security than travellers. During the stopover in Frankfurt we went through German customs and found ourselves stuck in the check in area.

Technically on German soil, although German borders were closed. Security at the airport was strict and the officers very rude. Covid-19 has struck Europe like a bomb, but it felt like the security officers had been eagerly awaiting that bomb.

 

It was eventually a great relief to return to Stockholm where the lock-down is much more relaxed. So although life is very slow in Sweden, it feels so enjoyable to be able to go out at will without having to sign papers and worry about being harassed by the police.The Parisians have been very friendly and smiling, but the French police have really shown their worst side. So although life is very slow in Sweden, it feels very enjoyable to be able to go out at will without having to sign papers or  worry about being harassed.

 

Although lock-down has been good for me so far, me (and my bank manager) agree that it would be nice to get back to work with real people in real situations very soon.”

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