‘Your Brain on Art’ Musical Performance Set at UH
February 29, 2016
Jeannie Kever

How does music affect our brains? The latest in a series of collaborations designed to learn what happens in the brain as people create, perform and contemplate art will take place at noon Tuesday, March 1, at the University of Houston’s student center.

Saxophonists Woody Witt and Dan Gelok, both faculty members at the UH Moores School of Music, and drummer Guillermo “Memo” Reza will perform while researchers record their brain activity.

Previous collaborations have featured visual artists, writers and dancers. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering, joined with Blaffer Art Museum for the project, working with members of the UH and Houston art communities.

The goal is to collect brain activity from artists in a variety of disciplines, part of research funded by the National Science Foundation to better understand what happens in the brain as people both make and view art.

The March 1 event will be produced by Blaffer and the Cullen College of Engineering, in collaboration with University Career Services (UCS) and the Moores School of Music. It is noted as the “steAm Performance” within the UCS STEM Careers Week, which exposes students to the cross-disciplines of arts and sciences.

The musicians will perform wearing skullcaps equipped with sensors to track their brain activity as they play a variation of Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative, chance-based game made famous by the Surrealists in the 1920s. Instead of drawing, they’ll play musical instruments.

The demonstration will be followed by a discussion with the musicians and researchers. This project is an outgrowth of the Blaffer Art Museum Innovation Series, launched in Spring 2015 to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations between the arts and sciences.


WHAT: Three musicians will play a variation of the collaborative game Exquisite Corpse, improvising and performing as a sensor-embedded skullcap tracks their brain activity.

WHEN: Noon, Tuesday, March 1

WHERE: UH Student Center North Lobby, Entrance 1. Parking available across the street at the Welcome Center garage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeannie Kever, 713-743-0778, m-713-504-3769, jekever [at]

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