Diana Lazzaro’s work has been described as hypnotic, oneiric, and absurd. Currently pursuing a double major in Intermedia & Electroacoustic Studies, Lazarro works in a variety of media such as performance, video, sound and electronics. Her focus is on coding interactive experiences that rely on audience participation. Lazarro’s work reflects on the relationship between the self and technology, as well as the potential for translating these organic and physical experiences through technological means.
Synapse is a generative sound project made for the Mindwave Mobile EEG Brainwave Analyzer headset. The idea for the project came from Lazzaro’s experience of frustration with getting used to a new medium. Lacking the immediate conversion from mental processes to music that those who are musically trained have, she set out to create her own form of connection beginning in her brain. What began as an exploration of craft soon became a discovery of the self through generative music; of thought processes leading to immersive sound landscapes; soundscapes relaxing and agitated, excited and contemplative. Set on Lazarro’s head, the headset was able to analyze about eight different electromagnetic outputs of different frequency bands coming from her neural activity. The artist channelled different moods through music and, matching them to software, connected them to different musical voices. The result was a soundscape in which specific sounds emerged, mirroring specific thoughts and feelings at the time of recording. For example, Delta waves, which present the subconscious and dreams, were often linked with basslines, whereas alpha waves, which are prominent during light thought activity, mirrored sudden transients. Gamma waves, which mysteriously appear during acts of love and altruism, were eclectic, high-pitched voices. There are three distinct sections within the piece, mirroring moods: drowsiness, emotion and thoughtfulness. The piece is also accompanied by generative visuals, mirroring the 8 bands. The resulting product portrays the gap between the artist’s experience and the machine’s translation of it. For Lazzaro, it also created a new form of awareness, crossing said gap and creating a bridge between the artist and the code. It is, overall, a window into one’s psyche and, music that oddly but truly comes from the soul.