Art meets science and VR in David Byrne’s ‘Neurosociety’

Web Log: Virtual reality project in collaboration with tech investor Mala Gaonkar

Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is known for straying outside the confines of music; he has written books, plays and film scores but this is the first time Byrne has dabbled in virtual reality with a neuroscientific twist. With an experimental art installation at the Pace gallery in Silicon Valley, Byrne invites visitors to immerse themselves in an 80-minute long experience that is part entertainment, part scientific experiment where you, the VR participant, are the subject.

Byrne devised the installation in collaboration with tech investor Mala Gaonkar to showcase research from neuroscience labs around the globe, the kind of research that asks questions about how people define themselves and see the world around them, partially while wearing a VR headset to trick their brain into thinking they are Lilliputian.

According to the Pace gallery, “Visitors will be embodied in a doll, see their hands grow to a vast size, accurately predict election results of fictional politicians, witness moving objects freeze and discover how fair and trusting they are with others. Rather than read about cognitive behavioural science, visitors will experience it for themselves.”