SNN #1: The Speed of Thought Itself

SNN#1: The Speed of Thought Itself is an experimental thirty-minute audio/visual performance that recreates the 19th century physiologist Franciscus Donders’ 1865 laboratory experiments measuring the reaction time between stimulus and response in order to calculate the speed of mental processes—what Donders called the “speed of thought.”
The performance reimagines Donders’s machine in an age where human and machine sensing is increasingly blurred. The performance is orchestrated by spiking neural networks that are projected visually during the performance mathematical models that computationally represent the electrical potential of the membranes of real biological neurons.
Dynamically mixing matter, signs, voice, light, sound and time, the performance straddles two eras in the history of human sensing: the 19th century, when sensation was first quantified through the laboratories of the emerging discipline of experimental psychology and the 21st century, where we now give over sensing to algorithmic processes that try and mimic, “thought itself.”

Chris Salter

Impakt 2019