Electrical Potential: Mind Reading as Collaborative Action

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Mind reading is often characterized as a mechanism of surveillance that ferrets out information against our will; but it can also be collaborative, involving partnerships and networks. Indeed, researchers and artists have been using human electroencephalography (EEG), to produce aggregate data sets for the creation of musical symphonies, city planning, and affective mapping. In this chapter, Littlefield examines two such projects: the “Brainwave Symphony” (2015), a promotional project associated with the Netflix series Sense8, and the work of Multimer, a company whose slogan is “Better Decisions Based on Human Signals.” She argues that both projects illustrate beliefs about the power of aggregating brain-based data for political and artistic purposes, even as each relies on constructions of brainwaves as material objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPalgrave Studies in Science and Popular Culture
EditorsLaurens Schlicht, Carla Seemann, Christian Kassung
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030394196
ISBN (Print)9783030394189
StatePublished - Apr 5 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Science and Popular Culture
VolumePart F2180
ISSN (Print)2731-4359
ISSN (Electronic)2731-4367

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Communication
  • Cultural Studies


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