On Being Invisible (part I and II) and
On Being Invisible II (Hypatia Speaks to Jefferson in a Dream)
David Rosenboom
Brief description of the work:
A self-organizing, multi-media performance using event-related potentials from performers' brains (Rosenboom online)
Materials, dimensions, duration:
'Performed by two brainwave performers, two improvising musicians, a narrator, two performers for the computer media which include 'real-time digital signal synthesis and processing, brainwave data acquisition and analysis, MIDI devices, computer controlled video laser disc with projection, slide projectors with dissolves, stage lighting, interactive HMSL software, sound reinforcement and audio mixing.' (Rosenboom online)
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):

Rosenboom began to work on On being Invisible in 1976, and released an early recording in 1977. It was peformed at the Music Gallery in Toronto in February 1977.
A later version was shown from 1994 onwards. Performances included the Krannert Center for Performing Arts (campus of the University of Illinois), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Merkin Concert Hall, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater Chicago as well as ISEA 1997.

Audience information (size, mode of participation):
Experienced in a traditional concert setting, the audience can follow how 'self-organizing, musical forms can emerge that are related to the shifts of attention experienced by the performer' (Rosenboom online)
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Floorplan, scheme:
On Being Invisible (1976-1977)
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Intense engagement with a body; observing externalised internal processes in realtime using audial means; immersive play; observing one's awareness of listening
Further context:


1 min clip from On Being Invisible, part I 23:49,
from CD Invisible Gold, Pogus Productions,
21022-2, Chester, NY, 2000, CD
(earlier version 1976 - 77)

1 min clip from On Being Invisible II,
from 'Transmigration Music', Centaur Records, CD contributors: Sam Ashley, Teri DeSario, Roxanne Merryfiled, David Rosenboom 17:29
(later version 1994 - 95)


'"On Being Invisible, ... , for me, contains the richest aesthetic, symbolic and metaphorical content arising from the import that biofeedback systems had on my work as a composer. On Being Invisible is a self-organizing, dynamical system, rather than a fixed musical composition. The title refers to the role of the individual within an evolving, dynamical environment, who makes decisions concerning when and how to be a conscious initiator of action and when simply to allow her or his individual, internal dynamics to co-evolve within the macroscopic dynamics of the system as a whole."( Rosenboom online)