Birmingham-based digital arts producer Harmeet Chagger-Khan has teamed up with artist Tas Bashir and arts agency Sampad to explore the concept of Rasa.
They are set to explore how Rasa can be mapped and digitally visualized, using various wearable technologies to capture people’s responses to Qawwali music.
From October 2016, the creative team will collaborate with neuroscientists and psychologists from the University of Birmingham. They will be using a range of new technologies to capture detailed scientific data from a group of various participants.
The aim is to test the assumption that it is possible to capture and cultivate a sense of transcendental awe through monitoring and recording the neurological, physiological and emotional responses to the music.
This also includes looking at ways of presenting this traditional roots music in brand new ways, with a view to opening it up to new and wider audiences and reinforcing its contemporary relevance.
Clayton Shaw, Associate Director of Sampad said
“Although this kind of digital mapping and exploration has been carried out in relation to responses to Western classical music, it’s truly fascinating to now take it one step further by using new technologies to explore how people in the 21st century connect with centuries-old Qawwali music and perhaps challenge audience expectations of how art can be presented”
Producer for The Qawwali Shrine, Harmeet Chagger-Khan adds:
“We want to find out more about how people experience and express the ‘sublime’ and whether similar patterns of response emerge, as they transcend into a state of enlightenment in reaction to the music. Can we pinpoint that state of ‘Rasa’ or spiritual rapture? Can science and tech help us harvest that evidence? Can we capture it visually?”
Findings from The Qawwali Shrine research will be presented in March 2017 as part of the University of Birmingham’s annual Arts & Science Festival.