Watch a painting machine turn human brainwaves into art live in the Gallery every Saturday and Sunday. Simon Ingram's painting-performance project Monadic Device is part of his exhibition The Algorithmic Impulse. A schedule of performances can be found below.

Ingram has developed a painting machine that responds to electrical activity in the brain, input via an EEG headset, and translated by high-tech computer software. Members of the public have been invited to don the EEG headset and hook themselves up to his machine to create a new painting.

During their Monadic Device performance, each person will carry out a different activity including listening to heavy metal and classical music, building Lego, meditating, and harakeke weaving. The resulting artwork will then go on show as part of the exhibition, before being returned to their makers for keeps.

The machine is programmed to paint lines that wander around a canvas, avoiding paths previously traced and tunnelling under or glancing off lines it encounters. While connected to the painting machine, a person's beta brainwaves determine the length of lines, and their alpha brainwaves whether the lines turn left or right. To complicate matters, you can use a Wacom tablet to draw directly into the machine’s interface, so the resulting paintings may scramble drawing by hand (with intention) and drawing by brain (without).

Monadic Device Performance Schedule

See Monadic Device in action 2–4pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday 16 January | Colleen Surridge practices the art of meditation.

Sunday 17 January | Rachel Budd reads the last chapters of The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel.

Saturday 23 January | Robert Leonard.

Sunday 24 January | Sarah Bogle browses through scrapbooks of old travel photographs.

Saturday 30 January | Sue Ballard.

Sunday 31 January | Inès Almeida reads a book.

Saturday 6 February | Marcus Moore.

Sunday 7 February | Edwin Nieman.

Saturday 13 February | Sarah Laing.

Sunday 14 February | Emma Donnelly reads her late grandfathers letters.

Saturday 20 February | Sally Mainland assembles a craft model kitset and does a jigsaw puzzle.

Sunday 21 February | Fliss Quick sketches the gallery space and the painting machine.

Saturday 27 February | Phoebe McDougall does advanced maths calculations.

Sunday 28 February | Robyn Cockburn reflects on every year of her sixty years of life by browsing through memorabilia, photos, and documents. All years will have a time limit of two minutes.

Saturday 6 March | Rachel Denee crochets a blanket.

Saturday 7 March | Mike Riversdale creates his own website about the Monadic Device event as it takes place.


  • Free


  • Sat 28 Nov — Sun 07 Mar


  • 2:00 pm — 4:00 pm


  • Civic Square, 101 Wakefield Street
  • Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, 6140