Mari Velonaki Portrait

Read: Designer Catchup: Mari Velonaki

Date: July 24, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

Read: Designer Catchups: George Khut

Date: July 24, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

With CUSP about to come a close on 15 August at QVMAG, we’ve set out to discover what our 12 designers have been investigating, creating, and experimenting with since CUSP first launched back in 2013.

We caught up with artist, academic, and Australian Design Honouree George Khut to discover his latest projects, including being part of the recent 11-day live-in residency as part of Marina Abramovic’s In Residence exhibition…

Sensorium Health Pty Ltd
Marina Abramovic
Sensorium Health Pty Ltd

In our fast paced world, artist, designer and academic Dr George Khut is using his practice to help us slow down and focus our attention inwards.

Working across the fields of electronic and participatory art, as well as interaction design and health, George has spent the last 12 years creating intimate, body-focussed artworks that reframe our experiences of embodiment, present time, and body-mind interactions. George’s award winning heart rate controlled interactive artwork Distillery: Waveforming is as visually stunning as it is practical, and has inspired the smartphone relaxation app, BrightHearts – proving real life problems can be solved through excellent design.

Driven by an passion for understanding the connection between our physical and emotional worlds, artist and interaction-designer George Khut, uses human-centred design and interactive art to create beautifully compelling sound and light experiences.

Here’s the highly innovative George talking to CUSP about what inspires his practice and how he hopes to help people, both individually and socially, through his art.

We think one of the nicest things about George’s work is his interest in helping people.

In this vein, if you’re feeling a little stressed (who isn’t?) and you need a hand winding down, his BrightHearts App could be the answer.

Along with a clip-on pulse censor, BrightHearts interprets your heartbeat as pulsing patterns of colour and light. As you relax and begin to breathe slowly, the App rewards you with more calming colours and sounds. Originally designed to help sick children facing unfamiliar scenarios in hospital, BrightHearts can successfully help people of all ages control their heart rate and anxiety.

Learn more about the App in George’s own words here.

As part of the hugely successful Marina Abramovic: In Residence exhibition that was held in June, George was one 12 artists selected by Abramovic for an 11-day live-in residency.

George, who likes to focus his practice on biofeedback, fitted people with brain sensors that measure alpha brainwaves and then had them lie on a bed fitted with large motor and speakers. “The brainwaves get stronger the calmer you are – the more open and present you are, the more and vibrations you will hear and feel.”

A truly amazing experience!

Since 2007, George’s work The Heart Library Project has been shown in hospitals, schools, museums and galleries – and most recently at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, England.

Hooked up to heart rate monitors, and seeing themselves projected on a mirror above their prone bodies, participants see imagery getting redder in colour as their heart rate quickens, and going blue when their heart rate slows down.

Read more about the project here.

If you want to learn more about the amazing work George does, we really recommend checking out his 10-minute TEDx Sydney talk in which he discusses his research into body-focused interactions in art and health.

Watch and let us know what you think!





George (Poonkhin) Khut is an Australian artist and academic working across the fields of electronic and participatory art, interaction design and health. For the past 12 years he has been working with biofeedback technologies, creating intimate, body-focussed participatory artworks, that re-frame our experiences and representations of embodiment, presentness and body-mind interactions. Khut works with biofeedback technologies to challenge popular assumptions about the impact of digital technologies on the body. He challenges the idea that technology minimises our ability to pay attention and uses technology instead to slow down and focus our attention into our body, the bodies of others, and the psycho-physiological dimensions of our being.