Scientists and artists are society's visionaries. KVS and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) dreamed up Mindblowers to give those voices and hearts a platform. On 12 October 2023, the seventh edition of Mindblowers took place. An evening consisting of performances that sit at the crossroads of art, culture and reflection. Transdisciplinary artist Roel Heremans was invited to share his personal story and artistic practice. Who will control your thoughts in the future? Put it to the test with the NeuroRight Arcades, from 12 October until 10 November 2023. 

Digital progress is advancing rapidly and further than we could ever have imagined. In the near future, technology will be able to extract information directly from our brains, read our thoughts and feelings, and influence them. This will happen through so-called Neuro-wearables and Brain-Computer Interfaces, neurotechnological tools that directly interact with our brains.

But what if something or someone uses this technology against our will or crosses boundaries with it? As a society, we simply do not yet have an answer to that today, both ethically, legally, and in our interactions with each other. Therefore, researchers from the NeuroRights Initiative (Columbia University) have formulated the "Five NeuroRights" of humanity.

If we can enforce these for governments and companies, we can invoke them to protect our brains.

  1. Mental Privacy: No one or nothing should be able to look into yourhead without your consent.
  2. Personal Identity: No one or nothing should be able to change your self-image without your permission.
  3. Free Will: No one or nothing should be able to influence or restrict your free will.
  4. Equal Access to Mental Augmentation: Everyone potentially has an equal right to equipment that makes us smarter.
  5. Protection against Algorithmic Bias: No one should be discriminated against based on their brain profile.

Transdisciplinary artist Roel Heremans and his team were inspired by the five NeuroRights in creating their artistic installation, The NeuroRight Arcades. Touching is allowed! The art installation is interactive. How does it work? Take a seat at one of the three Arcade game consoles and put on the Brain-Computer Interface headphones. What follows is a guided journey through your own brainwaves. After completing the game, you can download a printout of your brainwaves.

With the NeuroRight Arcades, Roel Heremans aims to make our rights regarding brain technology more tangible and inspire you to a deeper understanding of its importance. And just at the moment when you become aware of your own rights, you may get the strange feeling that the Arcades may have done exactly what they warned you about.