For the Totem project we developed a generative visual system created using Processing, which utilizes the heart rate of visitors to create unique generative artworks. The system displays variations in the viewer’s heart rate to reflect their internal state, turning them from a mere consumer into a co-creator of the artwork.

Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between successive heartbeats, which reflects the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. 

In the context of generative images, HRV can be used to create dynamic and personalized visual representations of a person’s internal emotional state. The variations in heart rate that are measured through HRV can be used to create visual patterns and colors that reflect the emotional state of the viewer.

By incorporating HRV data into the generative image system, it creates a feedback loop that connects the viewer’s internal emotional state with the external visual representation. This creates a personalized and interactive experience that can help the viewer become more aware of their emotions and how they manifest in their body.

Through this process, the Totem project creates a connection between the viewer and the artwork, allowing them to become an active participant in the creative process. It highlights the importance of the connection between the mind and body, and how our internal states can be reflected in the world around us.