Grolsch Turned the Emotions of Music Listeners Into Psychedelic Art Pieces

This is your brain on music

Headshot of Angela Natividad

In our hectic times, busyness is a sign of status. Science has demonstrated that madcap urban life boosts cortisol, putting us in fight-or-flight mode pretty much all the time. And there’s no escape. Even relaxing, self-actualizing techniques like fasting and meditation have been adapted in the interests of productivity.

Where, then, can we turn for a little bit of peace?

Beer brand Grolsch has the answer: Take time out for music, preferably over a cold brew!

With help from Romanian digital agency Kubis Interactive, Grolsch hooked 14 people up to neuro headsets that measured relaxation, attention and intensity in human brain waves. Then it blindfolded them and had a famous local rock band play on a nearby stage.

The “Awake Your Curiosity Experiment” took the resulting music-stimulated brainwaves and turned them into 14 beautiful pieces of art—not unlike that one time Spanish retailer Bijoux Indiscrets transformed orgasm sounds into flowery posters. (We love art made out of our insides. What better proof that we can make things of value, at least to ourselves, without even trying?)

But that wasn’t the end of the experiment. The flow of music was later interrupted by the sounds that punctuate modern existence: traffic noises, sirens and ringing mobile phones, or what Grolsch calls “busy life noises.”

In the video above, the gorgeous kaleidoscopic brain art ceases, curling up into itself like a child rolling into a fetal position.

“This is what daily stress does to your brain,” the copy reads.

The work is a promotion for Transylvanian music festival Awake Fest, for which Grolsch is a major sponsor. Its objective is to demonstrate how the brain responds creatively to music, and is ostensibly also an invitation to give hyper-productive mode a rest (arguably one of the best reasons to attend a music fest).

We are all tired, busy and important. It takes our sleep, steals our casual joys and transforms everything into an unending race away from failure. It’s a lifestyle that’s probably even killing us.

Beer brand origins aside, “Awake Your Curiosity” is most certainly an idea whose time has come, as evidenced by the nearly 150,000 local views it’s harvested on Facebook alone.

So relax! Lie back and enjoy some music just for music’s sake, and not as background noise for some other thing you feel obliged to do. If you’re in the neighborhood of Transylvania, check out the Awake Fest. It’s good for you. And it won’t even cost you two pints of blood.

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.