“A little bird told me.”

Meet Stuart Nolan, or rather, meet Stuart Nolan's new pet the IdeoBird, a magical, mindreading creature. Held gently in your palm, the IdeoBird can sense the small subconscious movements of your hand and arms and so divine your secret choices, hidden intentions, preferred directions, and buried desires. Through delicate movements of wings and tail, it will lead you to any object you are thinking of, wherever it may be in the room, building or city.

During his residency Stuart developed an IdeoBird device. He aimed to explore the cognitive science of the mysterious ideomotor response, and create a subtle biofeedback Brain-Computer Interface to manipulate the unconscious and create an enchanted and unique magical performance.

Stuart Nolan is an applied magician with a background in performance, cell biology, interactive media, experience design, programming, technology development, academic research, playful and performative facilitation, and education. His performance art practice combines traditional sleight-of-hand conjuring, psychological illusion, memory feats, hypnosis, performance poetry, sideshow tradition, abstract vaudeville, storytelling, and discrete uses of bespoke technology. Since a NESTA Fellowship in 2002, he has collaborated with others to apply techniques, tools, and insights from the arts of performance magic to a variety of other creative fields including installation art, architecture, visual design, game design, software design, media, sport, and performance arts.

Stuart Nolan and fellow resident Kieron Kirkland were supported by the Magician in Residence scheme, co-hosted by Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio and The Bristol Interaction and Graphics Group in the Computer Science Department of the University of Bristol. Beginning on 1 Oct 2013 and lasting for two months, the residencies culminated in a public showcase event at Watershed in December.

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