Phantasmagoria

I recently revisited my earliest EEG artwork “Phantasmagoria” and developed it into “The Creation of The Strobes” shown in The Waag, NL as ‘work in progress’. So I am now retrieving archive mediation of the performance from photos and tape cassettes, to show where this began and how the 2 works inform each other.

The photos show the EEG sensors across the forehead,  the radio-wave EEG transmitter is on the back of my head with a small aerial, and it is styled into a glowing sci-fi device and my costume displays the rave influence with my own style and obsession with pink light at the time. Certain frequencies of fast scientific strobe light appear pink, before white. The Apple Centris computer has the EEG radio received on top, connected to the mac by RS232 cable using a ‘Keyspan’ adapter into usb. It is showing one channel of EEG, the second computer had the second channel to control Macromedia Director interactive project that was being projected over the helium balloons and walls of the boiler room beneath the university in Caerleon, Newport, Wales.

Phant1centris

 

Installation I made in 1995, using Apple Mac Centris x 2, IBVA radiowave stereo EEG system, helium balloons, in a boiler room under the University in Caerleon, Newport, Gwent, Wales. It was the culmination of a year experimenting with realtime EEG and interactive Art – controlling a Macromedia Director stack of images and video loops, changes made by cognitive shifts in attention, meditation and trance.

The theme behind the performance was the novel by Aldous Huxley “Brave New World” which I adjusted into my concept of “Brave New Woman” assisted by Prozac. The biography “Prozac Nation’ by Elizabeth Wurtzeil was very important at the time, and I was interested in Noo-tropics, smart drugs, the legal hights available to augment the pressures of being a creative student. Brave New World spoke of ‘Soma’ with an amazing similarity to ecstasy and the culture of MDMA enhanced experiences many of us related to. The Soma in the future , appeared to give emotions and enhanced sensory details to people who were in other ways restricted, much like Prozac. The similarity with ecstasy and the emerging sub culture of serotonin surfing was dominant in my work, as the EEG allowed information combined with synthesis of natural substances to be studied. I am wearing a Sheep Jumping over the fold t-shirt implying sleep research from a time when sleep was more scarce, and future work was to focus more on sleep hormones, Lucid dreaming and the brain. All images connect to larger version on click:

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