Fine artist Luciana Haill has pioneered the monitoring of brainwaves (the EEG signal) in Art. Her work intersects new technology, creativity and research with dreams, the brain and the unconscious to make mental processes visible (in particular, lucid dreams, meditation and nostalgia). She is concerned in ‘seeing with eyes closed’ and esoteric ways of accessing & retrieving ‘The Visionary’ to create her Art.
Luciana experienced viral meningitis as a teenager which led to a fascination with the brain. She studied Fine Art and graduated in Interactive Art under the inspirational leadership of Professor Roy Ascott working with cybernetics and telematics, on an art which is technoetic. Her work has been shown internationally at major venues including The Royal Academy, The Royal Institution, The Sage Gateshead, The Waag Society Amsterdam, The Psychedelic society of The Netherlands, Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, KIBLA in Slovenia, CENART in Mexico City, The Science Gallery ‘Lates’ and The Kinetica Art Fair in London. Research trips have involved travel to Hawaii, New York and India.
She has delivered keynotes & presentations in Mexico City in CENART, iMal in Brussels, The October Gallery in Holborn, for ‘Breaking Convention’ in Greenwich University, Nesta in Shoreditch Village Underground. And created installations for pop-ups in festivals ‘The Secret Garden Party” science tent, Hackstock V, Modern Panic X & in The Guerrilla Zoo.
Her work often involves the recording of her own or a participant’s brainwaves, assisting them in accessing their unconscious mind during live events. She sets about emulating altered states in fully awake participants using techniques involving Augmenting Reality, Strobe lights, Neurofeedback (a training process using technology to provide you with more information about what your brain is doing). The immediate interviewing of participants about their experiences is an important aspect of the whole process. Her work also traces the convergence of tools, inventions & side effects like ‘Entoptic visuals’ from early European Neuroscience pioneers with those of ‘The Beats’ from Paris such as the ‘Dreamachine’ (a kinetic sculpture that increases the brain’s Theta waves via a timed flickering light) and the symbiont mind of author William Burroughs & artist Brion Gysin.
Her research includes training with Dr Stephen Laberge from The Lucidity Institute in Hawaii & Dr Keith Hearne the British pioneer responsible for detecting Lucid Dreaming in the sleep laboratory. She has connected several times in Deal, Kent with the original photographer of this era Harold Chapman (now in his nineties) for further anecdotes & research. She was Artist in residence in the University of Greenwich for the Department of Psychology in the UK from 2016-2019.
Her installations take the form of sensory environments that enable participants to access new ways of experiencing & perceiving. These works often involve the real-time monitoring of the participants own brainwaves & use other forms of biofeedback such as heart rate, performatively using techniques from neuroscience, hypnosis & meditation, to control & create interactive experiences using sound and videos.
In 2016 she made ‘Sleep Cycles’ a mixed media installation exploring dreaming, reverie and consciousness comprising of the brainwave (EEG) visualisation of a vivid dream recorded by the artist, amongst her automatic drawings, readymades and sound exhibited in ‘Technology is not neutral’. Initially in Brighton’s Phoenix Galleries, and then in The Watermans Art Centre in London until January 2017. This followed directly from her participation as an artist in the International Association for the Study of Dreams week long symposium 2016 in Rolduc, Holland. Further developments including the ‘The Phrontesterion‘ dentist chair were shown in ‘Real/Virtual’ show in The Ugly Duck warehouse in Bermondsey in June 2017.
Her pioneering brainwave music was featured in a documentary about legendary electronic musician Raymond Scott by his son. Luciana was a visiting research fellow in The University of Sussex from 2011-2106 for The Department of Informatics and is ‘Head of Hypnagogia in The Institute of Unnecessary Research. In 2012 she worked in a Symposium open to students and the general public for Arts and New Sciences inside CENART in Mexico City DF.
In 2007 she was funded by The Arts Council to create ‘Cyber Sleep” & the same year Luciana also co-authored & created two sound works for The Bio-Tracking Project in collaboration with Anna Dumitriu. This was in conjunction to a visit to STEIM in The Netherlands together. You can read & download the paper here : Creative Uses of Virtual Sticky Notes in Art – A Critical Interrogation of The “Bio-tracking” Smart Phone Based Exhibition.
In 2014 she was awarded a second ‘Grant for the Arts’ award from The Arts Council to research and develop new interactive work with EEG and Dreamachines ‘The Phrontesterion’, and her paper was published in The AISB-50 Symposium on “The Future of Art and Computing: A Post-Turing Centennial Perspective”, from ICT & Art Connect is available to read and download here : Revelations by Flicker, Dreamachines and Electroencephalographic signals in art’. And since then she has been exploring a new musical performance with musician Arthur Brown which they debuted in ‘Bestiville’ to an audience of 5000 guests on the Isle of Wight!
In 2018 with the help of an Arts Council she created ‘Apparitions‘ an augmented reality series of postcards exploring nostalgia, ageism, hauntology and local lost heritage in Hastings & St Leonards :
“The effect of Apparitions’ AR brings to mind a form of modern-day conjuring or ‘seancing’ of ghosts or phantasms. A form of assisted imaginative time travel enables you to peer through a portal and down the corridors of history.”
‘Funded by a ‘Grantium’ from The Arts Council of England (focussing on my hometown of Hastings & St Leonards) I designed and produced an ‘augmented reality’ application called ‘Apparitions’. It triggers spectral artworks: 3d models with anachronistic soundscapes when viewing special vintage postcards of the sites using smartphone cameras. Digitally Elevating traditional souvenirs of obsolete sites into steganographic missives, described by Mark Fisher’s as ‘hauntological,’ embedding the past into the future so it may be interrogated as a simulation and a simulacrum.’
She is a visiting lecturer on the MA level Digital Media Arts course in Brighton University
‘Luciana’s work is sharp and inquiring. She sets up performance installations whereby we (the audience) witness her (the artist) undertake elements of experiment and ritual on our behalf. But this is only half the story, as what the artist does really well is also simultaneously build overarching state changes for us to experience as transformational to our own senses. This blending of putting her own experiences at stake, in order to then facilitate our own sensory involvement, is a clever mechanism to draw together the science, philosophy and magical elements of her work, in ways that are as smart as they are generous.’ – Robert Pacitti, Artist, Director & Curator – SPILL Festival of Performance