Luciana Haill

Brainwaves Augmenting Consciousness


Robert Pacitti, Artist, Director & Curator – SPILL Festival of Performance, October 2014

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.


John Martin Moore, Clinical Hypnotherapist – ‘An assistant’s experience’  Kinetica 2014

“That was weird!” said the middle aged man as he stood up from the green dentists chair,  he blinked and rubbed his eyes. “Does that happen every time?”
I really didn’t have an honest answer to his question. “I’m not sure” I said shrugging my shoulders…

I was there to assist Luciana for the first day of the Kinetica show. Brick Lane was busy and I arrived 20 minutes late trying to find the entrance door to get in. It was Thursday morning and most of the exhibitors were still hurrying around getting set up when I arrived, to an organising of chaos.

We’d hadn’t even finished tidying the stand and were still running tests on the screens when a smartly dressed young woman arrived and asked when she could have a go. It went on like this for most of the day, all the while a small audience stood and watched in bemusement.

In my day job I work as a clinical hypnotherapist and I also teach Integral Eye Movement Therapy (IEMT) but like most people I’ve often wondered about the phenomena of dreams. Where do they come from and what do they mean? So when I saw Luciana was asking for assistance opening up the show I cleared my diary and bought a ticket to London.

Maybe it was the swirling circular movement of the lights that drew people in to stand motionless and stare, some people wouldn’t move off the spot for an hour. The flickering light stoned them in silence as they tried to snatch an small dream experience before it was their turn. As you can imagine there were no shortage of volunteers offering themselves up to have their head looked into as twe wired them up into the chair.

So, my job was to get them settled in relaxed and comfortable. so with a few gentle words they would lay back and start their session. Meanwhile Luciana would be wiring up the EEG sensors to their forehead, arranging the headphones to a comfortable position while testing the computer was picking up their brainwaves. Through closed eyes the volunteers would experience a strobe red and then dark light pattern. This effect came from a LED bulb that was suspended  from the ceiling which was surrounded by the dream machine mask.

The dream machine consists of a twinkling stream of light at rate of around the 15Hz together with a  real-time biofeedback sonification of their brain signals.. This 15Hz frequency is known as low beta-waves and is what a normal waking brain resonates at when we’re alert and vigilant. However, when we close our eyes for more than a few moments we slow our brain down to a meditating or dozing off state, this would normally lead us to go off to sleep.

But when our volunteers were facing the twinkling lights through closed eyes their imagination would take over as it tried to make sense of the input data it received and dreaming would start to happen. From where I was standing I could see the Brain Machine (IBVA) graphical readings as they flowed across the computer screen, this represented the volunteers brainwaves across both hemispheres as they responded to the ‘trippy’ light show.

It’s hard to put into words the expressions on the faces of the people after they completed their turn. I guess the only real way to know for yourself is find Luciana and see if she will let you have a go.
– 16th October 2014

From ‘The Flickering Phrontesterion


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