Dreamachine preview: A drug-free hallucinogenic trip

A mind-bending gentle and sound extravaganza is coming to a city close to you, and it may assist unravel the mysteries of the mind


23 March 2022

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Dreamachine’s gentle and sound present can produce intense hallucinations and a way of calm

Brenna Duncan


Jennifer Crook

Unboxed Festival

IN THE late Fifties, when altered states of consciousness have been all the trend, the artist Brion Gysin invented a drug-free path to psychedelic euphoria. His Dreamachine – a spinning cylinder that shines flashing lights onto a viewer’s closed eyes – was supposed as a shortcut to religious enlightenment for the plenty.

Now, artwork producer Jennifer Crook has revisited Gysin’s invention as a sci-art multimedia expertise. The goal is to supply a communal head journey that won’t solely increase guests’ expertise, but additionally probe the depths of human consciousness.

Crook obtained the concept for the challenge after having a transcendent expertise whereas at a gig by digital music artist Jon Hopkins. She went on to enlist Hopkins to offer the soundtrack to the up to date Dreamachine, which might be touring the UK as a part of the Unboxed Festival.

At the centre of the set up are vivid hallucinations created by the mind in response to particular sensory inputs. In the Fifties, the pioneering neuroscientist Grey Walter found that dreamlike hallucinations may very well be induced by lights flashing on closed eyelids at 8 to 12 hertz, the identical frequency because the oscillations of “alpha” brainwaves after we are relaxed and wakeful with our eyes closed. Normally, after we open our eyes, these alpha waves are disrupted by visible inputs. Flashing lights at alpha wave frequencies on closed eyelids stimulates the optic nerve, however supplies little visible data, and the mind responds by producing hallucinations.

Because of this, the Dreamachine can produce kaleidoscopic visions and a way of calm. These hallucinations can also reveal rather a lot about the way in which the mind works. As a part of the challenge, neuroscientists Anil Seth and David Schwartzman on the University of Sussex, UK, Dreamachine‘s gentle and sound present can produce intense hallucinations and a way of calm are accumulating the experiences of tourists, which they hope to make use of as a window into the workings of the mind. Seth is among the many many scientists who imagine that hallucinations are a part of the way in which that our brains generate our acutely aware expertise of the world.

One main query considerations perceptual variety – how different or comparable our inside psychological experiences could also be. We know that all of us see the world in numerous methods, however science can’t but clarify how and why. In an try to analyze this, an optionally available survey will ask members to log their visible experiences utilizing color palettes, animations and form picks.

Other questions will deal with the emotional features of the expertise, which could be intense. Hopkins’s music alone, when performed by way of 360-degree audio system across the viewers, can provide an eerie feeling of stepping out of time and right into a state of being that often comes with a meditative state.

As properly because the bodily exhibition, a web-based census will seize perceptual variety from tens of millions of individuals all over the world, whereas a faculties programme might be rolled out across the UK. Through actions and sources, kids might be inspired to ask questions on how they understand the world and to discover how this differs from the experiences of others. The analysis workforce’s resident thinker, Fiona Macpherson, says the aim is to indicate them how, in our variations, we’re all linked.

This goal brings Dreamachine again to the beliefs of its inventor, who hoped to present individuals the expertise of being catapulted into a better stage of consciousness. Crook’s new imaginative and prescient is much more bold: to discover the depths of the human mind whereas realising the variation in our interior worlds and celebrating neurodiversity.

Dreamachine will tour London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh from May to September. Sign up at no cost tickets at

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