'Ganzfeld experiment' is an audiovisual work for electric violin, video and signal processing. In parapsychology, a Ganzfeld experiment is a test for evidence of extrasensory perception, particularly telepathic communication. It is based on the Ganzfeld (German for 'total field') effect, which describes the tendency of our central nervous system to invent patterns in random, uniform sensory data, for instance hearing voices in white noise or seeing images in visual static. In a Ganzfeld experiment, a test subject is exposed to such a continuous uniform stimulus field, while another person attempts to send them telepathic messages. My work replicates elements of this experiment in order to explore synaesthetic hallucinations, the electric violin signal gradually manipulating and transforming static noise in both the audio and visual domains. This work is also influenced by esoteric and occult numerology, Tony Conrad and Brion Gysin’s experiments with flicker and the Dreamachine, and Terry Riley's ‘Persian Surgery Dervishes’, which fuses composition with improvisation in a long-form ecstatic, trance-like work. The audio and video processing is done in Max/Jitter with a patch that combines predetermined and random elements.
I’m always interested in how structure interacts with randomness, form with formlessness, and ways in which sound can be used to transform a listener’s perception and sense of time and place. I’m also often looking for ways to expand my musical ideas to other media, through ritual, installation, or visual elements. An important motive in my work is the idea that through sound (and these other elements) we can enter different realms of experience: the mystical, the magical, the shamanistic. In ‘Ganzfeld experiment’, as in many other of my works, I’m particularly searching for an ecstatic experience, one that transports the audience outside of their rational, everyday selves. The constantly panning white noise and visual flicker are intended to induce a hallucinatory state where one’s sense of time and perception are disoriented, becoming prone to suggestibility by the repetitive but subtly morphing sounds and images.