Friday, September 28, 2007

The Beat writer William S. Burroughs, who was a friend of Gysin and frequently experimented with the Dreamachine, wrote: “Subjects report dazzling lights of unearthly brilliance and color. . . elaborate geometric constructions of incredible intricacy build up from multidimensional mosaic into living fireballs like the Mandalas of Eastern mysticism or resolve momentarily into apparently individual images and powerfully dramatic scenes like brightly colored dreams."

Dreaming is scientifically thought to occur when Alpha brain waves are dominant and the brain enters a deep state of relaxation or meditative rest. In the early 1960's the Parisian artist Brion Gysin, with the help of his friend the mathematician Ian Sommerville, invented a type of stroboscopic machine, popularly known as the Dreamachine. Designed to be viewed with the eyes closed, it sends pulses of light into the brain that match the rhythm of alpha wave cycles, at a rate between 8-13 hertz, which is about 78 RPM on a turntable.

A low-tech version of the dream machine can be made with a turntable, some opaque cardboard which is fashioned into a rotating cylinder, some glue, and scissors, and a light bulb. Details for building this version are here.

Make magazine recently posted a video podcast where Mitch Altman and Bre Pettis show you how to make a brain machine based on Altman's idea using microcontrollers and open source software.

More here:


James said...

I just picked up a Proteus unit and will be getting the bio-feedback part shortly. We should get together and throw a synasthesia circus man. (Jester)

meme contributor said...

I have yet to be acquainted with your Proteus unit, we should be introduced soonish, yeah?!