I took part in a study at BEAM LAB as a 'neurotypical control subject. This was my first experience in experimental psychology as a participant. I found this deeply significant for my research; actually experiencing the full process of an experiment in the context of a lab. There were a number of questionnaires and tasks. Psychometric tests are concerned with the measurement of mental abilities, personality traits, intelligence. Typically these will be questionnaires and other puzzles 'tasks'. I found the activity to be deeply relaxing. also the format, in my opinion, ripe for creative subversion. It generated a lot of new ideas which I will write about this experience in more detail soon.
Constructing a sense of self
"He felt dizzy, stood up, turned around, and saw himself still lying in bed. He was aware that the person in bed was him, and was not willing to get up and would thus make himself late for work. Furious at the prone self, the man shouted at it, shook it, and even jumped on it, all to no avail..." This article encapsulates some of the most important ideas, concepts and developments which lead towards the experiments on the simulation of out of body experiences. The article mentions Peter Brugger, Olaf Blanke and Thomas Metzinger, as well as some details of patient experiences, and the story of how this experiment came about. As well as the illusion of seeing one's self"autoscopy' There
Carsten Holler / Olafur Eliasson
Carsten Holler is a key example within this study, often re- appropriating science for the purposes of art. Staging ‘Quasi-scientific’ experiments (Windsor, 2018) which transform the gallery into a laboratory. Often disorientating the viewer, or more appropriately, the participant. As well as the large-scale installations smaller performative works such as ‘Kit for Exploration of the Self’ (Carsten. Holler, 1995) take the form of durational perception changing instruments such as ‘Upside Down Glasses’ (Carsten Holler, 1994-2018). These both directly re-appropriate methods from experimental psychology (Stratton, 1896). Many of the works require the participant to travel through them or offer the opportunity to make decisions of which there are no return or unknown outcomes, further reinforcing this active notion of experience as
‘Augmented hand series’ by Golan Levin, Chris Sugrue, and Kyle McDonald, 2013-2015) ‘MIRAGE Illusion Box’ (Roger Newport, 2008) These are two very similar projects which both transform the image of a hand in real time using Augmented Virtuality (AV, the digital manipulation of real-world objects). Both take the form of a black box, into which the hand is placed. When inside the participant can see their hand as if looking through a window into the box. Inside the box, a system of mirrors and motion tracking is used. An augmented or distorted digital image of the hand is relayed to a screen on the top of the box. Despite the technical similarities, both works stem from entirely different motivations. The ‘MIRAGE Illusion Box’ (Newport, 2018)
Be Another Lab
This International group interdisciplinary group adopt mechanisms employed in the cognitive sciences, such as the work of Mel Slater, and the arts. Their project ‘The Machine to Be Another’ allows anyone to experience a perspective from the body of an-other. The group speak of ‘expanding subjective experience’ and ‘understanding the relationship between identity and empathy from an embodied perspective’ (http://beanotherlab.org/) Using HMDs and live video, they have developed a number of critical applications. Investigating a wide range of issues including gender and disability. The group study the impact this work can have on people’s lives, employing methods of action research and co-creation. Be Another Lab embraces an open source approach. Sharing and developing their project through workshops, making the tools and
Labyrinth Psychotica is an artistic research project that aims to simulate the experience of psychosis. It uses multisensory [tactile and sonic] elements in combination with the maze environment, to create a fully immersive experience. The maze mechanism also serves as a metaphor for attempting to get inside the mind of another. The investigation aimed to not only portray an experience of psychosis but one that was ‘artistic’. It further asks if such an endeavour could prove ‘useful’. Though I can only speak from my experience of the work , it did seem effective in conveying elements of this experience, such as; loss of personal boundaries, and blurred borders between the body and space. Another element which resonates with Action Lab is the
Tactile Anchoring Device prototype 2
The first film of the Tactile Anchoring Device in progress, showing the use of brushes and fans to generate the illusion of an invisible hand... https://youtu.be/vHaB6HBbQrs The system is based on an Arduino controls two sets of identical stimuli which move in synchronisation with each other [ servo motor, articulating solenoids, fans, lamps etc] Once the participant is experiencing the illusion, the operator or autonomous systems can trigger a ‘shock’ or threat stimuli. This is currently in the form of a solenoid which releases a heaved plum line weight which drops into the empty space. See the project page here. http://antonyhall.net/blogtactile-anchoring-device/
Meeting With Sally Linkenauger
Notes from a meeting With Sally Linkenauger Lancaster University Psychology Dept. After discovering Sally's research at the BRnet conference I wanted to experience her experiments, so I asked if I could visit her lab. The VR lab looks like a normal office space, PCs scattered around the outside, and loads of VR tech hanging around. On closer inspection, a network of cameras is installed around the space to enable complex motion capture and augmented reality experiments to be undertaken. There is a treadmill in the corner. In the experiment I tried, a leap motion sensor captures the movements of your real hand, allowing you to articulate a virtual hand. The experiment requires some time to become used to the VR environment. At first,
The Ganzfeld [ 'total field' ] experiment is a form of perceptual deprivation, giving an experience of a uniform field of light [More information here] . has become a staple activity in my workshops. Rather than sitting still and listening to sounds I have been opening this up as a mobile activity, or 'navigation' as I have started to call it. It serves as an icebreaker, often requiring people to work in pairs to move through spaces, following ropes or sonic stimuli. The purpose is to heighten the participant's awareness through altering their perceptual experience of space. Participants become aware of new structures of light or start using the body in a different way in order to move, becoming more
Speaking with an artist while making plans for a future Action Lab, I came up with the idea of making these lenticular glasses [Above], which use a lenticular lens [textured with lines or ridges] which have the effect of dividing the visual field into lines. In an urban or interior space, vertical and horizontal lines are common. These become enhance or reduced depending on the orientation of the lens. Using the lens in a vertical alignment, steps become invisible, but when the lens is rotated they become enhanced. Using a combination of both things get even stranger. Point light sources create strong bright lines. I have yet these in a natural environment.
The Multi-faceted body
A few notes from the BRnet Conference the Multi-faceted body. June 2018, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK I felt strangely at home among so many research projects that use the hand as a model for the wider issues of body representation and ownership. Keynote speaker Mel Slater's talked about his playful and engaging research. Slater’s work centres around the idea of using immersive virtual reality as a medium to transform the self, not just the reality of a space. His research projects include self-help therapy. The project Personified Self Interaction (Osimo et al., 2015) allowed ‘you’ [embodied within an avatar of Freud] are able to talk to ‘yourself’ [an automated replay of you, embodied within an avatar of yourself] and vice-versa. This enables the
This experiment induces the sensation of a phantom presence in the room. The participant blindfolded is asked to use a stylus to prod an empty space in front of them. Using a tactile feedback system and a robot arm, the participant feels as if they are prodding themselves in the back. As the experiment progresses the system adds a delay to this prodding. At this stage, the participants become freaked out believing that someone else if prodding them... https://youtu.be/GnusbO8QjbE Link to the paper... Neurological and Robot-Controlled Induction of an Apparition https://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)01212-3
Fieldwork / Night walk
I teamed up with artist Annie Carpenter to pull together a small group of artists and friends for a night of ‘fieldwork’. We organised an overnighter to do some experiments and have discussions together in the relaxed atmosphere of Middlewood Trust study centre; an off-grid permaculture farm. I had worked here before with [Annie and Sam Illingworth] doing some workshops with their students on a previous 'field research' style project. The concept captured my interest. We wanted to create a situation where we could work as well as have time and space to chat about ideas with others. My equipment consisted of my laptop, Arduino, [with a relay shield for experiments] and some electronics, GoPro, 360-degree camera. Also a heavy rechargeable
Tactile Anchoring Device Prototype 1
Here is my prototype device intended to help autonomously generate the 'invisible hand illusion'. For this experiment, I created a series of brushes which rotate at different speeds stroking empty space. The idea was that the participant watches this device, while the brushing motion is replicated one their real hand hidden nearby. This is building towards a piece of work called 'On the embodiment of a discrete Volume of Empty Space' [ See http://antonyhall.net/blogtactile-anchoring-device/ ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI-f6KgRD2w&w=700&h=400
In this experiment, they created a simple device [Hearspace App] incorporating a compass and headphones. It "allows users to reliably hear the direction of magnetic North as a stable sound object in external space on a headphone. They found that "long-lasting integration into the perception of self-rotation. Short training with amplified or reduced rotation gain in the magnetic signal can expand or compress the perceived extent of vestibular self-rotation, even with the magnetic signal absent in the test" I was struck by this statement "sensory substitution and augmentation research has aimed to restore sensory functionality from non-invasive afferent signals of artificial sensors...there has been little concrete evidence that truly perceptual experiences have ever been obtained via this approach" Sensory augmentation: integration of an auditory
Poster – BRnet Conference 2018
Electronic Taste Perception Workshop – Radiona
[Here is some documentation from one of the activities for the 're-mapping the senses workshop earlier this year...] Our sense of taste is directly affected by the colour and smell of the food. Experiments prove that the colour of a drink affects our perception of its sweetness for example. Altering the sound of the food, say adjusting the high-end frequencies while eating crisps can also affect our perception of the crunchiness of those crisps [see the paper here. Playing with these assumptions and expectations can create heightened food experiences. There have been a number of studies that suggest it is possible to simulate Sweetness, bitterness, sourness. Specifically, we test these settings as claimed by the Vocktail project [see below] to simulate the following sensations... Sour: magnitude of current: 180
Clay Hand Experiment – Whitworth Art Gallery
This was the first of the public workshops performed specifically for my research. My experiments so far have taken place as 1-1 sessions in artists studios or at the university. In a more open drop-in format, the participants were invited to experiment on themselves. Opening up the environment to one of play rather than pure participation. Breaking the experimenter/participant loop, creating a flexible relationship between myself and the participants. This was more in keeping with the idea of a phenomenological investigation allowing the experience to ‘unfold’. This had a dual effect of actively involving and empowering the participants while being able to observe the process from the outside. This meant notes and make recordings could be taken more effectively. Further reading:Read more
Proprioceptive drift visualisation
[wpvideo VartTqKO ] My experiments show a strong ‘drift’ in the perceived location of the hand before and after the experiment. This is known as proprioceptive drift. I asked people to locate the position of their index finger under a platform before and after embodying a clay object. And also draw their hand without looking before and afterwards. This animation shows these superimposed, illustrating the drift away from the real location of the hand.
Fish-brain-machine / Radiona workshop
After constructing the Fish-brain-machine PCB circuits we spent some time experimenting and describing the hallucinogenic visuals created by the stroboscopic light. The ping pong balls over the eyes diffuse the LED light, making for a more intense effect - and enabling use with eyes open. Here they describe some of the effects including seeing colours and 'a strange experience' of seeing with only one eye - I get this exact same feeling when using it. It is also hard to know if your eyes are open or closed. [See also Re-mapping the senses workshop ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwne5xICLkI
Possibly one of the simplest experiments possible to conduct, requiring no special equipment. Simply stare at your hand for 5 mins. The experiment is described in the paper “the tickly homunculus and the origins of spontaneous sensations arising on the hands" in which you focus on your hand while staring at it (convergent focusing) or divergent focusing (staring at red marker next to the hand you are focussing on) for just 10 seconds and report the sensations. Here are the outcomes superimposed from 8 participants. In this experiment, many of the bemused participants described a tingling where the hand made contact with the table. They were bemused because I did this experiment in the context of our methods and methodologies discussion group - where I was
Radiona workshop, Zagreb
I'm doing a workshop related to my research, perceptual illusions and altering perception through experiments, Clay hand illusion and other activities based on sound and light and taste, at Radiona Zagreb, 21-22/04/2018 https://radiona.org/ check out the web Re-mapping the senses workshop page and resources here...
As part of my Enki exhibition at Kapellica Gallery in Ljubljana 2012, I developed a related perceptual illusions and brain hacks workshop with Marc Dusseiller [Hackteria], as part of the gallery’s Biotech program. We came up with the idea to make a special issue circuit for the workshop and we set to work designing a circuit the encapsulated the Enki project in miniature. After a couple late nights, we came up with this super cool PCB design. Marc worked hard to create a fully functional efficient design, which was also aesthetically pleasing. The outline of the fish is also the ground in the circuit. This has to be the most ultra minimal brain-machine available to build. 6 components. We spent further
Strange face illusion with two-way Mirror feedback
“… a quiet room dimly lit by a 25 W incandescent light. The lamp was placed on the floor behind the observer so that it was not visible either directly or in the mirror. A relatively large mirror (0.5 m60.5 m) was placed about 0.4 m in front of the observer. The luminance of the reflected face image within the mirror was about 0.2 cd mÿ2 and this level allowed detailed perception of fine face traits but attenuated colour perception…The task of the observer was to gaze at his/her reflected face within the mirror. Usually, after less than a minute, the observer began to perceive the strange-face illusion…” Giovanni B Caputo, Perception, 2010, volume 39, pages 1007 – 1008 2010
Mechanically Augmented Reality
When I first learned about the Rubber hand illusion [RHI] I immediately began to think about ways in which the process could be automated to create an artwork, in which the experimenter's presence was removed. This could be done using sensors and a microcontroller to articulate solenoids to tap fingers for example. That thought train was on a back burner until discovered the work of fellow MMU PGR Lin Charlston. As part of her PhD research [See her profile here 'The Multimodal book as organism, artefact and assemblage: non-human agency in processes of growing and making'] She invented a beautifully simple, entirely mechanical device just to do exactly this. Your hand is placed inside a box, while the other hand turns a crank. On top of the box, another rubber hand
On the embodiment of unfeasible objects
Further to my last post detailing experiments relating to the embodiment of invisible and even third hands, here are some notes on my first 'Clay hand Illusion' experiments... The ‘Rubber hand illusion’ shows it is possible to convince participants that a rubber hand is their own by placing it in front of them while stroking it in the same way as their hidden real hand. The use of self-made clay hands, or objects [see below] in place of the rubber hand raises several interesting possibilities for exploration, which move away from the embodiment of replica body parts, and towards the possible embodiment of modified body parts, or completely 'unfeasible' objects.The clay allows for the gradual and immediate morphing of forms and for the
Illusions of Invisible, alien hands, 3 arms, and shrinking bodies…
I have previously posted about the original 'rubber hand illusion' in which participants are convinced a fake rubber hand is their own. A classic low tech experiment that can help us "understand how sight, touch and “proprioception” the sense of body position, combine to create a convincing feeling of body ownership, one of the foundations of self-consciousness (Nature 1998, vol 391, p 756 )” Further to this research recent studies have gone on to experimentally induct of out of body experiences or create body swap illusions. [ Henrik Ehrsson and Olaf Blanke http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-08/ucl-foe081407.php ] Between these two experiments, several interesting versions of hand-related experiments also exist which demonstrate the plasticity of our body perception... The Alien Hand Experiment first created in the 1960s predates the Rubber hand experiment, seems more 'trick'
Blind drawing of hand
Blind drawing of hand starting from the left and using a continuous line, before and after experiments. Could this exercise be used as a measure of "proprioceptive drift" before and after 'Rubber hand illusion' type experiments? I will be exploring this idea soon with the research group at BEAM lab...
Clay hand drawings
Here are are a selection of drawn outlines of clay hands created by workshop participants aged 6 to 12 for the original clay hand experiment (see posts tagged rubber hand or clay hand) Participants of all ages were asked to create a hand and use it in place of a replica rubber hand, the idea was to test if a self-created hand was easier to connect with. The hands were then taken and worked on further, sometimes becoming more distorted and abstract.
Drawing a strange face in the dark
Shortly after my experience of the "Strange face in the mirror experiment" I made these drawings in low light conditions as a way of recording the perceivable elements of my face and shape of the head. The particles of carbon and graphite reflect well the visual noise, like static, one experiences in the experiment. These drawings don't illustrate the hallucinations I experienced [these will follow] "staring at one's own reflection in a mirror in a darkened room for some time can induce vivid hallucinations. For purposes of research, I had to try it" My experience of the ‘strange face illusion’... For my description of my experience of the 'strange face', illusion see here... "staring at one's own reflection in a mirror in a darkened room for