'Every Soma holiday is a bit of what our ancestors used to call eternity. John began to understand- "Eternity was in our lips and eyes" he murmured.'
Aldous Huxley (Brave new world)
One thing should be made clear about the notion of sensory deprivation - there really is no such thing as complete sensory deprivation : In a very real sense You create your own sensory stimulation, this is important to note when we are considering the contemplation of art in conditions of reduced or altered stimulation.
Human beings are born with a drive to experience modes of awareness other than the normal waking one : To be human is to explore and make use of these altered states of consciousness. Writers such as Terence Mckenna have suggested that perhaps in pre-historic times a "Feedback loop" with hallucinogenic substances found in nature may be responsible for mans leap from Bipedal ape to full human consciousness-
'The primate gains increased visual acuity and access to the transcendent other , ever more novel information and sensory input and behavior, and thus is bootstrapped to higher and higher states of self reflection.'
(From 'Plan, Plant, Planet')
My own current explorations have led to being confined in rooms, chambers and floatation tanks, sitting or lying down, gravity free in water, in total darkness, diffused light, in silence, with reduced sound , or bathed in white noise generated by synthesizers, listening to experimental voice tapes played through headphones, mild self hypnosis and encounters with certain drugs.
Outside Art, Inside the Black Room
2. The Installation
4. The Eye Scan Project
5. Art and Environment
6. The S.D. Tank Vs. the 'Motor/Stimulus Deprivation' Chamber
7. The Tank as a Tool for Aesthetic Awareness
Copyright © 1996 Peter Mackay