Published on November 27, 2013 | by Edwige Dubois0
Take a trip with the Lucid Light SalonEver wondered what it would be like to explore your subconscious while you were still awake? ALN goes on a journey of mind exploration at the Lucid Light Salon art collective
Light Eye Mind is an artists’ collective based in Finsbury Park, North London. Tom Spicer, Fine Art student at CSM, and brothers Daniel and Alex Jeronymides-Norie collaborate with other artists to produce the Hypnagogic light experience.
The ‘mind artists’ use a flickering light device to create a space for you to drift into an altered state of consciousness, enabling you to apparenlty explore your inner mind.
The machine is described by Alex as a “mysterious black obelisk, Planet of the Apes, Space Odessey 2001 box in the corner of our salon”, otherwise known as Lucia Number Three, or the Hypnagogic Light Machine — a lamp installation developed by two Austrian doctors, psychologist Engelbert Winkler and neurologist Dirk Proeckl.
The visitor takes a seat alone in a black tent, puts on headphones, faces the device and closes their eyes. An attendant then places a stroboscopic lamp in front of them. The music, the flickering LEDs and a constant light are switched on as the tent is closed from the outside.
The shapes and colour patterns start to dance before one’s eyes. Lucia Number Three stimulates the brain’s alpha waves using various frequencies of stroboscopic lights and a halogen bulb at varying levels of brightness, all orchestrated by computer software.
The light portal will lead you to access a meditative, trance-like state of awareness, filled with images projected by the visual pathways of your own mind.
The salon is open to everyone — you don’t need to belong to any art world or any school of thought. Although they have a permanent home in Finsbury Park, the collective is also nomadic.
“It is a state which can feel similar to a near-death experience, deep mediation or the effects of psychedelic drugs.” – Alex Jeronymides-Norie
Light Eye Mind is continuously sharing the light experience by attending events across London, touring the UK and even travelling abroad. They have just come back from the Mind Body Spirit festival in Brighton and a UFO event in Birmingham.
Alex, one of the founders of the Light Eye Mind collective, sees the salon as “a space for likeminded individuals to come in and engage with us how they wish. It’s a creative and imaginative way of being outside of a normal context — one that is not the pub, restaurant or the park.”
You can either book a session or drop in to the salon, and the price varies from £5 to £15. Different length sessions are offered from 12 to over 30 minutes, but a taster of three minutes is recommended to get a feel of what the experience will be for you.
“The introduction session is a glimpse at your mind; the longer sessions are more of a discussion with your mind,” said Tom, one of the artists.
The Hypnagogic light experience guides you towards letting go and accessing the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. The term ‘Hypnagogic’ was coined by the French psychologist, Alfred Maury, in the 19th century from the Greek words, hypnos meaning ‘sleep’ and ‘gogic’ meaning leading or moving towards.
Hypnagogia takes you somewhere between your conscious and your subconscious. The experience enables you to just hold that state which you reach every night before falling asleep or before you fully wake up, and letting you expand your mind into this timeless dimension.
It is a state which can feel similar to a neardeath experiences, deep meditation or the effects of psychedelic drugs, but as Alex puts it: “They can’t illegalise light.”
The light experience challenges the traditional notions of art as it is beyond the material world. It is not a sculpture you can touch or walk around, nor a painting you can return to, but a performance within yourself — you are the artist and the one and only viewer.
The artwork creatively reflects the beauty of your own mind by projecting geometric patterns, arrays of colours, swirls, kaleidoscopic images, galaxies and all sorts of distorted realities and psychedelic visions.Some other experimenters felt like they were floating outside their body, others said they had childhood flashbacks — the visions are as unique as you are. The experience is very elusive. From the moment you try to identify or name what you see, the image evaporates and another vision appears; cognition cannot control the mind.
Jenny Thompson, artist and experimenter at the Lucid Light Salon, left a testimony on the collective’s Facebook page to describe her trip: “Parallel spheres twisting independently back and forth in a galaxy.
“Infinite pink sexy squiggles no bigger than rice slinking around. Centre points of concentrated colour diffusing out into star-shaped flakes. Marching lines of rigid forests bending inwards on themselves. Circles evaporating into rich landscapes of globuled hills. Pastel planes punctured by multi-faceted droplets.”
Every day is a learning experience for the artists as they sample each visitor’s thoughts, descriptions and feedback. Tom talked about how central the art of conversation is their spiritual quest — firstly, the internal conversation created by the mind and the light-play, and secondly the sharing of the experience in words.
Collective consciousness is the idea that all minds are cells of a giant spiritual mind, linked by a network of interaction. The things we say to each other are like packages of information that are absorbed, reused, shared and often twisted by each along the chain.
“It’s an idea of collective consciousness that comes out of this space. It’s about that live-feed of information that is being passed from mind to mind through dialogue,” says Tom.
He spoke in a very mesmerising way about exchanging ideas: “What I’m saying now has been said in this space before, and I’ve learnt it through what someone else has said to me.”
Tom, Daniel and Alex are aware of the limitations of language as there is no way of knowing if a person has seen the same visuals as someone else — description is filtered by the personal use of words. However, there is something universal in the way that people seem to respond to the experience; their excitement and astonishment after the session is palpable.
The experience is not advertised as a treatment at all, but some participants found a soothing aspect to it — releasing physical tensions or relieving stress. Light is known to have some healing virtues and light deprivation is recognised as a cause of depression.
The light device is said to stimulate the pineal gland of the brain, sometimes referred to as the ‘third eye’, which produces the hormones that modulate wake and sleep. In response, what the mind perceives is beyond ordinary sight.
Light carries information. “When you sit down in our light portal and you close your eyes, this information burns through your eyelids. Your mind is still processing information just as it does with your eyes open but that process is something that relies within the individual,” explained Alex. “You are receiving light and light is consciousness,” he added.
New AgeMind expansion has been explored for centuries by many civilisations in shamanic ceremonies and spiritual rites, through meditation or the use of various hallucinogenic plants.
Meditation is the art of doing nothing and it is hard work to let go of thoughts until the mind is free to expand into other visual and sonic dimensions; practitioners need years of practise to reach this deep state of awareness.
Alex believes that people have different concepts of meditation: “Some people who meditate and tried the machine find it far too stimulating, but what they don’t realise is that we can slow down programmes or enjoy constant light — you would feel as if you where in a field meditating.”
The use of technology to induce this mental state announces a New Age where science and spirituality are converging.
Tom spoke about how technology has been key to his discovery of what is beyond the material world: “My understanding of this other stuff came through a lamp and software on a computer. It seems a very good example of this age, our relationship with science, transitions and where we are going.”
New Age refers to a western spiritual movement, inspired by ancient eastern and western metaphysical philosophies and spiritual practices. The common belief that the mind, body and spirit are interrelated is central to the movement that flourished in the second half of the 20th century.
Although the mass media coined the term New Age to describe an alternative spiritual subculture, these practises are now surfacing in the mainstream; yoga and meditation can be found everywhere to help you with stress management.
This group of artists, Light Eye Mind, live with a very strong sense of belonging to a conscious movement unifying every human being: “It’s about the world together moving towards another state of mind. Apparently we are going from a mind consciousness to a heart consciousness. This is the shift from the age of Pisces to the Aquarian Age,” they claim.