Cosmic Debris (2012)

Cosmic Debris is an immersive audiovisual experience/performance based on the hypnagogic works of Ian Sommerville, Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs. Their Dreamachine was a device capable of inducing lucid dreams on its viewers by pulsing light at specific frequencies. When watched with closed eyes, these flashing light pulses stimulate the optical nerves and are capable of influencing neuron communication patterns in the brain.

In Cosmic Debris, I use software to generate and manipulate sounds, as well as geometric patterns and other high-contrast images, that beat at these specific frequencies. During the performance, a simple homemade digital controller is used to vary the parameters used to generate these images and sounds, and the frequency at which they oscillate. The images are then projected on top of the viewers, who “watch” the flickering lights with their eyes closed.

Cosmic Debris is different from other audiovisual performances because it doesn’t intend to be any kind of visual spectacle to be watched, but instead it tries to create an environment where the participants can share an unique experience.

Here’s a short video of some initial tests that we conducted at Marginalia+Lab in July of 2012.

A version of this project was presented in 2012 at the Cidade Eletronika Festival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. For this performance, I had the pleasure of working with Yuri Vellasco, who composed a soundtrack and created some live instrumentation for the visuals, and Aline X, who provided visual materials for the piece as well as conceptual and practical guidance.