Shadow Work – my corona lockdown art piece – is now available in my webshop! (Right here).
This piece took me two and a half months to complete – and it was all made during corona lockdown.
The idea for Shadow Work – including the title – was completely clear in my head before I started drawing:
There was this woman in the foreground, completely absorbed in the interesting puzzle in front of her. And then I wanted to draw the complexity behind that manageable problem. How a thousand invisible and unconscious connections rise up and form a complex landscape behind the patterns and puzzles in front of us.
Appropriately, I started drawing the piece in March 2020. Perfect timing for shadow work for the entire planet!
And as the corona lockdown was enforced and the closure of the country gave us all ample opportunity to explore how the depths of our own psyche react under pressure and during unusual circumstances, this shadow work idea just became more and more relevant by the hour. Which, of course, made the drawing process even more fun.
It became pretty clear to me that when people are forced to stay at home by themselves, and are forced to get their information on the goings-on in the world through their screens and their internet connections rather than through their own personal experience, well, then what goes on in their heads is primarily a dance orchestrated by their own repressed shadows and their own unconscious automatic reactions. Not reality.
I wish more people would take the time to do some inner work instead of constantly REACTING and getting carried away by stuff on social media. Inner work is slow and laborious and time-consuming, but it is not just ‘worth it’, it is the only way.
Today is June 12th. Three months have passed (almost to the date) since the closing down of the country on March 11th.
Tomorrow, my favourite yoga studio reopens. JOY! So this is the perfect time for me to finish this drawing – which will be done in an hour!
My corona lockdown artwork.
The title is SHADOW WORK. I knew exactly what I wanted to do from the moment I started the drawing in March. I also knew what the title should be.
And I think “Shadow Work” turned out to be the perfect description of what has been going on for the past tree months.
40 hours of work in one minute!
What you see in the video below is the entire process from the empty canvas and the very first pencil sketchings to the finished painting.
The painting is inspired by the patterns and visions formed inside my head during a session with closed eyes in front of the incredible cyberdelic light machine, the Lucia No3.
My first meeting with the light machine was at the Breaking Convention conference at Greenwich University (here’s my article on the conference). Some months later, I was invited to meet up once again with the inventors of the light machine to test out some new functionalities (THANK YOU).
One and a half month after that, on Dec 31st, the painting was done.
Below: The progress video (press play). Soundtrack: Threesixty by Pan-Pot.
Finally a group photo! – of my three hand-painted yoga mats.
They are all available in my shop at chriszka.myshopify.com. Feel free to reach out with any questions – here, or on firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents of Copenhagen? Place your orders by email.
Which one is for you? Here are some keywords:
To the right: Endless Summer 🔥
Fire, enthusiasm, new ideas, peak performance. For the easily distracted, the ones who get 17 new ideas while still in yoga class and need reminders on focus, balance and patience. It took me 75 hours to do the drawing, so the pattern itself serves as a reminder (and it works!). This is the mat I currently use. More info on Endless Summer.
In the middle: Backgammon for Aliens ⚡️🔹
This was the first one. Air, space, aliens, brainwaves! For those who want to enter the cosmic machinery and make their moves on the game board behind the visible world. For the playful lovers of technology. For those who want to turn their yoga practice into a party game: Twister! For those who love buttons, keyboards and deep thoughts but need a break from the screens. This is the one I have done the biggest amount of headstands on. More info on Backgammon for Aliens.
To the left: Island of the Gods. ✨🌊
The newest one! For those, who want to turn their yoga mat into a cosmic surfboard of light and balance. For those who rediscover their equilibrium in the waves of both sound and water. For the musicians, the sound healers and those of us who needs a temple, a totem pole or a trip to the tropics. For reestablishing the connection to the earth. And for the travellers: This is the lightweight mat, 2 mm thinner than the other two. More info on Island of the Gods.
My new hand-painted yoga mat is ready! ✨ Perfect for the darkest time of the year where some of us NEED to turn our yoga mats into cosmic surf boards of light and balance.
This is my third hand-painted yoga mat – transformed from my newest acrylic painting, Island of the Gods.
The painting is inspired by Bali and all the fractal-like patterns on the island: rice fields, temples, portals, sound-healing pyramids, surfboards, waves and electric sunsets. And, of course, yoga everywhere.
Take a closer look at the mat at chriszka.myshopify.com – and order your own.
My article on Breaking Convention is out – the largest conference on psychedelic research in Europe, taking place at Greenwich University in London.
There was so much going on during the three days, and I could have written ten articles about it.
My focus in this one, which was published in this week’s edition of Weekendavisen (Danish national newspaper) is on the cyberdelics at the conference, in particular The Lucia no. 3 (the hypnagogic light machine) and the Isness installation (a virtual reality experience for four people made by computational physicists (+ team) at Bristol University.
The article is here (paywall): The digital trip machines.
A translated version (not prettily translated, yet, but effectively!):
The digital trip machines
It is afternoon in a semi-dark room at Greenwich University in London, and I’ve just tried the wildest machine I’ve ever experienced. Since I put on a virtual reality headset for the first time in 2013, I have grown used to sensory-enhancing experiences provided by machines. I know that a VR headset can transport me into an entirely new reality in an instant. I’ve grown accustomed to having my expectations exceeded – year after year, as the technology improves.
But this experience beats them all.
The machine itself doesn’t look high tech in any way. There are no wires, no gadgets on the body and no headsets to wear. I just have to sit in a chair in front of a lamp connected to a computer. I close my eyes and I know that soon, bright, flashing lights aimed at my face will penetrate through my closed eyelids. That is all.
But the next thing that happens is so wonderful and surprising that I have to perform somersaults with my language capabilities to describe it.
I’m sitting in front of the lamp because I’m attending the bi-annual Breaking Convention: Europe’s largest conference on psychedelic research. For three days there are academic lectures on the latest knowledge in the field on all floors of Greenwich University’s stately buildings; from anthropologists with expertise in the use of psychoactive plants by Mayan Indians to brain scientists focusing on MRI scans, microdosing and the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat mental disorders.
A large area on the ground floor of one building is, under the title The Cyberdelics Showcase, dedicated to installations where different kinds of technology mimic the psychedelic experience or transport us into altered states of consciousness in other ways.
In the morning hours on the first day of the conference I am standing in line, ready to be signed up for as many of the various VR installations as possible, including the meditation booster Healium, which measures my brain waves and sends visual feedback directly into the VR glasses on how relaxed and focused I actually am during my meditation, and the ambitious ‘Isness’ installation created at Bristol University, where four people are inside the virtual reality experience at the same time.
Wearing VR headsets and haptic gloves, me and three other conference attendees are transformed into silent, collaborative light beings who can juggle and manipulate the molecular structures between us. Computational physicists have created the experience to demonstrate how solid matter is nothing but concentrated energy. Novo Nordisk has expressed interest in the technology which they will be using for nano-design.
After hovering around like a light being with molecular manipulating superpowers for 40 minutes, I understandably think that I’ve reached the pinnacle of the conference, technologically speaking.
Still, I feel very excited as I sit alone the day after in front of the lamp in the dark room. Compared to the Isness installation, which filled a whole room with wires, HTC Vive headsets and motion sensors, the lamp in front of me really doesn’t look special; just like an advanced designer lamp (with a hint of a dentist vibe) connected to a computer. But it turns out to be a portal to the biggest experience of the year.
I close my eyes. The bright white light of the lamp starts to flash. And immediately, a wonderful fractal dance of miraculous colors unfolds in my head. I rush through tunnels of kaleidoscopic patterns. Sizzling networks in yellow and turquoise rise and disappear. Thousands of deep blue and black circles explode into a star-shaped pattern so beautiful that I can feel it in my stomach. One second later, I am sent through a new, neon-colored swath of interwoven shades. Peacock Green! Glowing orange! I’m in a cosmic roller coaster of light.
It is a very interesting sensation, seeing these complex and intertwined geometries with my eyes closed. There is no distance between the patterns and me. Mentally, I can try to place the passing colors on the inside of my eyelids. But that’s not where I see them. They are closer, inside my head, and wonderfully intense. The colors are so juicy that I feel I can drink them.
When the light stops flashing, I am immediately back “in the real world”, with a wonderful sensation in my body, as if I was a Tibetan monk who has meditated so deeply that I am ready to levitate. Calm, super focused and wonderfully comfortable.
The machine I’ve just tried is a ‘hypnagogic light machine’, also called ‘Lucia no. 03 ‘. It was created by two Austrian doctors, the psychiatrist Dr. Engelbert Winkler and the clinical neurologist Dr. Dirk Proeckl, who has brought the machine to Breaking Convention since 2011 and give a talk on their work the following afternoon in a crowded room in the neighboring building.
Originally, they built the machine to simulate a near-death experience. Winkler was very interested in the American psychology professor Kenneth Ring’s research into the positive effects that people who have been through a near-death experience experience. “It is extremely interesting that an intense experience, which lasts only a few minutes, can have lasting positive effects, similar to many years of intense psychotherapy,” says Winkler.
He began using hypnosis to send his patients (with anxiety disorders, for example) into a similar state. And he quickly discovered that when he used a bright light to help them stay in the trance state, the treatment was much more effective. Next, Proeckl suggested that they combine the bright light of the lamp with strobe effects to simulate a tunnel experience. This is how the first prototype of the lamp was made, partly consisting of remodeled components from the coffee machine in their office.
When they first sat down in front of the machine, they were quite amazed by the unexpected visual effects.
Lot of people who have sat down in front of the hypnagogic lamp compare the patterns emerging inside their heads to the visual delights of their experiences with DMT: the psychedelic ingredient which is found in ayahuasca (the highly potent psychedelic brew of the Amazonas) and, according to some theories, also produced in our brains and released when we dream and when we die.
When the effect of the light machine was examined by researchers at Sussex University using EEG measurements, they found similarities between the effect of the stroboscope stimulation and the effect of psilocybin: the active substance in psychedelic fungi that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Records of the brain’s electrical activity during light stimulation showed that the lights sent the brain into relaxed, harmonious states similar to those that can be achieved through prolonged, deep meditation. And the after effects reported are the same: improvements in mood, creativity, sleep quality and increased ability to focus.
“I consider Lucia no. 3 as one of the first true cyberdelic machines: a technology that can induce altered states of consciousness but without the ingestion of psychoactive substances, ” says Carl H. Smith – curator of the Cyberdelics Showcase section of the conference and one of the founders of The Cyberdelic Society.
“We are in the midst of a great, psychedelic renaissance, but even though psychedelic drugs are being researched at universities all over the world, it is still a niche. With The Cyberdelic Society, we want to open up the field to even more people; including those who will not take psychedelics themselves because of the fear of loss of control, bad trips and the fact that in most countries taking psychedelics is not legal. The great thing about technology is that you can just take it off again”, says Smith.
In his daily work as head of the Learning Technology Research Center at Ravensbourne University, he focuses on improving poorly designed technologies and fixing the problems caused by them.
A good example of such a technology is our cell phones, which are making us all near-sighted because we no longer train our eye muscles appropriately, but constantly stare at a screen just an arm’s length away from our face. In this case, the virtual reality technology offers a good counterweight because VR experiences activate our peripheral vision, which is really healthy for our eyes. There are plenty of technologies designed to distract and zombify us, impairing our well-being. But instead of writing off all the new technologes as unhealthy, we need to find ways to use the technologies in ways that increase our focus and enhance our ability to be in the world, says Smith.
The cyberdelic technologies are certainly popular at the conference. Both the Isness installation and the Lucia no. 3 have been fully booked from morning to evening during the entire Breaking Convention. And as I prepare to leave the university on the last day of the conference to catch my plane home, people are still queuing in front of the room with the light machine.
There is something both exciting and ominous about the combination of techno and water….
This Friday I was midnight swimming in Frederiksberg Svømmehal during the Strøm Festival while SØS Gunver Ryberg was playing and laser geometries from Laserfabrikken filled the room with the most magnificent light patterns.
My article is out. You can google translate it here (paywall): Musik på kanten
My quest to enliven yoga mats everywhere continues. My second design is ready, and I’m taking orders.
Hand-painted deluxe yoga mat, 61 cm x 183 x 6mm. Order yours here: Hand-painted yoga mat: Endless Summer
I have painted the design by hand (with oil pastel, pencils and ink). Afterwards, the painting has been printed onto the mat.
I use the mat myself every week for hot yoga. Just like my first hand-painted yoga mat (check the first one out here), it still looks great after being in use for several months – and it still smells like freshly cut cucumber and calendula.
Questions about delivery or anything else concerning the yoga mat or the painting are very welcome at email@example.com.
Please allow some time for delivery after ordering, as production time will be at least two weeks.
THE ORIGINAL PAINTING
The design on the mat is a print of one of my drawings called ‘Endless Summer’ (oil pastels, pencil and ink on paper). The drawing is the exact size of half a yoga mat. When mirrored, it became full size. You can see the original painting on chriszka.myshopify.com, too (and buy prints).
The mat is printed in the UK by a company with this tag-line: “The best pvc mats you can buy in Europe. Made to meet the European standards from the latest environmental polymer resins. 6-P free, free of phthalate, AZO, DOP, Phenol and heavy metals – no nasties at all!”
Vernissage coming up! (English below)
// Så er der fernisering! //
– og dermed mulighed for at se de små detaljer i mine malerier og tegninger helt tæt på. Det sker om tre uger på det tophyggelige kaffe&vinyl&kunst-spot Heimdalsgade22.
Kom og hæng ud, drik boblende ting, mød søde mennesker, hør rar musik, der passer præcis til malerierne, og fald endelig i staver foran værkerne. De udsender en mild og meget gavnlig form for hypnose.
Og ja, der er håndmalede yogamåtter til salg på dagen – til særpris.
Se mere og tilmeld dig facebook-eventen her: Fernisering: Chriszka & Tidsmaskinerne.
Vernissage coming up!
This is your opportunity to check out all the tiny details of my paintings and drawings up close.
Date and time: Friday the 25th of May from 16 o’clock to 21.
Place: Heimdalsgade22 (H22) at Heimdalsgade 22, Nørrebro, Copenhagen
What to expect: 12 exhibited paintings and drawings. Nice people. Beer, wine and snacks from the bar. Dj’s and music perfectly matched with the paintings (in many different ways).
What to do: Show up! Hang out. Drink something bubbly. Meet some nice people. Find your favorite painting or drawing. Ask some questions. Listen to the music. Zone out (or zone in) in front of the paintings. They emit a gentle and very beneficial form of hypnosis. Enjoy the hypnosis.
Heimdalsgade22 is a super cozy coffee&art&vinyl spot. I will be exhibiting 12 drawings and paintings – and two hand-painted yoga mats.
One of the yoga mats is for sale at the vernissage (special vernissage price: 599 DKK). The other one is exhibited and can be pre-ordered.
Release coming up! The duo Herrhausen & Treindl release their EP ‘Tangaris’ on my FAVOURITE record label Iboga Records on April 1st, and I drew the album cover. ✍️ Very slowly, with pencil, ink and oil pastels. This is the result! Slow-motion artwork for slow-motion music. 🌀
1) I listened to the music a LOT 💚
2) saw some pretty vivid imagery while listening
3) thought ‘I don’t know how to draw those shapes…. yet…’ and then
4) proceeded to draw them – SLOWLY – with pencil (accuracy and patience!), ink (fearlessness!) and oil pastels (greasy stuff!) – while still listening to the music, of course.
More info and links coming up in the upcoming week.