Cyberdelics: The Trippy Machines

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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.

lucia no 3 hypnagogic light machine 2

A translated extract (not prettily translated, yet, but effectively!):

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 glasses 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 do 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. The second after, 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. […]

[translation to be continued…]

 

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Dark waters and light: Music on the edge

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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 second hand-painted yoga mat is now available in the shop!

My quest to enliven yoga mats everywhere continues. My second design is ready, and I’m taking orders.
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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 christina@majcher.dk.

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).

NO PHTHALATE
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!”

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Vernissage: Chriszka & the Time Machines

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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.

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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: Slow-motion artwork for slow-motion music

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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. 🌀

Process:
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.

My first hand-painted yoga mat is now available in the shop!

I think most yoga mat designs are too bland and too boring. So I have decided to design my own. And here it is. I have painted the design by hand (with paint brushes and acrylics on canvas). Afterwards, the painting has been printed onto the mat.

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The yoga mat is now for sale! – for 699 DKK.
Specifications: Hand-painted deluxe yoga mat, 61 cm x 183 x 6mm.

You can order your own mat on my shopify page: chriszka.myshopify.com

I use the mat myself two times a week for hot yoga. And after three months of this weekly routine, the mat still looks great – and smells like freshly cut cucumber and calendula. This is what it looks like in action:

The design on the mat is a print of one of my paintings called ‘Backgammon for Aliens’ (acrylic on canvas). See a picture of the original painting below.

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!”

Place your order by
1) emailing me at christina@majcher.dk – (for the special intro price) or
2) order the mat on my shopify page: chriszka.myshopify.com

Questions about delivery or anything else concerning the yoga mat or the painting are very welcome at christina@majcher.dk.

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Backgammon for Aliens

My new painting is done!

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The title is Backgammon for Aliens. Acrylic paint on canvas. 40×80 cm. Limited prints (signed) are available on chriszka.myshopify.com.

Here’s an ultra close-up:

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And here’s the entire piece:

backgammon for aliens fra siden

Painting with acrylics is like playing with food. It gets really messy. And starting out, I had no idea how to make the painting look the way I wanted – with all the tiny details. But I have learnt so much while working on it. First and foremost this: The tools you need for an impossible task will appear when you need them – if your inner vision is strong enough.

A work in progress (but very close to completion) shot:backgammon for aliens gulv

The painting has found its perfect spot on the wall, next to My Cosmic Happiness Generator (pen and pencil):

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My Cosmic Happiness Generator

My Cosmic Happiness Generator is done!

 

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This is 40 x 80 centimeters of cosmic pinball vibes, shaped like a yoga mat. Drawing symmetrically like this is in fact very much like yoga. Unbalances will reveal themselves. But patience yields results.

Signed, limited prints are available on chriszka.myshopify.com.

My Cosmic Happiness Generator – progress video

How things grow. 🌱 A stop-motion progress video of the lower part of my newest piece, this pinball machine of pencil precision practice. Three hours more, and the machine will be up and running.

Title: My Cosmic Happiness Generator.

Prints will be available on chriszka.myshopify.com – in a couple of days.

 

The creation of Aztec Challenge

Here’s a work-in-progress video of my drawing of Aztec Challenge (84 hours of work, finished on February 6th, exactly a month ago):

 

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