Dreamachine - stroboscopic flicker device enter you to a hypnagogic state - try it right here in your browser
The dreamachine (or dream machine) is a stroboscopic flicker device that produces visual stimuli. Artist Brion Gysin and William Burroughs's "systems adviser" Ian Sommerville created the dreamachine after reading William Grey Walter's book, The Living Brain. In its original form, a dreamachine is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. The cylinder is placed on a record turntable and rotated at 78 or 45 revolutions per minute. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations normally present in the human brain while relaxing.
A dreamachine is "viewed" with the eyes closed: the pulsating light stimulates the optical nerve and alters the brain's electrical oscillations. The "viewer" experiences increasingly bright, complex patterns of color behind their closed eyelids. The patterns become shapes and symbols, swirling around, until the "viewer" feels surrounded by colors. It is claimed that viewing a dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state. This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one's eyes.
A dreamachine may be dangerous for people with photosensitive epilepsy or other nervous disorders. It is thought that one out of 10,000 adults will experience a seizure while viewing the device; about twice as many children will have a similar ill effect.
… imagine a world where Everything is possible
Dreaming is scientifically thought to occur when Alpha brain waves are dominant and the brain enters a deep state of relaxation. In the early 1960’s the artist Brion Gysin, with the help of his friend the mathematician Ian Sommerville, invented a type of stroboscopic machine, popularly known as the Dreamachine.
Designed to be viewed with the eyes closed, it sends pulses of light into the brain that match the rhythm of alpha wave cycles, at a rate between 8-13 hertz, which is about 78 RPM on a turntable, alternatively at 45RPM with the proper pattern dimensions.
The device was created partly based on British neuroscientist W. Gray Walter’s earlier investigations into what he termed the “flicker phenomenon”. In his experiments Walter found that pulses of light could induce trance states and alter brain wave activity. Brion Gysin’s motive to discover the stroboscopic effect was the result of inspiration traveling through France
The reported effects of Gysin’s brain machines are somewhat astounding, including visual sensations that are something like complex multi-layered geometries of patterns, vivid and otherworldly colors, and dream-like holographic imagery all moving in a rhythmic pulse. Fans of psychotropic drugs may notice how similar these descriptions are to what people experience during a trip. Fans of lucid dreaming may notice how similar these effects are to some of the unusual physical and mental states that accompany lucid dreaming. It is claimed that a Dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state.
After using a dream machine, participants often feel relaxed and energized as if they had just come out of a meditation. Machines of this type have sometimes been used for therapy, and are often used in conjunction with ambient music or biurnal beats, meditative breathing exercises, and other methods of self-hypnosis. Use of a dream machine is safe for most people, except people with epilepsy who may be sensitive to flashes of light.
Many prominent Artists and Modern Thinkers have used the Dreamachine for inspiration in the creative process, including: David Bowie, Kurt Cobain John Giorno, Laurie Anderson, Steve Lacy, Keith Haring, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Bowles, Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, Kenneth Anger, Genesis P-Orridge, Floria Sigismondi, William Burroughs, and many others.
Try a dreamachine
Please note: This can cause Photosensitive epilepsy in some people, depending on the frequency chosen. For a proper effect sit rather close to the monitor, and remember to close your eyes.
Monitors are not as bright as light bulbs, so turning off the room lights, and making the monitor the only light can help too.
You can try a dreamachine right here in your browser: Start Dreamachine