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John Duncan - CTL98 - Report

Linz, AT; San Martino, ITA
Time's Up Laboratories & John Duncan Labs
15.05.1998 - 17.05.1998

Investigating sounds to induce certain emotional brainstates

Report 5/29

Preliminary results from the EEG monitor suggest that the area being tested (3 electrodes at the forehead) is not the optimal choice. Possibly the temples of the subject's head would prove more fruitful, or perhaps another part of the body. It's been suggested that since men are often rumored to think mainly with the penis that this be considered as a monitor area.

Personally, I feel that the midi information that was recorded with the methods we used could be useful as a triggering source for other outside events, which could in turn be used to test subjects' responses further -- a 'facing mirrors' approach, if you will, that could indicate other areas of study.

John Duncan, May 29 1998


Report 5/18

The weather was wonderful, now it is raining. In this isolated corner of Italy, lightning strikes are more than likely, we have retired from the sensitive electronics area to the relative safety of the wood-stove warmed kitchen. Discussion of the days work will follow, plans for tomorrow will be forthcoming.


Aim: Determination of brainwave effects of meditative states.
Method: Observation of brainwave spectrum of John Duncan, meditating.
Notes: At certain points during the meditation, various unexpected sounds, passing cars, steps, induced noises, etc. were heard, it was noted that as the meditation proceeded, the effects of the distractions were less. Regular interruptions at a low frequency in the beginning phase of the experiment corresponded to swallowing motions.

Experiment series

Aim: Determination of responses in spectrum to various sound/music sources
Method: Listening to sections of music/sound for a period of at least 10 minutes, observing responses. Bert Z. played the experimental guinea pig for these experiments, he lay prone with the headphones on being measured as we (John D and myself) observed.
The pieces of music were:
exp2: J Duncan "Tap Internal" extract.
exp3: CCCC "Go To the Other side" from "Love and Noise".
- There seemed to be some correlations here that later turned out to be experimental noise.
exp4: Sleep Chamber "Symphony Sexualis"
exp5: Christina Kubisch "Sechs Spiegel"
- very tiring, very repetitive.
exp6: Merzbow "Ultra Marine Blues" from "Pulse Demon."
- low beta very flat
exp7: Francisco Lopez "Populations of Xenophylophores" from "Azoic Zone".
exp8: Morton Feldman (composer) Jean Louis Fafchamps (perf) "Triadic Memories"
- alpha waves containing some structure
exp9: Tamas Laboratorium
- music composed specifically for brainstate modification.
- ugly sounds, little observed modification
exp10: Some very full-on techno thing, unlabelled.
- Much more full spectrum response.
exp11: Lou Reed "Metal Machine Music"
- No appreciable difference to spectrum of the last piece.

Results: The main result seems to be no result, the claims of response seem to be founded in nothing. There is little observable variation in the spectrum responses of the listener. Either
- our electrode placement is inappropriate
- the device is insufficiently sensitive
- Bert is deaf
- there is no discernable brainwave reaction to sound.

I have reason to believe Bert is not deaf. As I don't want to believe the last explanation, which also flies in the face of various popular-scientific orthodoxies and the second is supposedly not true (by claims of the manufacturers), the first error must be the major source. Further research is necessary (as always).

Extra issue:
Discussions have led to the discovery of the composer, developer and theoretician David Rosenboom, who starting in the mid 1970s, worked on a project under the title "On Being Invisible". This project brought together aspects of brainwave analysis and automated composition. This fellow needs to be followed up on as a quite interesting party.

The use of the waveforms that are produced by the frequency analysis as sources for pure sound, curves of frequency intensity as amplitude curves of sounds.
The use of the various signals as switching signals for various sounds, whether samples or pure sounds or notes. The IBVA encoding of brainwave data, how is this obtained, how does this sound?


Report 5/17

San Martino,Italy - John Duncan/T.Boykett/B.Zettelmeier

First day of experiments. General equipment difficulties, as expected. low degree of success. Sunshine sufficiently distracting, rain unfortunately imposant. Achieving a level of communion with equipment, plans beginning to fall into shape at last. Dinner at the lost artist pizzeria very satisfying, lost Salzburgerin tour guide enlightens the assembled masses. 

Closing The Loop 98
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Closing the Loop 98 - Book
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Closing the Loop 98 Video