A video installation piece using binaural beats to simulate pre-dream brainwave frequencies. 16mm film.
EEG technology allows us to measure the electrical oscillations of human brain activity. When we drift into sleep, the brain shifts from an active Beta (12-16hz) frequency, through the pre-dream and dream stages of Alpha (8-12hz) + Theta (4-8hz) frequencies, into a Delta frequency (.5-4hz), a deep sleep stage where no dreams occur.
Binaural beats occur when two different auditory signals, close in frequency, are presented to the left and right ears as pure sinewaves (under 1000 hz). The brain perceives the difference between the two frequencies as a third frequency, the binaural "beat." Studies in Frequency Following Response suggest that sufficient exposure to such auditory signals can directly influence brainwave frequency.
In this piece we transition from the Theta to Delta frequency. To enhance the effect, NASA's Voyager Recordings of the Sounds of the Planets are layered over binaural beats. Voyager I and II space probes captured the vibrational frequencies of the Solar Wind hitting Earth's magnetosphere into audible sound waves.
During the transitional stage before we start dreaming, when we are on the brink of sleep, we enter a pre-dream state that corresponds to Theta activity (often referred to as hypnagogia). These images tend to be fragmented; detached from reality but not yet interpreted into a dream narrative.
[Named after Brion Gysin + William Burroughs's stroboscopic Dreamachine, a device that uses light pulses to induce an Alpha state]