Highbury light machine shows how mind works in amazing ways
- Credit: Archant
“The was a huge grey cliff, then another cliff appeared next to it and from in between them sprouted what I can only describe as a load of spaghetti - it sounds strange, but that’s the kind of language you have to use.”
Not the words of a crazed Haight-Ashbury survivor, but an attempt by Nigel Noire, one of the team behind Highbury’s Lucid Light Salon (LLS), to describe the psychedelic effects of the UK’s first public hypnagogic light machine.
Hypnagogia, from the Greek moving towards sleep, is a state everyone has probably experienced - somewhere between conscious and unconscious world’s - that normally lasts a few seconds.
But at LLS a special machine uses induces people into this state for 15 minutes of more letting their subconscious run riot in a kaleidoscope of colour on the inside of their eyelids.
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The salon is the brainchild of Light, Eye, Mind, an arts collective made up of Mr Noire, 59, brothers Alex and Daniel Jeronymides-Norie, 25 and 24, and 24-year-old Tom Spicer.
Alex Jeronymides-Norie said: “We first got the idea when I was at a psychedelic festival. We got in touch with the developers of the machine and they invited us down to a conference they were doing in London.
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“They were really supportive of what we wanted to do with it - make it accessible to the public. There are only two like that in the UK.”
Since opening on Blackstock Road in March, their personal light shows have proved a roaring success, with thousands of visitors, and the foursome have just returned from installing their salon at an exhibition in Boston - which they described as a “massive load of fun”.
Mr Spicer said: “The theme of the exhibition was art and science and the organisers had been following us on Facebook where we were posting footage.
“It was great to be able to travel there and in the end we were showing it to students of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“The salon has been doing really well. The shop had been empty for several years. We opened, initially just for six weeks, and people from local community seem pleased to see it - they’re glad its being used. Especially at night it all lights up and looks really good.”
As well as providing an experience many find relaxing and enjoyable, the collective are hoping it will provide and creative inspiration.
“Although it can be just beneficial escapism and a way to get inside yourself, it can also be very insightful - a kind of neuro-art.
“In Boston we had a board where people drew whatever it is they had seen as soon as they opened their eyes.”
Mr Noire said: “People who see themselves as not creative are creating all these amazing visuals. The machine only gives out white light, so the colours come from you.
“It shows you how beautiful your mind can be - we are normally so wrapped in cotton wool. You’re certainly not thinking about what you are doing late, or Syria or what you cook for dinner.
Mr Jeronymides-Norie added: “You have totally different conversations than you would down the pub. It’s a new kind of experience.”