WE ARE ALL ENERGY BEINGS
Audrey Coulombe 𝄅 Moushoumi Nath 𝄅 Nora Gibson
Oculus Quest 2, specialized software, sound design
This virtual reality experience is inspired by the extraordinary accounts of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, neuroscientist and author, who has described in her book My Stroke of Insight the otherworldly and life-changing phenomena of her episode of left-hemispheric stroke. The viewer is invited to enter this fantastical world of altered brain connectivity, and how that impacts our perceptions, our sense of reality, and our sense of self.
*The title is excerpted from a quote from Dr. Taylor's 2008 TED Talk.
fullscreen is best
Coulombe’s practice takes place in the field of digital arts and usually focuses on connected and interactive clothing. She is particularly interested in the impact of new technologies on self-perception and its potential for mediation. With her work, Coulombe wishes to create immersive and meditative experiences that lead to broader reflections on oneself and the meaning of existence.
Bio… short for biology or biography? Moushumi is a neuroscientist interested in understanding the biology that underlies our biography. From how our brain develops over time, how communication patterns between brain regions vary, to how these communication patterns constitute memories, learning, and consciousness.
Nora Gibson (she/her) is a North American choreographer and digital artist. Gibson creates aesthetic environments and performance in the form of ballets, digital installation, and audio-reactive visuals. Her work often incorporates use of sensors to track movement and biometric data, because this invisible data helps to undo assumptions that dance is bound to human bodies in space and time. Her work explores what it’s like “to be”, with interactivity being a way to blur distinctions between self and other. Gibson values beauty as a mechanism to allow us to be fully present. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Intermedia at Concordia University in Montreal, CA.
Brain activity ultimately produces consciousness. Perturbations to these activity patterns, such as through strokes or certain brain surgeries, can yield altered conscious experiences. These alterations can have similar themes across individuals, such as varied expressions and feelings of boundaries. Artists, for example, post-brain perturbance exhibit looser strokes and greater distortions within their paintings. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor - a neuroscientist - post-brain injury - describes in her book My Stroke of Insight how she could no longer “define the boundaries” of her body during her stroke.
People’s sense of self may vary as well. Individuals who’ve undergone a surgery in which the two halves of the hemispheres are disconnected (split-brain patients) will describe how one of their hands seems to act on its own accord. How consciousness is expressed in our brain continues to be researched. Therefore, we explore, through virtual reality, altered boundaries and perceptions to simulate an experience of perturbed brain activity and we ponder over how that influences our sense of self versus beyond.