Hypnotic Show created with Raimundas Malasaukas at Repetition Island: 

Repetition Island is a project at the Centre Pompidou curated by Raimundas Malasauskas.   http://www.repetition-island.com/

July 7 -12 2010


Repetition Island: Hypnotic Show

Q: (Lauren Wetmore)

I understand that hypnosis works through techniques of verbal repetition and also that a lot of people attended quite a few of the shows - so in that way there was this kind of short-term and long-term repetitive hypnosis going on. Regarding this what effect do you think that the format of Repetition Island had, that would not have occurred with a one-time show type of situation?

A: (Marcos Lutyens)

The hypnotic show was perfectly suited to Repetition Island.  Apart from mirroring, as you say, the repetitive nature of inductions that work by stacking suggestions on top of each other, being able to repeat the show for 6 days in a row allowed us to investigate the different aspects of the 'Hypnotic Show', which we had not been able to achieve during the one off performances in New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam and at the Kadist Foundation in Paris.  We also had the advantage of working with some of the same volunteers, which enabled us to deepen the trance state from one day to the next because the subjects had more of a predisposition to access their unconscious minds after the first session.  This was especially true in the case of Christian who I placed in a cataleptic trance on the fourth night, as on the third night he proved to already be a deep trance subject.

The results of a deepening trance on repeated nights gave the volunteers a more involved exposure to the 'exhibitions' we were presenting to them in a trance state.  This was expressed as a growing connection in neural pathways of overlapping senses of smell, taste, touch, etc. This reminds one somewhat of the 19th century poets and writers such as Rimbaud  and Baudelaire who investigated the confluence of sensorial inputs such as sound and colour, and especially how sensations of light could be stimulated through hearing.

This deepening of sensations was particularly apparent with Carey Young's Hypnotic Spiral exhibit, as by the third night, sensations were embodied and there was a growing sense of 'becoming' what was being suggested, such as the subject feeling himself to be butter or blue cake icing.  Christian, the volunteer on the third night had an exhilarating sensation that he likened to riding his bike at full speed. 

Another advantage of working over several evenings was that the general process seemed to take on a momentum of its own, whereby the idea of some kind of hypnotic spectacle wore off and was replaced by more of an objective examination of the unconscious as it relates to the implanting of art within the mind.


Have you ever experienced a hypnotic exhibition? What was it like?


No I have not really been at the full receiving end of a hypnotic exhibition, though early on I had a home implanted in me  very convincingly....I have always 'ridden down' with those I hypnotise, descending into a sympathetic trance, so I can better guide those in a hypnotic state.  There was a moment on the third night when I almost fell off the stage as I began to lose my sense of balance and orientation within the conscious world.


How would you describe the feeling of creating these exhibitions? Do you experience them as well? Is it like being a docent in a museum where you know things and can see things that regular visitors don't?


The exhibitions 'content' is actually derived from artist scripts of the exhibitions that they would like to have implanted.  The scripts were submitted to Raimundas and then he and I decided upon the exhibiting strategy:

These are the shows in which  'exhibited' the following submissions:

Night 1:  Deric Carner   Joachim Koestler  Carey Young

Night 2: Carey Young (focusing more on the spiral show)

Night 3: Carey Young 

Night 3; Carey Young 

Night 4: Carey Young (extreme catalepsy induction)  Also Induction in Exhibit Hall of Etienne Martin's work.

Night 5: Carey Young (deja vu)  

Night 6: Raphael Sibom

I feel that the exhibitions are a construct that already exists and I am guiding people through something that is already there and perhaps has been there for a long while.  However, thanks to being able to repeat the process several times, I myself also discovered many new things about the exhibition that I would otherwise not have known about. The exhibits became much more multi-sensorial with each visit.  I think the division between curator, artist, docent, visitor gets completely blurred as the exhibit is projected into a kind of collectively experienced place within a subliminal state.  Certainly some of the 'visitors' in trance saw things that I was not aware of and this fed its way back into the next day's hypnosis.