5-HT Virtual PSYCHEDELIC HEALING
Augmented Reality Artworks for CADAF Digital Month Miami 2020. 
Everyday moments are transformed into the numinous, where magic and mystical unfold.
Psyche X 2020 1 of 3
“Whenever in Doubt, Turn off your mind, relax, float downstream”
Bravo to Leary and then John Lennon and the Beatles for this high note directive and musical expression. 
An audio visual kinetic artwork to engage eyes, ears and hopefully something more, with a high frequency soundscape that loops infinitely with hypnotic revolutions. Sound & Vision by LS528

Try this AR experience now in Instagram
Saturday High 2 of 3
“Try to remain high as long as possible”
I sculpted this avatar one Saturday night in the summer of 2020, she appeared in my lockdown living room like a pandemic-proof virtual friend and someone to dance with. The dancing version is still live on my instagram filters, but now we have an update. 

She's here to lift spirits. Slow-mo spinning around, her arms and legs flailing somewhat to grasp and hold the momentum that keeps her floating on air. "Try to remain high as long as possible" Leary's advice for a drug come-down switches to a pandemic vital moment-to-moment daily mantra. She's got a new cap - adorned with my virtual psychedelics brand 5-HT for a heavy dose of feel good vibes serotonin.

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Psyche Blooms 3 of 3
“The Goal of this trip is ecstasy”
Laura’s Fantasy Flower Show or LFFS is an idea I’ve been developing for years and hypnotic flowers like this one will be a feature, I’m still figuring out which blooms and Damiana will feature for sure. 

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THE PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCE
First some context; back in 2013 I spent almost a year working in Guangzhou China, and most weekends I’d visit Baiyun Mountain park. It was my paradise. At the gates I’d tune into Brian Eno’s hour-long track Thursday Afternoon. I use this music to transcend, in my morning yoga, meditation, and to calm my mind when in chaos situations like packed trains and long queues (frequent occurrences in China and Hong Kong). Crossing the threshold of the park gates was almost ceremonial, I’d step out of the reality of a super noisy bustle and into a blissful nature trance. I’d walk for hours rarely stopping, to maintain some kind of momentum of transcendence. Absorbing myself in music, audio books or podcasts during long walks or rides is something I still do. And I will never ever tire of Eno's amazing Thursday Afternoon

And now to the present or recent past, and a late October 2020 afternoon.  
My plan was to go for a long walk and listen (again) to Timothy Leary’s Psychedelic Experience. Recorded in 1966, it’s an abridged version of the book he co-wrote with Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert. A lo-fi audio with the scratchy textures of vintage vinyl, it conjures an intimate one-on-one feel when you listen in. Drawing from eastern ritual, it starts with, and is punctuated by a gong. It’s mystical and highly evocative, conjuring a psychedelic experience without the psychedelics.

On this fresh autumn afternoon, I walked 5 miles east to Holland Park. As I crossed the gates from Kensington High Street I restarted the recording from the beginning, and unwittingly found myself re-contextualising a LSD fuelled psychedelic trip to a stone-cold sober transcendent walk in nature.

“You are now about to begin a great adventure
The journey out of your mind
You will travel far beyond familiar reality
Into the level of transcendent awareness
You will leave behind you,
your ego, and
your beloved personality
Which will be returned to you at the end of this voyage
The goal of this trip is ECSTASY”

At the time I wasn’t aware of the origins of the texts, and the repeated reappropriations throughout history.
From India and Buddhism to Tibet and the Bardo Thodol, to the West in 1927 through Walter Evans-Wentz’s Tibetan Book of the Dead, and later in the 60s to psychologist Timothy Leary, who used the texts to create a guide to an LSD induced Psychedelic Experience.

Without realising, I took the texts full circle from a death experience to a wide awake life experience. Applying directives like “The goal of this trip is ECSTASY” to a park walk is truly transformative in the most naturally sublime way. It makes me giggle - and at the same time it feels good to get lost in my head, and nature. This phrase alone, is now my favourite thought upon waking - when I can play with my present future and be the master of my destiny.

Both the book and the vinyl recording are rich in directives that be applied to our every day. Crucially, we psychonauts are repeatedly reminded that the psychedelic experience comes from within.

"It all comes from within you"
"The whole fantastic comedy takes place within you" 
"Enjoy the dance of puppets, they are created by your own mind"
"All interpretations are the products of your own mind"
"Do not be afraid of them. They are within you. Your own creative intellect is the master magician of them all" 
“Whether you experience heaven or hell remember that it is your mind which creates them”

So, if this is the case why not go straight to the mind, and skip the LSD? 

I've been experimenting with mind-altering substances (as well as natural highs) since the 1980s. In my experience, come-downs from natural highs are a lot easier on the body and mind. Every decade births new fads, pills and potions. A perpetual searching outside for answers. I am not denying the valuable psychedelic healing that is taking place - particularly in the fields of palliative care. But it seems most psychoneauts are merely aiming to optimise existence rather than deal with challenging illnesses. I believe we have enormous resources of untapped energetic potential, as individuals and community, and this makes me convinced there’s great power in virtual psychedelics. I think it's the future. I've always thought technology is a man-made facsimile of nature - I'm searching for the magic within, and this inspires to create good-feeling art, that can soothe, excite, transform and delight.

There is magic in Augmented Reality. Conjuring entities and objects into your personal space can have an almost palpable effect, even when viewed through a phone. I created soundscapes to intensify these virtual psychedelics, sometimes capturing Leary's vocals. In the three pieces  above, I explored two themes:  Hypnotising flower power in the form of infinitely rotating kinetic sculptures, and virtual friendships. 

CADAF Digital Art Month Miami
The three works above were part of CADAF's Digital Month which took place in Miami, USA in December/January 2021. To view full exhibitors list go to CADAF

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