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    Representing Altered States of Consciousness in Computer Arts

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2015)

    London, UK, 7 - 9 July 2015


    Jonathan Weinel



    It has been proposed that among the earliest known artworks produced by humans may have been representations of altered states of consciousness (ASCs). With the advent of modern computer technology that enables the creation of almost any sound or image imaginable, the possibility of representing the subjective visual and aural components of hallucinatory experiences with increased realism emerges. In order to consider how these representations could be created, this paper provides a discussion of existing work that represents ASCs. I commence by providing an overview of ASCs and a brief history of their use in culture. This provides the necessary background through which we may then consider the variety of art and music that represents ASCs, including: shamanic art and music, modern visual art, popular music, film and video games. Through discussion of the ways in which these examples represent ASC, a concept of ‘ASC Simulation’ is proposed, which emphasises realistic representations of ASCs. The paper concludes with a brief summary of several creative projects in computer music and arts that explore this area.


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