Online - Haroon Mirza: Waves and Forms


Dreamachine 1/0 (2020)

Screening | Siobhan Coen and Haroon Mirza (14mins)

** WARNING: This video contains strobing imagery **

Presented for the first time, Aberdeen Art Gallery in association with Lisson Gallery is proud to stream a newly configured, digital version of an experiential installation Dreamachine 2.0 (2019), created by Haroon Mirza in collaboration with Siobhan Coen.

Following a progressive sequence of constantly changing frequencies of red, green and blue light and their corresponding sound waves, Dreamachine 1/0 (2020) is a single-channel version of a system configured to induce hallucinations or dreamlike states.

The pair have developed an online, audiovisual version of their all-encompassing and intense sculptural environment, Dreamachine 2.0 in order to produce the same effects and images on a computer or phone screen, albeit limited to 60 frames per second. Dreamachine 2.0 was to be included in the solo show Waves and Forms at Aberdeen Art Gallery and was shown previously at John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, 19 October 2019 - 11 January 2020). Coen and Mirza delve into the subconscious and seek out spiritual enlightenment through this screen-based work, testing the limits of technological, retinal, aural and physical experience through image, pure colour and sound.

This 15-minute sequence of intermittent photic stimulation, entitled Dreamachine 1/0 (2020), has been developed as an online version of an earlier installation, itself made in homage to the original Dreamachine, a stroboscopic device created by Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs with the help of Ian Sommerville. Their machine was a cylindrical form, with holes cut out of its surface, rotating on a turntable. A light bulb suspended in its centre radiated flickering light around the room at a constant frequency and induced hallucinations of geometric patterns when viewed with one's eyes closed.

Artist Siobhan Coen initially reimagined this historical device using microcontroller-driven LEDs. During a residency at hrm199, Mirza's studio platform, a dialogue began between the two artists to introduce sound into the system and work with frequencies relating to certain neural oscillations. Mirza says of the other influences for this work, which was also completed in consultation with neuroscientists at Imperial College: "We were also thinking about the practice of what's known as shamanic drumming: a constant drumbeat of around 3Hz - 6Hz, which induces trance-like states probably due to stimulating theta waves in the brain. Then lots of advice from neuroscientists and programmers helped developed the piece further."

Select full-screen with sound on (preferably in a room with the ambient lights turned off).

** WARNING: This video contains strobing imagery **


Siobhan Coen and Haroon Mirza, Dreamachine 1/0, 2020, single-channel video, 14 minutes 28 seconds


Skip_loop (2019)

Skip_loop is a computer-generated animation of an undulating seascape. The illusion of natural beauty and continuity of movement collapses every six seconds, when the loop repeats itself (the loop is only noticeable if you focus on a patch of sea foam at the front of the image). The specific duration of six seconds corresponds with the average viewing time of a painting or an artwork in a museum or gallery. With this artwork Haroon Mirza highlights the impact of digital media and new technologies on our attention span and how we look at traditional artforms, such as landscape painting. 


/\/\/\/\ /\/\/\/\ (Aquarius) (2017)

The zigzag form /\/\/\/\ /\/\/\/\ is a typographic interpretation of the astrological sign 'Aquarius' and translates as a geometric version of a wave. /\/\/\/\ /\/\/\/\ is an installation composed of 4 channels of videos, 12 channels of audio, 8 channels of LEDs, a semi anechoic (or echo-free) chamber housing a water feature and a chandelier, which come together in an immersive installation. The artwork occurs when these things are experienced together, as the artist intends. Unlike when you look at a painting from outside of it, this artwork is viewed from inside of it. /\/\/\/\ /\/\/\/\ responds to both the constellation and astrological sign, as well as the 'Age of Aquarius', which the earth is about to enter, and signifies a time of rediscovered harmony. Ideological conflict, science, shamanism and artificial intelligence are referenced within the videos and installation structures. 


For 8-channel electrical signal, 4-channel video and water feature.
Mixed and complied for single channel video format in 0000 (2020 in Gregorian)
Originally commissioned by LiFE Saint Naziare & Le Grand Cafe, 2017.
Featuring: Nik Void and Tim Burgess
Viral Mix by Jack Jelfs
Currently hosted on Fact Magazine website