Report from Jonathan Kemp’s : “Telluro-geo-psycho-modulator” workshop and field trip

Loughton Camp
Loughton Camp

The pulsating of blood through my left temple and the musky smell of newly disturbed soil. Five people desperately working to get a bunch of rocks, wrapped with copper wire, to stay attached to my head with two elasticated headbands. A self awareness of looking like a fucking hippy and the sound of three or four camera shutters photographing me. A really unlikely start to an experiment which offered the potential for a paranormal experience. With my brain fully wired to the earth’s electromagnetic fields, the clicking of cameras started to fade and unexpectedly my usually chaotic thoughts started to calm. In only two minutes a profound and intensely pleasant calm came over my mind and my body relaxed, my self consciousness about looking like a knob and any initial anxiety about having electronics mess with my brainwaves seeped away along with any concept of time. I sat peacefully for an unquantifiable period with my eyes shut.  There were no signs of the hallucinogenic dreams or bursts of lysergic colour I had secretly hoped for; just the uncharacteristic calm. I opened my eyes and looked around the clearing. Intense shards of light passing through the foliage, I could see other members of the experiment huddled together in small groups chatting, I momentarily caught someones eye, but felt distant and aloof, closing my eyes again. I sat enjoying the experience; 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour, who knows? Time seemed to stop until a nagging thought eventually entered my mind, I should let someone else try, 14 people at around 10 minutes each is going to take another couple of hours. I disconnected the headband and removed the rock solenoids from my skull.

The sense of calm and feeling of dislocation persisted. I had the desire to withdraw from the group and went for a walk, tracing the boundary of Loughton Camp. About half way around the perimeter I approached an abandoned bivouac and experienced a sudden overwhelming sense of loss, a welling of sadness forming deep inside. I battled to suppress the melancholic outpouring before it could fill my eyes with tears. Tulta disrupted my insular thoughts with a shout! My 13 year old son, had got himself stuck high up in the branches of one of the tall beech trees and everyone was concerned about him. Both the distant calm and the moment of melancholy were replaced by adrenaline and a sense of responsibility. I helped him down from the tree and returned to the group, helping out with the attachment of the rock solenoids to the heads of the remaining participants.

Telluro-geo-psycho-modulator
Telluro-geo-psycho-modulator

The Telluro-geo-psycho-modulator workshop and field trip was organised by Jonathan Kemp on the 2nd and 3rd May 2015 at furtherfield.

One medium in which all terrestrial beings are immersed is the electromagnetic. This workshop directly tests Persinger’s theory that spiritual and ghostly sensations (“anomalous experiences”) are triggered by the interference patterns constantly played across the brain by the weak magnetic fields that emanate from the earth.

The workshop aims to begin equipping participants with a method to explore such relations between the earth and our psyches through the construction of an experimental interface (developed with Martin Howse).

The brain is electro-chemical, and the existence of fundamental commonalities between all 7 billion human brains by which a similar physical stimulus can affect them is not a new concept – however, this workshop tests the idea that it is the induction from very low electromagnetic fields that disrupt a sense of self through the creation of anomalous experiences, and these experiences can be seen as the effects of such natural weak brain stimulation.

In the workshop particpants will build a simple circuit with which to test this thesis by connecting the earth’s telluric currents (naturally weak electromagnetic fields) directly to our brains. On the second day we will then test the circuits outdoors in Epping Forest.

connecting the earth's telluric currents
connecting the earth’s telluric currents

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John Wild

John Wild is a London based artist who works across photography, video, sculpture, code and performance to explore and reimaging the digitally expanded city.

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