Marcos Lutyens chronicles the Hypnotic Show and puts together all kinds of improbable experiences for his readers: research of cognition and neurological activity, deep exploration of varying states of consciousness, and, at the center, the possibility for contingency and embodied dematerialization within the current thinking of art.
Marcos Lutyens, Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days. Ed. by Kari Cwynar. Sternberg Press, 2015.
When Marcos Lutyens arrived in Kassel in the summer of 2012, he didn’t know he would end up staying for the entire 100 days of documenta 13 to perform 340 hypnotic sessions with the audience. Unfolding in the Reflection Room in Kassel’s Karlsaue Park, it was the most involved installment of the Hypnotic Show to date—“an exhibition that exists only in the mind of the audience,” according to Lutyens’s collaborator Raimundas Malašauskas.
Lutyens also didn’t know that he would write a book about it: Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days, an intimate and hardly qualifiable document. Here, the artist chronicles the Hypnotic Show and puts together all kinds of improbable experiences for his readers: research of cognition and neurological activity, deep exploration of varying states of consciousness, and, at the center, the possibility for contingency and embodied dematerialization within the current thinking of art.
Copublished with Kunstverein Toronto and CAC Vilnius / XII Baltic Triennial
Design by Goda Budvytytė and Line Gry Hørup
Lutyens’s practice has centered on the use of hypnosis to engage the visitor’s embodied experience of art, while also involving various parallel approaches to explore group and individual consciousness. Exhibitions of infinite scale and nature have been installed in the minds of visitors. His investigations have included research with social groups such as the third-gender Muxhe, Raeilians, synaesthetes, border migrants, space engineers and mental architects to explore how unconscious mind-sets shift across cultures and backgrounds. Building on his investigations into consciousness and social dynamics, Lutyens has developed projects that involve our external surroundings. Works include interactions with pedestrian flows, social media dialogue, air quality levels, animal and biological intercommunication and other dynamics that are generally invisible to the casual observer, and yet as important as the subjective processes of the inner mind.
Lutyens has exhibited internationally, including 340 performances over 100 days at dOCUMENTA(13) as well as with many other museums and institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Royal Academy, the National Art Museum of China, MoMA PS1. Currently he is working in alliance with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev on the 14th Istanbul Biennial. He has created a large scale installation on a ship, as well as preparing the public program ‘Thought Forms and Brain Waves: Neuro-Aesthetics and Art,’ which involves discussions and experiments with some of the world’s leading neuroscientists: Vittorio Gallese, Vilayanur Ramachandran and Richard Cytowic. Lutyens is also exhibiting ‘Alphabet Huts’ at the Baltic Triennial and is launching a book called ‘Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days.’
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A blogger writing about her experience after the hypnosis.
She writes quite detailed about the process. She writes about how Marcos guided the group into the hypnosis. She mentions that she is very sensitive, to alcohol, and maybe even to hypnosis, that her imagination and fantasy world is quiet strong. She was slightly uncomfortable by what she experienced, the thought it went by a bit too quick. Once she woke up she experienced anxiety, but after “waking up again” she felt flushed, tingly and a little bit high. She sums up the experience as close to meditation, but that she indeed remembers the hypnotic exhibition, just as vividly as she does a physical one. Finally, she gives the exhibition 4 spinning heads out of 5.
A column by Hanna Fahl who was at the Hypnotic Show.
She writes about how it seems like a stunt – only a few cultural professionals are invited, there’s a feeling of exclusivity and mystery, but she can’t resist it. She describes the show: being cynical and pragmatic, it’s hard for her to close her eyes and allow herself to be hypnotized, but she does it. She has a preconceived notion of hypnosis through popular culture, horror films, American pulp fiction, etc. She wonders if ideas will be planted in her head like in the movie “Inception”. She mentions Deirdre Barett who studied hypnosis in popular culture, and the outcome is always negative, hypnosis is has been a medium for crime, mind control, etc… But this experience is pleasant and light; she doesn’t feel hypnotized. It’s more like listening to a fairy tale. She describes the exhibition, and the discussion afterwards. Some had the same images in their head, some completely different. She feels that she experiences a fun and light full gimmick.... After a few days, images from the exhibition start reappearing in her mind. She remembers it just like she physically was there. She comes to the conclusion, that if this is mind control, so is every art experience. It makes you travel and experience something different, it’s about letting oneself go, and having your mind altered a little bit.
An article about National Board of Health’s permit was sent out with the invitation.
“Yes to hypnosis, no to mindreading” They go through the document on what is and isn’t allowed. “The hypnotist must inform the participants about what will happen, and not manipulate people in acting in an offensive matter, making people regress in earlier stages of life, or make the participant loose a bodypart.”