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ASMR Study No. 1: Brain Sparkles

a sound installation

Year:  2015

Year:  2015

Films, Audio & Samples

Low Noise2 - VIDEO

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Richard Robertshawe: ASMR S...

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Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is described by those who experience it as a pleasant tingling felt in the head as a result of listening to certain 'triggers'. It wasn't until listening to a radio show recently that I was aware that this was even a phenomenon, let along common enough to warrant an online-community dedicated solely to creating and listening to videos made specifically to activate the response. These triggers can be as diverse and mundane as listening to someone whisper the contents of a shopping haul, quiet taps of a keyboard, turning of book pages, and in fact any repetitive, crisp, clear sounds. While described as a purely non-sexual sensation, there is a certain element of fetish we have towards our technology anyway, as it arches towards the increasing levels of detail and fidelity that help enable this experience.

The thing that strikes me about ASMR is how intensely personal it is; by its nature it is an affect of subjective individual perception, and is excited by the most intimate of sounds normally heard only in extreme physical proximity. It is also fascinating how unseen it is: Someone who could look just like you existing within the world you exist but experiencing it in a vastly different way. While, since the rise of the internet, a community has found each other and blossomed. The idea reveals a glimpse at unseen layers operating within and super-imposed upon the direct and ordinary.

Notes by Richard Robertshawe.

Performance history

13 Feb 2015: Installed at the Low Noise2 exhibition, at Toi Poneke Arts Centre, in Wellington.