The Notes

Digital Appendix for Thesis on Hypnosis

If you want to read the thesis, please contact me. All links were working when last edited (April 30, 2015).

1 Wikipedia. “Phenomenology (philosophy)”

2 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “Phenomenology”

3 Note: There is a lot of debate on this. Neuroscientist, Daniel Bor, writes in the first chapter of his book, The Ravenous Brain (2012), that he assumes “consciousness” and “awareness” to be the same. This is a view which is shared amongst many scientists in the (neuro-)physiological sphere. Using this logic the brain is equal to awareness and the brain is therefore consciousness.

4 Chalmers, David. “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness” Journal of Consciousness Studies, 1995

Note: The ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ problems, still used in the consciousness debate today, was introduced by David Chalmers in 1995 The ‘easy problems’ are functions like the ability to discriminate, categorize, and react to environmental stimuli; the integration of information by a cognitive system; the reportability of mental states [more or less]; the ability of a system to access its own internal states; the focus of attention and the deliberate control of behaviour. The ‘hard problems’ are essentially the why question of consciousness and how it comes together as a whole, since all the mechanisms in themselves shouldn’t give rise to abstract thought that could e.g. make a person wonder about reality.

5 James, Tad. “Hypnosis, A Comprehensive Guide” Crown House Publishing Ltd, 2000, p 51

6 Why is it provocative? See, Goldie, Peter. “Conceptual Art, Social Psychology and Deception” Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 1, No. 2, August 2004, p 40

Note: Lab based psychology went away form this term decades ago, because it implies that the participant of the experiment is being ‘used’. In this essay Goldie discusses the similarities of social science and art and in particular participation and utilisation of the visitors of an exhibition.

7 Brown, Derren. “Tricks of the mind” Channel 4 Books; New Ed edition, 2007. Audiobook version, Chapter: Hypnosis 21’45’’

8 James, Tad. “Hypnosis, A Comprehensive Guide” Crown House Publishing Ltd, 2000, p 19

9 Note: I use the word subject here, because it seems that if you’re in rapport with something it gets the status of subject, even if it’s an object.

10 ibid, p 20

11 ibid, p 52

12 Note: As a comment on this though, Mikkel Karlsen, currently the only danish hypnotist doing public stage shows in Denmark, made me aware that it is very likely possible, but that it would never be possible to get such an experiment past an ethical committee for scientific testing. For example, he told me about subjects who had given away their credit card pin code (not to Karlsen, but to another hypnotist) as part of a screening for a television program. The subjects later said they would never had done so ‘sober’.

13 Kirsch et al. “Definitions of Hypnosis and Hypnotizability and Their Relation to Suggestion and Suggestibility: A Consensus Statement” Contemporary Hypnosis and integrative therapy 28(2): 107–115, 2011

14 Kihlstrom JF. “Hypnosis” Annual Review of Psychology 36, 1985: 385–418.

15 Simonini, Ross. “Matt Mullican” The Believer, Volume 10, no. 7, September 2012, p. 46

16 ibid., p. 46

17 Example: Mullican Matt. “matt mullican / under hypnosis / performance” Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2011.

18 Mullican, Matt. “Icon Culture: Lingue Franca for a Global Culture, PODCAST: Think Modern: Artists Speak: Conversations on Contemporary Art” MoMA, 2008, 46’29’’

19 See Zwaan, Rolph A. “Effect of Genre Expectations on Text Comprehension”, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 1994, Vol 20, No. 4, 920-933

Note: “Modus of comprehension” is inspired by “reader comprehension strategies”referring to how a reader’s expectations to a given textual genre (manual, news, fiction) affects the perception, cognition and memory. Whether this can be applied to perceived fact or fiction of a performance is not certain, but I have kept the reference to at least keep this open. More investigation should be done on this.

20 Note: Here referring to a specific performance he describes in his talk at MoMA mentioned above (endnote 18).

21 Watts, Alan. “Out of Your Mind: Essential Listening from the Alan Watts Audio Archives” Sounds True, Inc. Unabridged edition, 2004

Note: Alan Watts refers to Gurdjieff as a beat guru (and sometimes as a rascal saint) in the context of speaking about different guru strategies. The beat guru is the playful one, who intentionally turns your world upside down. The other kind of guru is the square guru who is the strict authoritarian, direct kind of guru (exemplified by the zen method of Japan).

22 Gurdjieff, George Ivanovich. “Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson – An Objective Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man” Harcourt, 1950.

Note: What is referred to at this point is a science fiction novel he wrote. The alternate title “An Objective Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man” underlines that it is not just intended to be just a piece of fiction for the aesthetic pleasure of reading. In practice Gurdjieff worked in a way resembling the cynics of ancient Greece, where actions in relation to mainstream conventions is a part of practically embodying a philosophy — a way of realising ones own mental constraints (here by breaking them) in order to be liberated from them.

23 See Steiner, Rudolf. “Secret Brotherhoods: And the Mystery of the Human Double” Rudolf Steiner Press, revised edition, 2004, p. 56-57

24 Note: This is consistent throughout many of his interviews and talks… Anecdotes like meeting his wife, watching his children play video games, sitting with a friend drinking cola, being in art academy back in the 70s, teaching art students today are scattered around in the sources I have already mentioned about Mullican

25 Porsager, Lea. Interview by author. December 4, 2014, “Jeg har aldrig været interesseret i at man ligesom ser mærkelig ud, når man er hypnotiseret… Jeg har været interesseret i, hvad det er for nogle mekanismer man kan bruge for at komme hen i nogle andre virkeligheder.”

26 These three definitions are condensed versions inspired by Hanegraaff’s definitions, see Hanegraaff, Wouter J. “Western Esotericism – A Guide for the Perplexed” Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

27 Porsager, Lea. “Ablaze with the Fires of Matter”, Edited by Synnøve B. Brøgger. Officin Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013, p. 5 [a conversation between Lea Porsager, Marco Pasi (Associate Professor in History of Hermetic philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam) — Marco Pasi:]

“This leads me to a general remark about a phenomenon that has been visibly emerging in the last few years in contemporary art, and in which I have been increasingly interested. I am referring to a certain curiosity about and fascination with esoteric, mystical, and occult themes, which is also so present in your work. Now, why is this phenomenon manifesting itself ? It is not easy to give an answer and I wonder if enough thinking has been devoted to it. I would say that the trend probably started around ten years ago, and it has been growing since.”

28 Sangild, Torben. “Det mystiske bjerg – okkultisme i samtidskunsten” KUNSTEN.NU, April 7, 2014.

“There is a growing interest towards the occult in contemporary art. I am definitely not the first to spot this, but that does not make it less striking.” [Der er en interesse for det okkulte i samtidskunsten i disse år. Det er jeg bestemt ikke den første, der har fået øje på, men det gør det ikke mindre påfaldende.]

29 Note: This statement is based on a hunch and to some degree research… It’s a bit off topic, but I thought I’d put this is just as food for thought. The core of the mentioned statement came from wondering about which cultural products, in my lifetime, had become popular and from conversations with people still seemed to be popular (so not only hyped). What came to mind was Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the superheroes of Marvel (e.g. Spiderman and Iron Man) and DC (e.g. Batman), Twillight, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones… All books or films in the genre of fantasy or science fiction. A thorough investigation of this would be a research project in itself, but I can share a few immediate observations I have made through browsing various box office lists available online… On Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller list, Books of the Decade [the 00s] four Harry Potter Books and two Twillight books are in the top ten.
Top 100 All-Time Box Office List (USA) you find less than ten films which are not fantasy or science fiction; in the top ten, only one is not fantasy or science fiction (Titanic) — on the same list (out of 100) you will find that the vast majority is produced after 2000 (Box Office Mojo more or less backs up list list). Wikipedia though has a highest grossing film adjusted for inflation list where only four (five if you include religious films) are fantasy or science fiction, but here only one film produced after 2000 is present — and of course this is a fantasy/science fiction film (Avatar).
Gaming is another industry grossing on the levels of films these days and here you also find fantasy and science fiction games high on gross lists, but there are quite some realistic games (e.g. sports games and war games). Still video gaming is to some extend going into another reality and with that in mind the growing industry itself witnesses a trend towards preoccupation with alternate realities.
Music could also be included as a subject for investigation — especially in the visuals of certain contemporary musicians, which was pointed out in a swedish KOBRA documentary produced a few years ago…

30 Larsen, Lars Bang. “The Other Side” Frieze Magazine, Issue 106, April, 2007.

31 ibid. reg. bio-politics, Lars Bang Larsen defines it as how capitalism administrates society by using life itself as its resource”

32 Larsen, Lars Bang. “Zombies of Immaterial Labor: The Modern Monster and the Death of Death” E-flux journal #15, april 2010.

33 Adorno, Theodor. “Theses Against Occultism, Minima Moralia” London: Verso, 1978, section 151, pp. 238

34 Heiser, Jörg. “Super-Hybridity: Pick and Mix” Frieze Magazine, Issue 133, September, 2010.
“ (…)
super’ not because it’s superior, but as a reflection of how hybridization has moved beyond the point where it’s about a fixed set of cultural genealogies and instead has turned into a kind of computational aggregate of multiple influences and sources.”

35 Heiser, Jörg, Jones, Ronald, Power, Nina, Price, Seth, Sandhu, Sukhdev, Steyerl, Hito. “Analyze This!” Frieze Magazine, Issue 133, September, 2010.

[Nina Power referring to a point Heiser has made (though not in this discussion)] “of all 20th-century politics movements, which one was more ‘super-hybrid’ than National Socialism? A mishmash of ancient symbols (the swastika), occultism, warped Romanticism (the heroic death), modernization, capitalism, secularism and messianism, Nazism is as super-hybrid as you like.”

36 Note: In my opinion this term should be examined further in a cultural sense and not be dismissed like that. It is still becoming more prominent and has especially found its place in popular entertainment. Pendleton Ward’s animated show “Adventure Time” (and “Bravest Warriors”) is to me one of the recent western trends making fantastic use of super-hybridity. If you examine Japanese popular culture of the decades you will find an incredible amount of outcomes (anime, manga, game shows, theatre) working in the form of super-hybrids… If one should rationalise on this observation, from the point raised in the three Frieze articles about Super-Hybridity (the third one is, “Is There Beauty in Super-Hybridity”) about super-hybridity being connected to escalating use of information technology, Japan might then be the future scenario of where we are heading regarding popular culture (primetime bondage game shows, here we come!).

37 Porsager, Lea.“Ablaze with the Fires of Matter”, Edited by Synnøve B. Brøgger. Officin Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013, p. 10

38 Note: In Scandinavia, a subculture with a very romantic image of the viking (the white warrior from the cold north) has increased in popularity and is also present in recent TV successes like Game of Thrones (HBO) or Vikings (History). Besides it is supported by the nordic food identity, primarily enhanced by NOMA [short for “Nordisk Mad” meaning Nordic Food], the Michelin-star magnet, which has been rated the best restaurant in the world since 2010. In a report from 2014, Denmark’s Statistic institute could conclude that in 2013 the National Museum in Copenhagen surprisingly made number one on the list beating the major art institutions Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and AROS with an increase in visitors of an unprecedented 50 % compared to 2012. This was due to the popularity of their temporary exhibition VIKING. In danish politics, the nationalist party (the Danish People’s Party [Dansk Folkeparti]) has had its members increased 40 % in only two years and in the end of 2014. When I was in Denmark during the holidays around new years, I could go through a whole extra section in of one of the major newspapers showing how hip people were going back to a more “authentic” way of living, which meant doing things the way their grandparents did — quite far from my understanding of authentic, which is something that is in itself (from authentes “one acting on one’s own authority”)… An “authenticity” which nonetheless seems to be a natural everyday adaption of another popular TV show called “Bonderøven” meaning The Redneck [directly translated Farmer-Ass], but with the negative connotations about an ignorant peasant exchanged for an idyllic, romantic image of the independent farmer who does everything in the old way. The program became so popular that it is now on the 14th season (going 7 years).

39 See Huffington Post’s breakdown of the election: Elgot, Jessica. “European Elections: 9 Scariest Far-Right Parties Now in The European Parliament” The Huffington Post UK, May 26, 2014.

40 Note: Truth be told, you cannot scientifically generalise about attention span! It will always have to be investigated in a specific context.

Still several popular sources such as news stations and blogs, confirm a diminishing attention span. A quick google search will connect you to these sites. Something which I have not been able to find research backing up is a returning statement that we have gone from a 12 minutes attention span ten years ago to only a few seconds today. I did a bit of digging and it seems that there are two sources recurring as backup for this assumption. I will let you judge the credibility of these statistics…

First source for this belief might be an infographic with a mistake of minutes/seconds with regards of today’s attention span. See the infographic here.

Second source circulating online is the Statistic Brain Research Institute, quoted often for sharing the sensational finding that our attention span is now less than a gold fish. But how do you pinpoint the attention span of a gold fish which is known for having a short memory (not attention).

41 Several studies have been conducted on this. See for instance White, Ryan. “Beliefs and Biases in Web Search“, Microsoft Research, 2013

Note: The study found that people are more likely to settle for a positive answer (study asked two yes/no questions on specific health issues) and that people are likely to go for confirming what they were leaning towards already. Furthermore it showed that the ranking-bias of the search engine in combination with people’s own biases resulted in the participants settling for the wrong answer almost half of the time.

42 Niedling, Erik. “The Future of Art: Marcos Lutyens, Part 16/21 (Hypnosis)”

43 Rousseau, Pascal. “Under the Influence: Hypnosis as a New Medium / Unter Einfluss. Hypnose als neues Kunstmedium, 100 Notes / 100 Thoughts “No.080: Pascal Rousseau.” dOCUMENTA(13) Notebooks, Hatje Cantz, 2012, p. 14