Eliana – Research Brief



On low frequencies, sonic devices and trance states

Through this research, I aim to produce work linking major elements of my own culture to create an introspective and, in some way, self-portrait in the form of a sound installation. Having been soaked in the history and influences of the late 80’s – 90s soundsystem/rave culture, but also educated with a very strong background in science-fiction, dystopia and oneiric movies, it is important to me to synthetize what these two worlds mean to me and put in evidence what comes out when merging them.

What I would like to focus on here is the relationship between Infrasound and Low Frequency Vibrations (ILFV), very present in both nature and soundsystem culture (“Bass” based music genres) and their effect on the human body and mind.

Therefore, I’m interested in How low frequencies and sonic devices have been used to induce trance states and how it connects with spirituality.

In the past years, I’ve been very interested in the Sound art scene, still discreet and not very richly documented (just as the Sound system culture itself), and wanted to experiment with sound myself, in a deeper way than I had in my previous years of study. Indeed, our bodies respond to frequencies and to tones, and I aim to be able to direct the response I’d like to get, using harmonics, silences, rhythmic elements, isolating frequencies, learning about equalizers and compression, etc…

What I am interested in, regarding the artistic outcome, is the concept of the “seer” in literature, of the spiritual and creative self. I’d like to offer a reflection on states of trance and hypnosis. The “seer” can also relate to spiritual figures such as shamans and prophets, beings gifted the “ability” to comprehend reality at another level and bring insights to their followers. Which brings me to research on tribal rituals and shamanic knowledges, in which often sound rituals have been central.


In order to go further in my research, I’m interested in looking at works in literature, film making and poetry regarding perception, time, the creative self and onirism. On another hand, I find a lot of responses and inspiration in performances and live experiences (contemporary- dance and music, electronic music “lives”).

Therefore, I aim to pursue a scholar research as well as an experience/interview based research reaching for sound designers and artists. But also, scientists on one hand, and spiritual groups on another. As my work tends to be very much about personal experience, I think it is essential for me to gather information from different profiles and types of audience.   In my writing, I reckon I would like to make these notions more tangible and accessible by exploring them through case studies. For now, the three different aspects I would like to explore are contemporary art, spiritual rituals and soundsystem experiences, in which case, for now, my chosen cases would be the current installation by Tania Bruguera and Steve Goodman“10,142,926,…” (2018, Tate Modern), the “To Hear With My Eyes…” performance by Australian artist Mel O’Callaghan (2016, Palais de Tokyo) in collaboration with the Cunyamunge Institute – a reproduction of a trance state inducing practice – and finally, the story and specificities of the Killasan Soundsystem, a Japanese wall of speakers that travelled the world and became iconic for the very peculiar treatment of sound it is able to achieve.




Bachelard, Gaston (1957) The Poetics of Space

Cage, John (1961) Silence

Collins, Nick (2013) Electronic Music, Chapter 11 – Sound art

Gautier, T. (1847) “Du Beau dans l’art” Revue des Deux Mondes, période initiale, tome 19

Goodman, Steve (2009) Sonic Warfare

Rancière, Jacques (2008) The Emancipated Spectator

Rimbaud, Arthur (1871) “Lettre de Rimbaud à Georges Izambard”

Stoichita, Victor A. (October 2017) “L’emprise des sons”, Terrain Issue 68

Tapper, Dan (2013) VLF : A Sound Artist’s Guide

Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1927) Tractatus Logico-philosophicus


“Playlist : The lights and sounds of the universe”, “Julian Treasure : Why architects need to use their ears”, Ted Talks





Viola, Bill

Villeneuve, Denis          [ (2017) Blade Runner 2049 ]

            Cocteau, Jean              [ (1950) Orpheus ]

Crump                          [ (2015) Troublemakers : The story of land art ]

Gaillard, Cyprien

Gilliam, Terry                [ (2013) Zero Theorem ]

Goodman, Steve (Kode9)

Glass, Philip                   [The Photographer]

Hentschlager, Kurt        [ SOL (2016) ]

Ikeda, Ryoji

Kolgen, Herman

Kubrick, Stanley            [ (1968) 2001, A Space Odyssey ]

Levin Janna                  [“Levin : The sounds the universe makes”TED Talks ]

Parreno, Philipe

Scott, Ridley                  [ (1982) Blade Runner ]

Turrell, James

Treasure, Julian            [“J. Treasure : Why architects need to use their ears”TED Talks]            

Exhibition :        “Soundings”, MoMa 2013

“150 Years or Recorded Sounds”British Library 2018


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