Research Project: Epileptograph

Statement (2004)

Starting in 1992, and for almost 10 years, I worked intensely on a project combining academic research with an art practice and entitled ‘Epileptograph: the internal journey’.
The text at the origin of the creative practice can be viewed here.
The original aim of the project was to viscerally explore, using computer generated sounds and graphics, the visual and auditory perceptions experienced during the awareness process leading to the regaining of consciousness following an epileptic seizure.
A direct consequence of this research and its physical experiments was an awakening to the ‘losing’ of consciousness: an invaluable tool to navigate life at large.
Like most neurological disorders, epilepsy is officially measured and comprehended on the basis of a generalised notion of consciousness. Popular contemporary definitions of being conscious include the state of awareness of one’s own existence, sensations and cognition, i.e. of having one’s mental faculties awake (?). There are 40 or so different kinds of “epilepsy” and that is without taking into account that every one of us is an individual in her/his own right. While 2% of the world’s population is affected it is estimated that 1% is not aware of their condition.

In my opinion, part of the popular notion of consciousness implies that full linguistic abilities are present as a tool to interpret sensations, and it was my role to question the validity of such notions and to interrogate the very essence of the word ‘consciousness’. The body has its own knowledge which becomes accessible to, and rarely to be forgotten by, the essential mind. The process of this work in perpetual progress have provided greater personal insight into the subtlety of a physiology of emotions:  the visceral awareness of the body to itself is a major component in the definition of the self.

This project was made possible with the assistance of The Australian Council for the Arts, the Australian Network for Art & Technology, The Australian Film Commission, Softimage Montreal & Singapore, Glaxo-Welcome-Kline, Artscape Sydney, College of Fine Arts UNSW Sydney, Vislab University of Sydney, and many generous individuals. Parts of the project were included in the attainment of a Master by Research (UNSW, 1996) particular thanks go to my MFA Research supervisors, Prof. Bill Seaman and Prof. Adrian Hall.

Stills extracted from animation© :

sound extracted from original 8mns track©

800_1996_Isabelle Delmotte_Epileptograph-The Internal Journey_Exhibition Documentation_3