In August 2011 I organized an expedition in the Arctic Circle, in the north of Norway, in the Lofoten Islands. The expedition was inspired by the laboratory experiments of Dr. Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum. I have decided that if a scientist can be as creative as he was – when designing his laboratory experiments – then an artist can meet him half-way and engage with the idea of the 'laboratory' (well away from the way this concept circulated in the context of so-called 'relational aesthetics'). To engage with the same idea… but from the angle of the artist, who reflects on the construction of the image… then again, this is exactly what Grinberg engaged in, and also what the Yaqui shamans from the Sonora desert engage in, daily as well: they reflect precisely on the way images are constructed. In my quest, as in theirs, we are tailing the image in the inter-dimensional field.
I invited some people to come along, amongst them a scientist who specializes on neuronal level indicators of the effects of hallucinogenic substances, and also a doctor, a psychiatrist who is now a play writer. The other guests were people who had had animated dialogues with the world of dreams and subtle vision. And there were a couple of multifaceted and sinuous skeptics amongst us, there always needs to be a hand break in these situations.
My main guest was Isaias Mavisoy Jansasoy, a shaman, a Taita from the Inga tribe in the Putumayo region of Colombia. Isaias – like Segismundo in Pedro Calderon de La Barca's play from the 17th Century Life is a Dream – had never left the Amazon before and here he was, all of a sudden dislocated to the very north of the planet.
The idea was to drink the power plant Ayahuasca or Yagé, in Norway and to draw on the difference between the visions that Isaias might have in that zone of the planet as opposed to the visions that he generally has in his native Amazon jungle. The laboratory experiment was in fact about one single question: is there an inter-dimensional field? Can we come close to tracing the difference between threshold and hallucination?