By Adriana Krasniansky
With formidable drinks, pulsing lights, and overcrowded interiors, Las Vegas’s nightclubs are far from relaxing. Swimming against this stream of activity, artist Lia Chavez has created ‘The Octave of Visible Light’ – a pop-up meditation nightclub that uses brainwaves to direct the club’s audio and visuals.
From January 7-February 8, “The Octave of Visible Light: A Meditation Nightclub” will serve as pop-up experience in P3Studio, a contemporary art gallery at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas. Each evening, Chavez guides guests through a brief meditation session. Guests wear EEG headsets, which interpret brainwaves and transmit a corresponding signal to the AV system. Colors and sounds of various intensities match the brainwave signals, creating a unique, 15-minute meditative “set” DJ-ed by each guest.
Our very own founder, Piers Fawkes, experienced the concept at launch and told us, “The art is engulfing and eternal. You are bombarded by a mix of sound and light – but to balance the experience, you have to seek calmness and tranquility.”
Octave is designed to sit at the junction of art, tech, and science, fitting for a city that just finished hosting the largest tech trade show in history. For Chavez, the nightclub is meant to be more powerful than a crowded dance room—it serves as a transcendental experience, where guests can visualize their own brain waves and manipulate them. By stimulating neurowaves and targeting certain sound levels, Chavez anticipates that the nightclub can also have spiritual effects:
A key part of the meditation nightclub is realignment. That’s exactly why we came to Las Vegas, a city that’s filled with money and ego and discord. The bassline created during meditation uses a sonic palette from the Pythagorean scale of A tuned to 432 Hz – a frequency that is said to help with DNA repair. It’s also a series of notes commonly used in cross-cultural sound therapy traditions.
Chavez worked in partnership with creative technology studio rehabstudio, art nonprofit Art Production Fund, and Au Revoir Simone frontwoman Erika Spring to produce the pop-up. She has previously experimented with brainwave visualization during London Frieze art fair, and believes the interactions “[empower] people to explore their own interior landscape.”
As last week’s CES showed, people are increasingly turning to technology for support in both productivity and entertainment: smartwatches and virtual reality headsets help us to coordinate our days or escape from them. In a city so reliant on high tech, it’s comforting to find a place where the entertainment is in our heads.