Lucid Rushi (2013)

Lucid Rushi is a performance that is performed from within deep sleep. The performer's body movements while inside a state of lucid dream drive the actions of a 3D digital puppet. This is achieved through an EEG setup that listens to the performer's brain activity and a webcam that tracks the movements of their eyes while they're asleep.

Full Description

During performance, I was hooked up to an EEG system that listened my brain activity as I fell asleep in the gallery on my bed. When the system detected that I had reached deep sleep (which was done by monitoring the low frequencies ideally associated with deep sleep), it activated a 3D digital puppet. A webcam attached to my forehead tracked the movements of my eyes during this phase, and upon receiving the activation signal by the EEG setup, these eye movements began driving the digital puppet. I attempted to reach a lucid state from within the sleep and then control the puppet from inside the dream by moving my eyes.

Prior to the performance, I practiced lucid dreaming techniques for about six months, and developed a rubric to control the movements of my eyes. I practiced simple calisthenics where the movements of the arms and legs were synchronized with the movements of my eyes. For example, I raised my left arm and moved my eyes to the left top quadrant, then I raised my right arm and moved my eyes to the top right quadrant and so on. The idea was that if I practiced these exercises long enough then I'd be able to perform the same actions from within the dream and move my eye balls along with my dream body movements.

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2013
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Thursday Nov 21st, 2013
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • Ganesh Rao, Primary Creator
    • Junze Zhou, 3D Model & Rig
    • Thomas Storey, Model Posing
    • Louis Tassinary, EEG Support
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Artist Statement

No matter who we are or what we do, we need sleep. What happens to us when we sleep isn't fully explained by science, but we've found that sleep is essential. Without sleep we tend to slowly lose our very self, our very identity. Thus I became interested in personal identity and sleep, more specifically the question: what happens to our identity when we're asleep. Do we, as an individual, persist within our non-perceptive, sleep-paralyzed bodies? Are we still the same person when our consciousness is under the spell of deep sleep? Is it possible to have a conversation from within sleep? These questions lead me to investigate the possibilities of communicating from within sleep, and Lucid Rushi is the first result that has risen from this line of thinking.

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