August 21-30, 2020

Iris / Stephen Auger @ Axle Contemporary

June 7 – 24 / in the Railyard Plaza / 1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
scroll down for full listing of dates and hours
free admission

 a mind-bending perceptual ride

Axle Contemporary, housed in the back of a custom retrofitted 1970 aluminum stepvan, presents the premiere installation of a multi-sensory perceptual ride: Stephen Auger’s Iris.

IRIS merges rhythmic sound, pulsating light, and vibrational resonance, induces bodily experience beyond the boundaries of the intellectual mind.

Engineered by top-tier scientists, creatives, and programmers, the IRIS sensorium hovers at an electric intersection of neuroscience, art, and entertainment. “Three parts neurobiology and one part magic,” says creator Stephen Auger, “each IRIS encounter generates a custom creation of wonder and awe.” Light, color, sound, and story guide each adventurer on a journey unique to their biology, synchronizing their senses and reconnecting them to the magic of forgotten experiences.

Auger invites participants inside a small space where they are introduced to both sound and light frequencies, which induce visualizations of spirals, fractals, waves, radials, zigzags, honeycombs, pinwheels, and “seed” patterns.

In 1819, Jan Purkinje, the father of modern neuroscience, first described the swirling geometric visual patterns brought on by diffuse flickering light as phenomena of perception rather than a supernatural encounter. Profoundly influential experiences are found through all recorded time from cave art, shamanistic trance to Pythagorean geometry. Adepts and seekers have long seeked the night sky, caves, and sacred spaces,  at specific seasonal moments, to elevate shafts and particles of light into visionary encounters.

When the human visual system encounters specific frequencies of diffuse flickering light, most people experience beautiful swirling colorful geometric patterns. The dynamics of the patterns are related to altered neuronal activity between the thalamus and the visual cortex, but there is still much that is not well understood. The phenomena is an interesting hack, which reveals the inner workings of the human visual system without the need for pharmacological assistance.

The development of IRIS has been made possible with support from Harvard Medical School, MIT, and UC Berkeley. Following its debut at Axle Contemporary, this project will be presented at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada in September 2018.

Appointments last about seven minutes.  Appointments can be booked in advance at IRIS can accomodate 1–4 people at a time.


Thurs, June 7:  11:00 am–8:30 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure. Part of Santa Fe Institute’s InterPlanteray Festival.
Fri, June 8:      11:00 am–11:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure. Part of Santa Fe Institute’s InterPlanteray Festival & Currents.
Sat, June 9:     3:00 pm–11:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure. Part of Currents.
Sun, June 10:   Noon–7:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure. Part of Currents.

Thurs June 14:  4:00 pm–10:00 pm at Meow Wolf.
Fri, June 15:      5:00 pm–8:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure.
Sat, June 16:     5:00 pm–8:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure.

Thurs, June 21:    3:00 pm–8:00 pm at Meow Wolf.
Friday, June 22:   5:00 pm–8:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure.
Sun: June 24:  Noon–5:00 pm in Farmer’s Market shade structrure.

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