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ASMR Installation premiers at Kassel Dokfest Film and Media Festival

written by Bahar Muller October 1, 2016

Celebrating its 33rd edition this year, the Kassel Dokfest Film and Media Festival will once again play host to over 300 feature and documentary films, artistic productions and trans-disciplinary media installations in November, in Kassel, Germany; and among this year’s broad line up of experimental art work is an interesting Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response installation by Lisa Dreykluft.

Dreykluft uses image and sound in her work with a focus on language. Her most recent video works are looking at a unique online community, the ASMRtists, who celebrate a particular audio fetish, exploring relaxation, comfort, pleasure and meditation as commodities and the boundaries of art/non-art.



The term, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, was originally coined in 2007 on an online forum to describe a euphoric experience, which is characterised as a “tingling sensation” on the skin, travelling through the body from the scalp to the spine and limbs. The phenomenon, which can also be referred as “Attention Induced Head Orgasm,” and often compared with the auditory-tactile synesthesia, has found expression in meditation, arts and especially in digital media since then, creating its very own sub-cultural genre.

Lisa notes that, “For people who are recipient of ASMR, these feelings can be triggered by a variety of visual, but mainly acoustic stimuli. Over the last few years there has been a boom on Youtube of people uploading videos with the purpose of triggering their viewers. They whisper, speak in soft voices, tap on objects or crinkle paper to create pleasant sounds and bring their audience a unique form of relaxation. There is also a big sociological component to these videos. Many of them are role plays, in which the so-called ASMRtists address the viewer directly, pretending to be their friend, therapist or doctor in order to comfort them and giving them personal attention on demand. ASMR is being used to ease anxiety, insomnia and depression.”



The installation adapts the ASMR format and by appropriating similar strategies, creates a multi-sensory environment, a safe space that allows the viewers to immerse themselves in three different videos: You will never get that emotion again, IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU THOUGH, and ASMR – The Presence of another Living Being – Theta and Delta Binaural Beats

The film-maker seeks new ways to communicate with her viewers, using the way of direct address to convey content beyond the context of relaxing role plays, opening the themes of fetish, needs for intimacy and interpersonal relationships in the digital era of the 21st century to discussion.

Organised in collaboration with the Filmaden Kassel, this year the annual film and media festival will take place from 15th to 20th October.

Featuring a symposium, a forum and an educational side program in addition to the art showcases, every year the unique event attracts more than 14,000 guests from students to accredited professionals.

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