SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE SUN: Interrogations of performance of flicker


  • Sonja Blum Independent artist



Flicker is a coordinated beat which can be superimposed on the brain’s alpha rhythm, through a flickering light source, and is associated with hallucinatory or visionary states of mind. In this experimental piece, I weave ideas and performance into a poetic image and text piece proposing some hypotheses and questions surrounding the relationship of moving bodies, the sun, and eureka moments of visions and dreams of new worlds.

Author Biography

Sonja Blum, Independent artist

Sonja Blum works across multiple media through a veil of intuition, memory, and scientific method, using play, to consider how modes of knowledge production and world building are legitimized.

Recent and current exhibitions include: I Dialogue, Kinch, Belmacz Gallery, London (2021), Anti-Fear / Protiv Straha, Footnote Centre Belgrade Serbia Youth Biennial 2021, Incision // falling together, holding apart, Center for Performance Research, New York (2019), And Apollo, Take Care Gallery, Los Angeles (2019); Fear of Revolution II, Dixon Place, New York (2018); Fear of Revolution, Dixon Place, New York (2017); Digital memory prosthetics, REVERSE Gallery (2016), To the left of the pantry and under the sugar shack, La Mama, New York (2016).

Sonja holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2019). She lives and works in New York City.


Billock, Vincent A., and Brian H. Tsou. 2012. “Elementary Visual Hallucinations and Their Relationships to Neural Pattern-Forming Mechanisms.” Psychological Bulletin 138 (4): 744–74. DOI:

Buzsáki, György, and David Tingley. 2018. “Space and Time: The Hippocampus as a Sequence Generator.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 22 (10): 853–69. DOI:

“David Brewster.” Wikipedia.

Duchamp, Marcel. 1926. Anémic Cinéma. The Museum of Modern Art. Accessed January 9, 2022.

Frampton, Hollis. 1971. Nostalgia (Hapax Legomena I. The Museum of Modern Art. Accessed January 9, 2022.

Gysin, Brion, and Terry Wilson. 2012. Brion Gysin: Here to Go. London: Solar Books.

Halter, Ed. 2010. “Powers of Projection: The Art of Bruce McClure.” Artforum, January.

Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. 2013. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Wivenhoe, New York, and Port Watson: Minor Compositions.

Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. 2021. All Incomplete. Colchester, New York, and Port Watson: Minor Compositions.

Hasselmo, Michael E., and Chantal E. Stern. 2014. “Theta Rhythm and the Encoding and Retrieval of Space and Time.” NeuroImage 85 Pt 2: 656–66. DOI:

Hodges, Wilfrid. 2001. Logic. 2nd edition. London: Penguin.

Marx, Vivien. 2013. “The Big Challenges of Big Data.” Nature 498 (7453): 255–60. DOI:

Mauro, Federica, Antonino Raffone, and Rufin VanRullen. 2015. “A Bidirectional Link between Brain Oscillations and Geometric Patterns.” The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 35 (20): 7921–26. DOI:

Meulen, B. C. ter, D. Tavy, and B. C. Jacobs. 2009. “From Stroboscope to Dream Machine: A History of Flicker-Induced Hallucinations.” European Neurology 62 (5): 316–20. DOI:

Moten, Fred, and Wu Tsang. 2019. Gravitational Feel. Glasgow: Tramway.

Muñoz, José Esteban. 1996. “Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts.” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 8 (2): 5–16. DOI:

“Paul Sharits - Burchfield Penney Art Center.” n.d. Accessed January 1, 2022.

Pearson, Joel, Rocco Chiou, Sebastian Rogers, Marcus Wicken, Stewart Heitmann, and Bard Ermentrout. 2016. “Sensory Dynamics of Visual Hallucinations in the Normal Population.” ELife 5. DOI:

Rule, Michael, Matthew Stoffregen, and Bard Ermentrout. 2011. “A Model for the Origin and Properties of Flicker-Induced Geometric Phosphenes.” PLoS Computational Biology 7 (9): e1002158. DOI:

Sheehan, Nic, dir. 1997. FlicKeR.

Smythies, J. R. 1959. “The Stroboscopic Patterns. II. The Phenomenology of the Bright Phase and after-Images.” British Journal of Psychology 50: 305–24. DOI:

Uhlhaas, Peter J., Gordon Pipa, Bruss Lima, Lucia Melloni, Sergio Neuenschwander, Danko Nikolić, and Wolf Singer. 2009. “Neural Synchrony in Cortical Networks: History, Concept and Current Status.” Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 3. DOI:

Valencia, Ana Lucía, and Tom Froese. 2020. “What Binds Us? Inter-Brain Neural Synchronization and Its Implications for Theories of Human Consciousness.” Neuroscience of Consciousness 2020 (1): niaa010. DOI:

Walter, W. Grey. 1953. The Living Brain. New York: W. W. Norton.

Winnicott, D. W. 2005. Playing and Reality. 2nd edition. London: Routledge.




How to Cite

Blum, Sonja. 2022. “SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE SUN: Interrogations of Performance of Flicker”. Performance Philosophy 7 (2):157-68.