Thursday, 2 August 2012

1950's drawings on acid

In the 1950's, when the USA government were testing the effects of acid (LSD 25), an artist was given a box of pencils, crayons etc, dosed with some acid, and then asked to draw at intervals during the acid trip  the person who administered the dose.  The artworks below are the results of the experiment.

20 minutes after the dose - no effects yet

 85 minutes later, and 20 minutes after a second dose had been administered (50ug (micrograms) + 50ug)

'I can see you clearly, so clearly. This... you... it's all ... I'm having a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going.'

2 hours 30 minutes

'Outlines seem normal, but very vivid - everything is changing colour. My hand must follow the bold sweep of the lines. I feel as if my consciousness is situated in the part of my body that's now active - my hand, my elbow... my tongue'.

2 hours 32 minutes

'I'm trying another drawing. The outlines of the model are normal, but now those of my drawing are not. The outline of my hand is going weird too. It's not a very good drawing is it? I give up - I'll try again...'

2 hours 35 minutes

'I'll do a drawing in one flourish... without stopping... one line, no break!' Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing, then becomes startled by something on the floor.

2 hours 45 minutes

Patient tries to climb into activity box, and is generally agitated - responds slowly to the suggestion he might like to draw some more. He has become largely none verbal. 'I am... everything is... changed... they're calling... your face... interwoven... who is...' Patient mumbles inaudibly to a tune (sounds like 'Thanks for the memory). He changes medium to Tempera.

4 hours 25 minutes

Patient retreated to the bunk, spending approximately 2 hours lying, waving his hands in the air. His return to the activity box is sudden and deliberate, changing media to pen and water colour. 'This will be the best drawing, Like the first one, only better. If I'm not careful I'll lose control of my movements, but I won't, because I know. I know' - (this saying is then repeated many times). 

 Patient makes the last half-a-dozen strokes of the drawing while running back and forth across the room.

5 hours 45 minutes

Patient continues to move about the room, intersecting the space in complex variations. It's an hour and a half before he settles down to draw again - he appears over the effects of the drug. 'I can feel my knees again, I think it's starting to wear off. This is a pretty good drawing - this pencil is mighty hard to hold' - (he is holding a crayon).

8 hours later

Patient sits on bunk bed. He reports the intoxication has worn off except for the occational distorting of our faces. We ask for a final drawing which he performs with little enthusiasm. 'I have nothing to say about this last drawing, it is bad and uninteresting, I want to go home now.'

Ah, this certainly takes me back to the old days.  Primal Scream, The KLF, The Beach Boys, The Boo Radleys, Love, Spiritualized and many more have a lot to be proud of.
With thanxs to cowboybooks.

toodle pip

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