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In Search of the God Spot is a performative ethnography of transformative experience as measured by the appearance of so-called "god spots" that indicate a state of tranquility in visualized brain wave activity.

PART 1: Brainwave Smackdown


Hortense Gerardo


FRI, JAN 5 | 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM (MST)
Textile Studio

Brainwave Smackdown tracks how brain waves are affected by gameplay. Four player participants (three volunteers) will be invited to engage in a storytelling, D&D-like "smackdown" in which each player’s scanned brainwaves will be projected onto screens to create an immersive environment. Viewers will interact with the players according to the rules
established by this ad hoc game, the goal of which will be for each player to attain a sustained sense of equanimity despite visual or sonic disruptions imposed by the other players or audience members.

PART 2: Incantation


Hortense Gerardo


SAT, JAN 6 | 9 AM - 9:40 AM (MST)
Sound Stage 3 (MIX 123)

Incantation invites attendees to select a combination of non-tactile sensory stimuli to affect the lighting, sound and general ambience within the installation. Attendees will then be invited to engage in a guided meditation to encourage a state of enhanced serenity, traceable through the appearance of "god spots" in the brain wave activity of a select number of volunteer attendees utilizing wearable technology that will be projected on screens. The work explore ways that curated performance can elicit communal moments of transformative experience.

From the Artist

Hortense Gerardo

Director, The Anthropology, Performance, and Technology (APT) Program, University of
California, San Diego

I am a Filipino-American anthropologist, screenwriter, and playwright, and my artist practice is informed by my background in anthropology and in the performing arts as well as by the hands-on training I received as the Artist-In-Residence (AiR) of an urban planning agency, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). During my time as AiR I learned how to interact with various communities in my role as an anthropologist “in the field”, observing the similarities and differences between stated versus observed practice, and engaging with community members to develop socially-engaged art (SEA) in the form of performance works,
choreographed pieces, and documentary films. 

My recent work explores human | robot interaction, AR, VR, and XR through the lens of affect theory, which informs In Search of the God Spot. I am fortunate to be able to pursue these interests in my role as Director of the Anthropology, Performance, and Technology (APT) Program at the University of California, San Diego, and I am honored to be participating in the Worlds in Play event at Arizona State University.


Mia Fiorella – Director of Experiences and Activations, La Jolla Playhouse
Albert Pisano – Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California, San Diego
The Sloan Foundation
The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Foundation

There may be bright, flashing lights associated with Part 1 of this piece. Part 2 might involve sitting in darkness.