trip toys
This Cube of Infinite Mirrors Expands, Contracts, and Blows Your Mind

This Cube of Infinite Mirrors Expands, Contracts, and Blows Your Mind

This light sculpture by Numen/For Use bends reality to a new level. It’s a large cube of one-way mirrors lined with bright lights along the edges. Three of the cube’s six surfaces are made of flexible membrane, which bend as air is pumped into the cube by a huge compressor on one side. The other three surfaces are semi-transparent mirrors, so you can see into the cube’s infinite dimensions without leaving a reflection. In other words, you get to peek into the Escher-esque abyss as it changes shape: “By inflating or deflating the air tank, the membrane turns convex or concave, deforming the...
Squareeater: Entrain your brain with strobes & binaural beats

Squareeater: Entrain your brain with strobes & binaural beats

“Welcome to a new generation of brain exploration,” says the front page of Squareeater, a free service offering audio-visual experiences called “squares.” The squares are described as “meditative devices” with names like “Chakra,” “Deep Down,” “Upper,” and “Strange Night.” Each square uses binaural beats and other unusual sounds to achieve brainwave entrainment — the fairly recent and not-well-understood practice of causing one’s brainwaves to fall into step with an external stimulus. What’s a binaural beat? It’s the pulse or tone created in one’s mind when the left and right ears hear two distinct tones that are very close in pitch. Searching “binaural beat” on the...
The Perception Scope: How to Conjure Open-eye Visuals at Will

The Perception Scope: How to Conjure Open-eye Visuals at Will

People talk about how subtle psychedelic hallucinations can be. As long as your eyes are open, they say, objects may appear different — more vibrant, breathing in and out, or covered with patterns — but they won’t morph into faeries and slithering monsters like they do in the movies. Unless, of course, you take a heroic dose; then anything is fair game. I disagree. I see “things that aren’t really there” on any decent dose, sometimes into the following day. If you haven’t seen more than patterns and wobbling walls, you probably just need some direction and practice. In fact, with...
How to Conjure Visions in Ribbons of Smoke

How to Conjure Visions in Ribbons of Smoke

The image of smoke swirling through the air, catching the light as it dances upwards, can be absolutely breathtaking. In a dark room with a single stick of incense, you can follow the threads of smoke as they weave about, reacting to your every breath. Here’s the exercise. You will need: incense, a  candle, and materials for getting high (not strictly necessary, but cannabis amplifies the imagination in my experience). This works best indoors. Turn off all the lights except for a single candle. I mean all of them — if you have so much as a dim nightlight on,...
Tree of Light Sculpture Diffracting Into Rainbows

Tree of Light Sculpture Diffracting Into Rainbows

I discovered this temporary light sculpture in a park in Austin, Texas and had to take a video. I was wearing diffraction glasses and tripping on shrooms, so every source of light exploded into a dazzling spectrum of colors. The effect was magical, as though the tree was scrawling across the sky with bright and fiery fingers. The music completed the experience. Nodding my head to the Geographer song playing in my headphones (“Paris”) and watching the colors drift across my vision, I had one of those moments. You know the ones, where the scene is so perfect that you...