Sunday, February 24, 2008

Heartbeat in the Brain

In 1970, Amanda Feilding drilled a hole through her skull with a dentist drill and captured the procedure on film (titled "Heartbeat in the Brain"). Shown only to select groups in the years that have passed between now and then, the film came to my attention via Cabinet, a quarterly magazine on arts and culture. Amanda Feilding, now in her sixties, speaks to Christopher Turner:

I ask her whether she envisages a utopia in which, one day, we all have holes in our heads and access to a higher plane. "On the whole, people remain just as disappointing untrepanned or trepanned," Feilding laughs. "Just because someone is trepanned it doesn't mean that you like them any more."

Still, she remains "a supporter of the procedure, and has started up the Beckley Foundation to commission research into the possible benefits of trepanation". The Beckley Foundation, which is also working on an LSD study with human subjects, is working with Prof. Yuri Moskalenko, head of the Brain Circulatory Laboratory at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg, to study the effects of trepanation on aging.

For more information about the ancient art of trepanation, see the piece on Wikipedia.