THE FAUXIST INTERNATIONAL’S SUBLIMINAL SLEEP TAPES
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on July 6, 2009
“THE FAUXIST INTERNATIONAL’S SUBLIMINAL SLEEP TAPES” details the history and cultural politics of consumer subliminal media, upward mobility, and capitalist market flux. Fauxist investigations into subliminal un/learning, productions of dedicated revolutionary/ insurrectionary subliminal audio materials (ie Sleep tapes for use whilst sleeping) and ‘Subliminal Monumentality’ (subliminal audio use in public space and architectural possibilities).
(Upcoming addendums include: Field recording of San Francisco group ‘Heticide’ with subliminal content sent to US military interrogators, and used as critical tool in US queer cultural imperialism).
The History of Consumer Subliminal Audio
Following the 1950s subliminal film/TV message panic, many businesses sprung up purporting to offer helpful subliminal audio-tapes that supposedly improve the health, career (etc) of the listener. Thus the hubbub inadvertently created a market for subliminal media, mostly self-help tapes consisting of music, ‘beneath’ which “affirmations” had been recorded at a low decibel level. Listeners could not hear the messages, but were supposedly subliminally influenced- as one subliminal publisher put it, like “a dog whistle going straight into your brain.” Tens of thousands of consumers bought subliminal tapes and, later, CD’s, videos, DVD’s and more recently, computer software.
Originally sold only through direct mail, subliminal products began cropping up in retail stores by the late 1980s. At their peak, cassette sales alone brought in an estimated $50 million annually in the US. As we saw above, institutions bought into the subliminal audio cure as well: South Point Prison in Utah used one called “Pedophilia” to quell criminal impulses. Sound Threshold Systems sold subliminal anti-theft systems to stores. Department stores and grocery store chains would play messages like “Stealing is dishonest” or “Purchase for President” under background Muzak. (For further documentation and interpretation see “Non-Advertising/commercial Subliminals”).
Markedly different from the aforementioned clandestine subliminal media interventions criticized by many cultural theorists, self-help subliminals were voluntarily embraced by the public- consumers wanted to be subconsciously influenced in a manner they considered desirable. Thus, the most common themes and messages generally followed closely to the “Prosperity/Living the Dream” aesthetic. Typical tapes were to inspire listeners with messages like “I attract money,” and “I deserve the good life.” Kids’ tapes were also popular. “Positive Thoughts for Children” offered the sounds of a seashore, and, somewhere in there, the assurance “I am loved.” “I Am a Great Reader” was designed for tots and even, for consumers with particularly active imaginations, foetuses. The owner of a self-help store in Salt Lake City told a reporter for the Bergen, New Jersey, Record that pregnant women listen to such tapes because “kids they come out more intelligent and walk sooner.” Other standouts in the Upwardly Mobile genre include: “Freedom From Acne,” “Winning at the Track”, “I am a genius”, “Pensive Flirting”, “Overtly”, “Shrug that Hunch”, though the list is almost endless. The popularity of subliminal tapes- now having moved into other audio technologies, has not waned, with innumerable companies (of varying levels of repute) now populating the internet.
The Fauxist subliminal tapes
The Fauxists, ever championing avant-garde democratisation, have conducted wide-ranging research into the history and content of such tapes, and after trials of making originary works of subliminal audio, various sleep-tape experiments, We identified two key problems with commercial subliminal audio media.
The first: that such tapes are mass-produced and hence are wildly unsuited for individual use. Regular subliminal tapes are fine for regular people. But can mass-produced tapes, with standardised messaging really improve your life, especially if you exist outside ‘consensus reality’, to speak so crudely? Produced for the mass-market, they’re designed to suit some ‘generic’ consumer, and while not addressing your own unique needs or desires, they therefore can also be hugely psychically dangerous! We have found that many subliminal tapes contain seriously flawed subliminal messages, such as using “NOT”- which can have serious side-effects. The cheaper subliminal tapes even contain hidden purchase prompts (i.e. “Buy more tapes in our series”). Distilled to a usable maxim, We have: “YES- Subliminal Messages DO Work. BUT- The VAST Majority of Subliminal tapes DON’T. It’s Your Brain and thus, your life- BE CAREFUL What You Feed It!” Questions you should ask include: Who made your tape? What is their agenda? How can you be sure you’re receiving anything of value? Let alone anything not-propaganda? The second: Distilled to its essence: it just so happened that the qualities consumers desired were those promoted by the marke
Fauxist Subliminal Tape Sleep Learning tests: Onward!
Subliminal audio and hypnosis software has advanced greatly in the last few years. What used to take thousands of dollars and months in a recording studio can now be done at home with powerful software and an off-the-shelf computer system. With many programs, You can add an unlimited number of Suggestions, Affirmations, Alerts and Hypnotic Scripts to any session. Some include pre-screening sessions for the specific purpose of guiding your mind to a receptive, absorbent state, dramatically increasing the effect of Affirmations or Hypnotic scripts. The range of actions is almost limitless! Some allow advanced “Dual Induction” techniques- giving the right and left ear individual suggestions, and often do not limit the number of voices, tracks or layers you are able to add to a session. Additionally, each Track can be customized beyond anything we’ve achieved manually. For example, you can set both the wave structure and the form of the pulse for each track. This is quite useful for professionals treating clients based on specific brainwave patterns, and can also lead to some very interesting experiments for ‘hobbyists’.
Research has shown that subliminal learning is the best way to reach the untapped potential in our mind, releasing tremendous power for changing deeply ingrained habits, overcoming addictions and, in most importantly in the context of the Learning Tests, introducing new information and skills. The Fauxists, denizens of the metropolis Multi-Tasking, don’t want to waste any more time simply sleeping! Investigating heady claims of learning languages wholly subliminally, programming skills, parenting, memorising texts, equations etc, and finding peer-reviewed confirmation that Subliminal Sleep Learning can be successful if administered correctly, this seemed to be a ripe area for investigation, and the Fauxists were to embark on a new and fabulous foray! Using scientific testing methodologies- the now infamous ‘placebo tapes’, double-blind tests, randomised test-groups, community radio events and etcetera, (see our publication “The Subliminal Animal” for documentation of the successes of visual subliminal learning in animals) We tested a variety of approaches. (See our website for some of the tasks undertaken by willing Fauxists with their usual flair for Complete Commitment)
The central idea of these two strands- the learning tests and subliminal tapes etc- was to combine the techniques to produce more successful and experimental tape-works, to push the frontiers of subliminal and sleep audio. In plumbing and proving the utility of learning, fathoming the problems and limitations of the commercial tape world, and asking: What are other avenues, aesthetics, applications for such tapes? We combined these to create the first series of publicly available Fauxist Subliminal and Sleep Audio Tapes (or FSSAT).
Divided into 4 main genres, necessarily overlapping, nesting and coddling one another, the FSSAT extend and develop the territory so thinly covered by commercial tapes/subliminal audio, and that explored by the Sleep tape Learning Tests described above. The 4 genres (designed to be extended in combination, counterpoint etc) are: Un/Learning tapes, Behavioural tapes, Performative tapes, and Revolutionary/Insurrectionary tapes. Thus Un/learning content can easily be mixed with revolutionary/insurrectionary content and so on using techniques of collage, bricollage, decoupage, cut-up and multiple source use to create create self-referential, ironic mixes. All genres of the FSSAT have proven to be remarkably successful across all consumer spectrums. (Ordering and pricing information is found below).
Our current range of tapes encompasses the gamut of possible desires, and We lack space here in which to list them in full. What follows is a reduced listing to suggest the current edges of the field.
-True Genius, Onomatopoeia Genius; The Zone: Peak Performance, De-clutter Your Brain; Fear of Confrontation: Face The Man; Fear of Accepting Your Past: Other Genders, other Classes; Fear Nothing – FULL STOP, Defeat the Fear of Frying; Extinguish your Fear of the Dark; Write a GREAT Brechtian Screenplay, NOW!; Improve Your Dancing Skills!; Become Totally Decisive NOW; Dysphoria-Hypochondria CURED!; Become a TOTAL Man Magnet!; Declare Your Femininity: Run with the wolves (Spoken by Sheila Jeffries); Become the next John Waters; The complete disavowal of property and ownership; Power Woman!: Ultimate sexual skills; End rape culture in your sleep!; Fake Bullet-hole stickers on the glass ceiling!; Your Activism is Sustainable and Worthwhile!; Terrorist Bravado: Believe what you need; Postcolonialism overnight; Ironic layercakes, Become more Celebrity Knowledgable; Declare your Upward Mobility; Remembering Reynard, Write the next Gargantua and Pantagruel- in Russian!; Coyness and subversive intent (featuring cutups of speeches and tapped phonecalls of Klaus Nomi); Cease Accepting your Physical Self- start to transcend you and your body; Rocketing your Self-Esteem – become confident on the inside; Releasing your Past- let go of old moral structures holding you back today; Famous serial-killer manifestoes and quotes; Beauty queen’s responses to the big questions; Communist primer; Unlearn Gender overnight/in yr sleep; Unlearn Disinheritance; 16 languages, 16 nights; Osmotic Trivia injection; Razor Sharp Wit – become, and dissect, the life of any party with your humour; Forget family: Yours and mine; Be at ease with 2012; Sleep your way into Survivalist skills; Tranny on the street: flick those nasty jealous men with neat comebacks; And oh, the list continues.
An obvious next step to the FSSAT, was Subliminal Monumentality and DJ’ing, or in other words, taking the tapes to public space and reception, both for testing and artistic purposes. The already shifting, sensory and partially subliminal spaces of clubs (etc.) are a perfect environment for their deployment and enjoyment, and function as an experimental precursor to total city environments. By programming entire households, public spaces turned simmering dreamscapes, nightmare districts, We hope to learn ways to implicate subliminal audio, and even the FSSAT, into architectural-performance practice and activist methodologies. Fauxist Subliminal Monumentality is more fully discussed in Our publication “The Subliminal City”, which can be found, along with details and updates on our numerous public appearances, installations and experiments at the addresses below.
This is where We must leave you, gentle reader. Thankyou.
To order FSSAT, or for further information on this and many other wildly scintillating topics, back-issues of Fauxist publications and proclamations, FAQ and etcetera, leave a comment here, or contact:
. Fauxists International: PSYWAR Division .