Bodies and Energy, Circuits and Sound: Rethinking and Listening to Leon Ernest Eeman’s Relaxation Circuit with a Bio-synthesizer (2018)

Pia van Gelder

About this exposition

Leon Ernest Eeman’s Cooperative Healing: The Curative Properties of Human Radiations (1947) documents decades of the author’s experiments with bio-circuits, beginning in 1919. Detailing the many configurations and uses of Eeman’s Relaxation Circuit, the book proposes that these circuits promote muscular relaxation, counter fatigue and disease, and stimulate activity by harnessing and circulating radiant energy from within the body. Using only electrical conductors and copper wire, the circuit connected subjects to themselves, redirecting energies internally, or in parallel with a number of subjects, sharing energy collectively. Eeman’s work explores the body as a kind of battery, working with configurations based on polarities—from head to toe and left to right. Although writing on Eeman is scarce, recent literature examining historical conceptions of energy and the body, including the work of Carolyn Thomas De La Peña, stress the importance of examining similar practices of energetic healing using bioelectricity as they inform our present relationships with technology, medicine, energy and the body. This paper will introduce Eeman’s work and discuss my artistic reenactment of the Relaxation Circuit as a participatory installation. This work, also entitled Relaxation Circuit, was presented in 2015 at Underbelly Arts Festival on Cockatoo Island in Sydney. The work recreated Eeman’s circuit for five participants with the addition of a bio-synthesizer, which included five oscillators modulated by the conductivity of each participant’s skin. In this reworking, participants were asked to lie in the circuit and listen to the amplified sounds of their collective bodies. This paper examines people’s experiences with bioelectricity in the work, both embodied and sonified.
typeresearch exposition
last modified08/05/2018
share statusprivate
licenseAll rights reserved
published inJournal of Sonic Studies
portal issue16. Issue 16

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459789 Relaxation Circuit detail of conductive rods PvG All rights reserved
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