At the same time that contemporary culture values calm
, respite, and meditation
, our media-driven world is overloaded with evermore sensory provocations, from noisy online ads to cellphone chatter to earbud overflow
. In response, tools that allow for sensory deprivation are now cutting through the clutter, helping users tune out the excess and tune in more fully to their stimuli of choice.
As sound expert Julian Treasure testifies
, the auditory and visual cacophony of our contemporary environment has led to a decline in listening capability—making it increasingly difficult to extract real meaning from sound. Working off this premise, designer Joe Doucet
conceived a set of headphones that obscure intrusive sights and sounds, allowing wearers to focus wholly on the music at hand. The OneSense
concept headphones wrap across the wearer’s eyes to prevent external sights from meddling with the music’s narrative, thus heightening the auditory experience. With its spiky, danger-red design, they’re sure to ward off unwanted intruders (but we don’t recommend them for your public transit commute).
Dans Le Noir:
The concept restaurant
is no new fad, but few are likely to adhere as closely to concept as does Dans le Noir
. Founded in Paris, with outposts in London, Barcelona, St. Petersburg, and now midtown New York
, this restaurant pioneered the practice of dining in the dark. Customers are guided through a pitch-black dining space, where they rely on a staff of visually impaired servers to present their meals and provide tips on blind dining
. All told, the experience gives patrons a firsthand understanding of the challenges of visual impairment, but also offers one unique pleasure: namely, complete immersion in the taste, texture, and scent of a meal.
Purposeful sensory deprivation is believed to ease anxiety, promote relaxation, and even stimulate meditative insights
(not to mention an occasional mind-bending hallucination
). Patrons seeking one or all of the above can test the waters at Float On
, an isolation tank center in Portland, OR. In line with standard protocol, the tanks at Float On contain highly salinized water warmed to body temperature. Customers float in complete darkness and earplug-assisted silence to allow for complete physical and mental decompression
. Float On also boasts a few community-friendly features, permitting broke locals to work shifts for float time, and encouraging inspiration-seeking artists
, and musicians
to float for free.