Ask the Subjects :: Something in the air?

With no direct exposure to the external weather events, can you gauge any of the changes due to minor fluctuations in air pressure?
The relationship between sound, pressure and temperature is something the human body can be attuned to in a multi-sensory sense – are you at all aware of vibrations that may exist on the threshold of your perception?


This bunker is incredibly well insulated and temperature controlled and I haven’t noticed any temperature/pressure changes – my body temperature is lower when I am tired and that is very noticeable. We suspect they are playing some kind of white noise at us to mask any external vibrations. Before my last sleep I was hearing all kinds of sounds inside the hum, sort of auditory ghosts, but they told me more about my own mental state than the outside world. I am much more attuned to internal signals than external ones.

I have definitely noticed the lack of smells in here, especially when they glue the electrodes on us because the conductive gel they use has a scent like petroleum jelly. When Thom was painting with acrylics earlier I went to his room and inhaled deeply, like a cartoon animal after a pie. It’s clear the scientists are controlling our exposure to scents. The food is very bland too, so perhaps these things have an effect on sleep/wakefulness. It’s unpleasant being so under-stimulated. Just like I miss bright sunlight, I have a yearning for a really robust and complex odour.

Jennifer Mills

I was thinking about atmospheric influences while lying awake the other “night”. I’d just heard a sound that reminded me of how ceilings shift when wind rushes over a building’s the roof. Or it could have been the structure flexing in the heat/cold—but that seemed less likely. So yes, I’d say that I did just once get a sense of what’s happening to the atmosphere around us.

On the whole, though, I feel completely oblivious to what’s happening to outside. There are multiple doors separating us from the Adelaide air. The air-conditioning is relentless, and although it feels hotter or colder sometimes, I know that’s just my body reading it differently. There’s no way to guess if it’s going to 45C when they let us out, or the same as it was when we went in (I’m hoping for the latter, obviously).

Where I live, just up the road, I’m used to some pretty weird frequencies as the big trucks brake on Glen Osmond Road. I’ve listened for anything like that, but heard nothing. The only sound that penetrated the walls came from fireworks—huge gunpowder explosions happening in the sky directly above our heads. Anything less than that, I suspect, has no chance at all.

(I took a tour once through the underground NORAD base in Colorado. Being in here is not dissimilar. I know the world is only metres away in certain directions, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.)

Sean Williams

I hated the temperature it was 21 degrees at all times particularly as I am not a big fan of air-conditioning and as I got more tired it felt like my body was colder and it was uncomfortable. I speculate that there was white noise coming through a speaker and I could hear the building cracking. We were in dim lighting all the time and after awhile your mind just gave up trying to work out what time of day it was. I think after awhile you become hypersensitive trying to hear/sense/feel things that you normally would in daily life, like a couple of times I thought I heard my phone ringing which was impossible as the scientists took our phones off us. I was yearning for the outside particularly the horizon and fresh air especially as all the images I was creating was from an outside realm and not a reflection of the isolation and enclosure (hamster run) that I was in, sort of a portal to the outside world. I guess it really made me question how in tune I was with my environment and how sensitive I was to fluctuations in sound, temperature and pressure.

Thom Buchanan

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