Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness Contest: Replication (Immerse)

Andrés Gómez-Emilsson ../people/andrés-gómez-emilsson (Qualia Research Institute)
Jun 1, 2023

Check out the original contest announcement and rules here:

We strongly recommend viewing the content at its highest resolution on a large screen size to perceive the effects in their entirety.


Judges: A panel made up of members of QRI’s international phenomenologist network rated from 0 to 10 each piece by these three criteria:

Overall Accuracy: This is how accurate the replication is for at least one substance (e.g. salvia or DMT).

Insightful: As per the description of the replication contest - the replication allows you to intuitively grasp “how the mind works”. In particular, it clearly shows how valence and geometry are connected, where processes like annealing and synchronization are clearly valenced and expressed.

Personal Liking: Overall, what is your holistic sense that “I like this! It’s well done and I am grateful for this contribution”.

(Note: only two judges felt comfortable enough with theories of consciousness, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind to score submission with “Insightful”).

We then weighted their ratings by their self-reported (and group-evaluated) relative level of experience with psychedelic states of consciousness, psychedelic replications, and models of consciousness. Weights ranged from 1 to 3 for each judge in each category. People with a weight of 3 for “Overall Accuracy”, for example, have had over a thousand psychedelic experiences with a wide range of psychedelic substances, those with a score of 2 have merely had hundreds, and those with a score of 1 have had 10 or more.

Finally, we did a weighted average of the categories, where “Overall Accuracy” counted for 3, “Insightful” counted 2, and “Personal Liking” counted 1. We then multiplied the result by 10 to end up with scores between 0 and 100.

Note: we asked the judge to leave aside their personal aesthetic preferences and simply focus on the precise technical merit of the pieces when assessing the “Overall Accuracy” and “Insightful” features. This puts on the same playing field pieces that were manually made, those that used AI elements, and those that seemed to be fully AI-generated. Unsurprisingly, AI didn’t seem to be very helpful in these domains. It is the opinion of the judges as a group that pieces that seemed to be primarily AI-generated weren’t in fact very accurate, and also that they generally lacked insightfulness. There may be deep theoretical reasons for this. Indeed, if non-linear wave computing turns out to be the appropriate paradigm for making sense of the phenomenology of exotic states of consciousness (especially those with a high level of energy, cf. The Hamiltonian of Consciousness) then the current neural network architecture that underlie the majority of generative art will not automatically generalize well enough to create accurate psychedelic replications1.


Score: 81.5

Artist: Raimonds Jermaks (Symmetric Vision)

Title: MultiSensory Memories

Description: “That moment when your senses start blending together and you realize that it wasn’t a microdose.”

Effects: Color shifting, visual drifting, embedded geometry, patterning, enhanced pattern recognition, audio distortions, synesthesia



Every judge was deeply impressed with this piece. They reported that there was a lot to love about it. A number of them immediately realized that the piece was supposed to be experienced by gently focusing at the center of the screen and absorbing the effects by letting them seep into one’s peripheral vision. That said, even looking around the piece by shifting the location of one’s fovea is really compelling2.

The replication does many effects really well in a technically proficient and accurate way. It is clearly not made with AI, except for perhaps the texture of the embedded geometry of hexagons at 0:28, and the triangle overlay that starts around 0:56.

One of the most salient features of this replication was the very technically accurate way in which the layers of effects interact with one another. One common problem with psychedelic replications that detracts from their accuracy is when they use multiple effects at once in an uncoordinated way. Meaning that, even if each of the effects (say, tracers and wallpaper symmetries) are accurate, when they are not properly coupled with each other, the overall replication doesn’t look realistic. The judges agreed that this is one, if not the best, replication they have ever seen of psychedelic synesthesia in the category that goes from sound to vision. Listen carefully: when the birds chirp, the Newton rings in peripheral vision flicker. But not only do they flicker in synchrony with the sound, but they also seem to echo, strobe, and reverberate in a way that the judges described as uncannily realistic.

Another effect worth noting is that this replication approximates really well the sense of an underlying “master clock signal” or metronome that dictates the evolution of the patterns in tandem with the sensory input. In particular, it is not a simple metronome, but more along the lines of a musical syncopation, which is more realistic. Or think of the time signature of a song (4/4, 4/6, etc.). Indeed it is rare for psychedelic experiences to be guided by a simple metronome; they tend to have a degree of underlying musicality, and this replication is great at achieving an impression of this effect.

A judge pointed out that this replication was the best at striking the right balance between showing effects in their full strength while avoiding making a caricature out of them. The effects fade in and out in a natural way that feels organic and appropriate. Finally, it was also pointed out by a number of them that the embedding of the geometries into the scene was done very precisely.

2nd Place

Score: 76.3

Artist: Jon

Title: Implicate Orders

Description: “In this animation I’m working with principles proposed by David Bohm and Donald Hoffman. That lying beneath the sensory information we receive, which we then process to create an image of the world around us, lies a complex mathematical structure.”

Effects: geometric patterns in nature

Website: /


At a glance, the judges all agreed that this replication was extremely creative, novel, and effective. I personally loved this approach.

I think the artist is grossly underselling their work by appealing to the Implicate Order theory of quantum mechanics in the context of the philosophy of Bohm as well as the agent models of Donald Hoffman. Without dismissing the poetic and philosophical depth of this connection, we can say that this replication is deeply insightful in the context of how visual perception works without having to buy into any particular metaphysics!

It was pointed out that this video replicates an effect that the panel of experienced psychonauts said they had never seen being replicated elsewhere. The interlacing between a video of plants (which naturally comes with some fractal elements) and simple repeating line patterns that are moving in rhythmic fashion and transforming projectively creates a very palpable sense of spaciousness characteristic of psychedelic states, especially high dose mushrooms and medium dose DMT. It is also very reminiscent of the sort of visual effects you might experience when combining a low to medium dose of psychedelics and a 14 hz stroboscopic stimulation.

It’s worth pointing out that this replication also had the highest “Insightful” score. Indeed, the judges believed that studying why this replication is so effective might help unlock some of the underlying mechanistic reasons behind the *texture* of psychedelic visual (and spatial!) phenomena. Simplistically, we could say that what one ends up experiencing is the result of a negotiation of the base harmonics, or nonlinear resonant modes of the visual rendering system, and the predictive coding hierarchy of sensory processing. In other words, an underlying rhythmic set of natural strobing metronomes that arises when you energize the nervous system in the right way couples and interweaves with sensory processing in a way that gives rise to phenomenal objects that are more than the sum of their parts (novel visuo-spatial gestalts). This is reminiscent of the Neural Annealing model based on a resonance network presented in Healing Trauma with Neural Annealing.

While the first prize winner was a clear “holistic replication” in that it tries to capture as many effects at once as possible, this one is more of a single effect not yet identified by the replication (or scientific!) community being done really well (cf. algorithmic reduction). While this replication is ultimately rough and approximate, it works beautifully as a pointer to a thing that’s a very big deal, and is very neglected, and therefore it is very valuable to have on hand for research purposes.

Another lens is that in a way this is more of an “induction” than a replication, which could in principle put it in a slightly different category than a strict replication. It causes you to experience a kind of qualia that you don’t perceive outside of psychedelic states, even if the actual pixels on the screen are not, in and of themselves, painting a psychedelic effect. The psychedelic effect happens inside you by letting the strobing interlaced stimuli affect your processing of the image.

Some judges pointed out that the way in which the strobing line patterns “collapse” into single line segments at times had a very peculiar, and in fact quite realistic, “dimensionality reduction” effect in the interpretation of the plants. See for an example of this what happens around 0:49:

This dimensional collapse in the strobing pattern has a peculiar effect on the interpretation of the images of plants that is indeed quite suggestive of otherwise very ineffable psychedelic phenomenology.

Lastly, it was pointed out that the sound was well integrated with the video and created a good synergistic experience overall.

3rd Place

Score: 73.5

Artist: Tyler Tryptamine

Title: Windy Days Are For Flying Kites

Description: “This artwork briefly depicts the effects of melting into the moment on a bright breezy day. Reuniting for a moment with the joy once felt as a child, being in complete awe at the simple pleasures of life. When it feels like life is relentlessly blowing me backwards and I can’t make any progress, it’s worth remembering… windy days are for flying kites.”

Effects: “Pattern recognition Enhancement: Fractal pattern recognition, Symmetrical repeating patterns (animated / transforming), Multi perspective pattern interpretation, Peripheral information misinterpretation, (melting), Pattern intensity variance (subtle -> more intense / field of vision encompassing (pre-breakthrough) Distortion: Magnification, Breathing/Drifting, Color & Light: Color Enhancement, Color Replacement, Hue Shifting, Luminance Shifting”


The panel agreed as a group that this video had really stunning embedded geometry effects. The grass alternates between *632 symmetry and a spiral fractal pattern suggestive of hyperbolic geometry in a very smooth way. This fits the insightfulness criteria of the contest, as one can notice how the smooth geometry and transition between geometries clearly evokes high-valence feelings. The person who is experiencing this isn’t having a bad time. The technical proficiency and accuracy of the replication in that domain gave it a huge boost.

A number of judges also pointed out that the pacing and rhythm of the movement within the embedded geometries seemed accurate and carefully fine-tuned.

More so, the judges generally agreed that the piece has a lot of aesthetic value.

4th Place

Score: 72.3

Artist: Phosform

Title: Cosmically Confused Kitchen

Description: “Replicating the effects of low to medium dose LSD.”



It was noted by a number of the judges that the transitions between embedded geometries looked very believable. The wave of light expanding from the top left added a sense of wave computing that is rare to see in psychedelic replications, and yet is integral to these experiences. One of the judges pointed out that we see a balance between competing clusters of coherence and global coherence that is reminiscent of the combination of low-dose DMT together with low-dose 5-MeO-DMT (the one other judge who had tried that combo in the past also agreed with that assessment). Overall the judges agreed that the pacing of transitions between geometries and the way in which patterns negotiate with each other is correct for DMT. There are notable synesthetic effects that are very evocative. And there was a consensus between judges that the effects faded in a believable way.

The piece was also described as quite insightful in the way that the geometry and symmetry evoked annealing effects. There is a bit around 0:12 where *4 symmetry is overlaid on the floor, which is characteristic of euphoric transitions from Chrysanthemum level to Magic Eye, and this resonated with the judges.

5th Place

Score: 64.3

Artist: Scry Visuals

Title: Square Waves

Description: “Replication of effects seen on DMT, square waves move on transforming surfaces, shifting between 2D and 3D.”

Effects: “2D and 3D Shifting, 3D geometry, sharp edges, orthographic perspective”



The judges thought that this was a beautiful demonstration of a number of effects that are lesser known and hard to put into words. In particular, they remarked that the effects hinted at dimensionality changes (e.g how feedback and tracers combined with projective changes could lead to the emergence of higher dimensional geometry). The squiggly lines form interlacing patterns that seamlessly shift between 2D aliasing patterns and square wave zig zags embedded in what appears to be square frames. We see “emergent depth” that is surprising in the context of the way the lines are moving and rearranging themselves. There is a copious number of figure-ground inversions, which is characteristic of the effects of psychedelics. The judges commented that these overlaid line dynamics on top of the geometry are characteristic of high-dose LSD. Aesthetically, they pointed out that the transitions between sets of interpretations are very beautiful (see ~0:10 and ~0:18).

6th Place

Score: 59.8

Artist: Brock

Title: Peace From Above

Description: “This piece demonstrates visuals of geometry with a smooth, warm rounded nature. A freeing sight of all worries.”

Effects: “Symmetry, geometry, color enhancement, minor drifting.”


The judges thought this was very well made, it was creative, and was constructed using what appears to be an original technique. This is no “effect smash” but something really thought out, where the effects are specifically designed on top of what is there rather than something that will make any image generically more psychedelic. The effects on clouds and the effects on trees are different from one another in appropriate ways. There is a suggested competition between an interpretation where the image is segmented into multiple clusters and another one in which the image is an integrated whole, which is apparently characteristic of moderate doses of DMT with eyes open, or small doses of mushrooms.

Judges agreed the geometry effects were consonant with the inherent geometry of the tree, making it evoke a rather high-valence experience without falling for the inaccurate “cliché” of simply overlaying a literal fractal structure on top of it.

The clouds evoke the feeling characteristic of LSD where you can merge with and get a sense of dissolving into and with the clouds. The boundary between the cloud and the sky is more ambiguous and there are beautiful and carefully distributed wavy patterns across the cloud clusters, creating the impression of a unified whole for all of the sky, which is appropriate.

7th Place

Score: 56.9

Artist: Phosform

Title: I Love Lamp

Description: “High dose Psychedelic experience.”

Effects: “Symmetrical texture repitition, Environmental geometry, Waiting Room experience.”



The judges really liked a lot of the elements present in this image. The sequence from 0:24 to 0:32 was really lovely and universally liked. In fact, it was quite exceptional in how it depicts (in an accelerated fashion) a sequence of structures that shows an annealing process that expresses a high-valence state of the visual field. It goes from a symmetrified lamp texture, to a frame with Lissajous-like curves, to what appears to be a sudden embedded cellular automata evolution, to top-down harmonic waves that make the structure “click” into a symmetrical configuration in many spatial scales, to electric Voronoi diagrams. While the judges weren’t too sure about whether Voronoi patterns emerge in psychedelic visuals, they nonetheless agreed that the whole sequence was extremely impressive and insightful in the context of the specifications of this contest.

The judges also really liked the light touch of Gabor-like patterns on the trees at the end, as well as the proper synchronization of movement with sound effects.

(transition at 0:27)

8th Place

Score: 56.8

Artist: Phosform

Title: Home from Home

Description: Landing back from DMT trip.

Effects: “Geometry, Hyperspace, Audio hallucinations”



The judges liked this replication a lot, especially from around ~0:24 onwards. Even though the start of the video is full of visuals, the judges thought that the quality of the motion didn’t correspond to the movement of any particular drug (except perhaps, to some degree DMT). The group felt that such movement tends to be more coordinated within clusters of coherence and that it is more discoordinated globally. The various layers of effects at the start are evocative, but not very technically accurate. This is due to the relative lack of coordination between one another, such that the black and white Turing Patterns are doing a different set of motions than, say, the colorful ones. That said, the forest replications were judged to be exquisite and delightful and technically accurate.

The comedown phase got right the fact that the distortions are not typically applied over the entire field uniformly, but that they interact in non-trivial ways with some stimuli more than others. In other words, some textures in the outer world get more interestingly distorted than others at any given point in time. This also demonstrates how attention gets captured by patterns that have the sort of fractal dimension that corresponds to the level of effects at a given level of intensity (especially for DMT). Thus, the comedown effects with the ferns and moss were described as very accurate and even flashback-inducing.

9th Place

Score: 55.3

Artist: Osvaldo Mancera Fosado

Title: Qualia Fields

Description: “Qualia Fields is a work that tries to portray the feeling of being on the brink of the topological fold that separates consciousness as a neuronal phenomenon with”deep reality”, while is perceived that all consciousnesses are one, a harmonic pulsation synchronizes all mental models with proprioception facilitating high valences and the increase in energy is dispersed through hexagonal patterns and derives in any of its transformations in the limit structure that gives way to the subsequent layers representing that a qualia event in time is a point in a field as a qualia membrane in higher dimensions. The qualia moments as coordinates in a sonar for the hyperdimensional mind that will take the best route.”

Effects: “Synchronization of pulsations waves, Space becomes hyperbolic, Super symmetrical visions, Pattern perception, Progressive increase in complexity in patterns, Feeling of being connected to everything”


This piece was a bit controversial among the judges. Everyone loved it, but someone immediately said “not a replication”. The reason for this is that it doesn’t exactly look like a POV pixel-perfect rendition of a psychedelic experience, which is what the judges were expecting. That said, from another point of view, it is in fact extremely suggestive of the map of “what is out there” in terms of states of consciousness to navigate (cf. the energy-complexity landscape of DMT), it is really profound and even, in a way, accurate. Judges reported that it had strong resonance with high-dose DMT experiences. They said that the “layers” identified in the image did correspond, at least symbolically, to archetypical qualities of consciousness one can visit and transition through on DMT. For example, there is a layer that appears to be mostly made of flesh and bone, another one made of Euclidean *632 symmetry, another one with patterns suggestive of hyperbolic honeycombs, another one with Menger sponge-like structures, and all of these have featured in experiences by the members of the panel

10th Place

Score: 52.9

Artist: Rho Cardinal


Description: “A fractal dive through semantic space. A phenomena that is empty and self-supported, endlessly falling through the ground of being. Where time-space becomes tangled, and other gradients concentrated on in the phenomenal network take over in ordering; linear time-space becomes linear red. (Or organized along a more complex associative bundle chosen to constrain the space in specific ways.)

The line blurs between spaces and objects within those spaces. Every building is a being, its own genius loci, and every being is a building. Every inch is embedded with countless words/worlds, every inch is alive and full of meaning, just as a dictionary has no axiomatic bottom if you follow back through enough definitions.

This piece is based in particular on one eventful experience meditating on 300ug of LSD. All regular phenomena gave way to crystalline linguistic cellular automata; countless fragmentary activations of concepts recombining their intensities according to dynamic rulesets. Different types of intensities in the cells had influence on the morphogenesis of the worldsheet they composed; curvatures increasing and decreasing to extend out limbs or create openings, to combine or separate with other forms, all of these changes also reflecting the boundaries of the concepts they are representing. I included an early implementation of a worldsheet-curvature effect with the hand in room 2, but it still leaves a lot to be desired for now in clarity.

The astrological/alchemical symbolism here is meant to be analogous to that internal system of intensities, serving as a partitioning of the space of interdependent meanings. (A color/linguistic/many-component model, compared to something like the binary of Yin-Yang.) The internal system is not so clean-cut though, in the way that what a node in a neural network represents is not clear like a simple human-built decision tree.”

Effects: “Internal Hallucinations, Geometry: layers of abstract artistic shapes and gradients, hazy 2D layers, overlapping 3D layers, tubes/tunnels, space-group symmetries overall ordering the symmetry-breaking elements, wallpaper-group symmetries transforming on surfaces, scalar symmetry/recursion (the looping/embedded space), Autonomous Entities, Sensation of motion/rotation in conflicting directions simultaneously, Visual exposure to inmer mechanics of consciousness, Visual exposure to semantic concept network, Settings, sceneries, and landscapes”



This piece induces the general sense of floating through space that judges recognized as characteristic of either high-dose LSD or a slowed-down version of medium doses of DMT. One judge commented that “this is a good rendition of the remembered semantic content of many archetypical experiences, where if I would tell people how my DMT trips went, and I didn’t have a technical replication, this is what people would imagine”. While symbolic content in psychedelic experiences is enormously variable (e.g. being exposed to the writings of a particular spiritual tradition or esoteric set of teachings before an experience can dramatically color their symbolism), some of the judges remarked that there are often interesting and surprising commonalities in the spontaneous symbolic expression in DMT trips (see: Antipodes of the Mind, which argues for the existence of some cross-cultural “common core” of symbolism people see on ayahuasca and DMT3). This replication, according to them, is accurately pointing or hinting at this very common cluster of symbolically charged experiences. One judge estimated that up to 60-70% of people who have taken enough DMT trips would agree that the implied meaning of the symbolism in this piece resonates with at least some of their experiences.

On the technical front, the symmetries and overall structure of the “matrix” at 0:08 are compelling and suggestive of Menger sponges and hyperbolic surfaces, even if they are ultimately distinctly Euclidean in nature. The floating movement and dense textured symmetrical patterns, however, causes the perceptual illusion of hyperbolic structures.

The sphere with *532 symmetry was also distinctly DMT-like and quite persuasive in its own way. Such objects do show up in these experiences, especially during the come-down, as the world-sheet “condenses” and radiates out its excess energy and sometimes one gets spherical geometry.

And finally, some disparate remarks by individual judges: the infinite zoom vibe is not out of place for a certain kind of closed eyes visuals, the distinct carousel vibe is clearly DMT-like, and, for what is worth, the fast food easter egg is something one of the judges had in fact experienced as intentional content on DMT once.

Thank you to all participants for submitting their technical replications for this contest and congratulations to the top 10 places! We hope that this contest has served to highlight the incredible work of the replication community and validate the significance of this work for the science of consciousness!

Infinite bliss!

  1. There is a lot more to say about this, and we will expand upon it in the near future, but for the time being we can say that the lens of Geometric Deep Learning is worth paying attention to. Namely, current neural network architectures have in-built assumptions about the geometric properties of the stimuli that may be violated by psychedelic phenomenology. In particular, scale separation may break down on states such as DMT, and geometric invariants may be more general in such states. More on this soon.↩︎

  2. The author of the piece later confirmed that it was created with the intention that the viewer would focus on the center of the screen (please see in full-screen, HD, downloaded in your computer, etc.).↩︎

  3. This was not a view held by the group as a whole.↩︎



For attribution, please cite this work as

Gómez-Emilsson (2023, June 1). Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness Contest: Replication (Immerse). Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Gómez-Emilsson, Andrés},
  title = {Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness Contest: Replication (Immerse)},
  url = {},
  year = {2023}