Gödel Escher Bach
With Eleanor Antin, Christian Bök, peter campus, Richard Cavell, Louisa Clement, John Conway, Wim Crouwel, Hanne Darboven, Simon Denny, Arthur Reinders Folmer, Suzette Haden Elgin, Hansje van Halem, Florian Hecker, Georg Herold, Herlinde Koelbl, London Fieldworks (Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson), John C. Lilly & Randolph T Dible, Ernst Mach, Giacomo Miceli, Matan Mittwoch, Moshe Ninio, Joke Olthaar, Daphne Oram & Tom Richards, Sigmar Polke, Royden Rabinowitch, Thomas Ruff, Marcus du Sautoy & Victoria Gould, Jeremy Shaw, Kim Soun-Gui, Eugene van Veldhoven, Christopher Williams, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
19.05.2023 — 08.10.2023

Floatation tank by Lorenz and Nikolai Beckmann, conceived and installed for the exhibition Gödel Escher Bach.

Floatation Tank Sessions
Private floating sessions in a custom build floatation tank by Lorenz and Nikolai Beckmann which was specially conceived for the exhibition Gödel Escher Bach.

19.05.2023 — 27.08.2023
Saturday and Sundays, 12:00, 14:00 & 16:00.


In the province of the mind, in the inside reality, what one believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits. These limits are to be discovered experientially and experimentally. When so determined, these limits are found to be further beliefs to be transcended.’

John C. Lilly (1915-2001), The Deep Self, 1977

As part of the exhibition Gödel Escher Bach, we are proud to offer visitors the opportunity to personally experience John C. Lilly's tank isolation technique. The original concept was devised by John Lilly as a research instrument in 1954. In the ensuing decades, Lilly would go on to simplify and perfect the solitude, isolation and confinement tank, making it safer to build and use even for those untrained in this kind of research. The flotation tank that is available for visitors to use was inspired by Lilly's original tank designs.

The flotation tank is a medium for process. It removes 99% of sensory input sources, assisting the user in cultivating an awareness of their internal state of being and attuning to their senses within and without the tank. Similar to meditation, many people enter into a relationship with sensory deprivation practices with certain expectations about what is going to happen. 'All we can say to these people is — nothing will happen that you don’t already know about; nothing can happen that you will not allow happening, i.e.: “What is forbidden is not allowed.”' The possibilities for application of the tank isolation technique are multiple, ranging from simple relaxation in the weightlessness of the salt solution, pain relief for individuals suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, and psychonautic exploration of consciousness, with many certainly yet to be discovered. The relative lack of contemporary awareness of and research into sensory deprivation is partially due to the inaccessibility of the medium to the public. Floatation centers are scarce and expensive. Especially centers that endeavor to create an environment conducive to exploration, experimentation, and reflection are lacking.

West hopes to become such an environment throughout the exhibition of the flotation tank, providing an (albeit temporary) embryonic escape through sensory deprivation from life in a cultural climate characterized by flagrant overstimulation. An impossible space for self-interrogation of The Deep Self.

What to consider before booking a timeslot
You will be in an enclosed space in the absence of light and sound for +/- 1 hour, so if you are claustrophobic or fear the dark this is something to consider. However, as there is no light influx whatsoever in the tank, the inside appears more spacious to the user than it is in reality. This often negates feelings of claustrophobia. Even if you are claustrophobic, please feel free to come give it a try. Your session can be stopped at any time if you feel uncomfortable for any reason. You will be suspended in a solution of Water, Magnesium Sulfate, and Hydrogen peroxide (<100ppm), and Sodium Citrate, maintained around 33-34 degrees Celsius (skin temperature). The solution has a neutral pH, compatible with that of human skin. The solution is filtered and treated between each user.

However, if any of the following apply to you, we recommend you do not participate in this installation:
  • You have open wounds anywhere on your body. This includes conditions such as scalp eczema, skin ulcers or athlete’s foot. This if for your own wellbeing (seeing as the highly dense salt solution will sting quite a bit on open or irritated skin) and for the wellbeing of subsequent users of the floatation tank. The same naturally applies to any other infectious diseases. You are currently menstruating, are easily susceptible to urinary tract infections, or are in the process of healing from gender-affirming surgery. If you are pregnant, please consult your physician before booking a session.
  • You suffer from diarrhoea or gastroenteritis/are living with bladder or bowel incontinence.
  • You have low blood pressure.
  • You are epileptic.
  • You are diagnosed with an acute psychological/psychiatric condition. Please consult your respective mental health professional here, do your research and use your best judgement.
  • Any questions about particular conditions’ compatibility (such as specific physical disabilities) with floatation therapy can be directed towards the contact listed at the end of this information sheet.

The tank is wheelchair accessible.
Please be advised that you will be required to sign a liability waiver before entering the tank.
For more information, please contact us: kevin@westdenhaag.nl

What to bring
  • Towel
  • Freshly washed bathing suit (optional)
  • Slippers
  • Bathrobe (optional)
  • Shampoo and Hairbrush (if you have long hair)
  • Sunglasses for your way home (advisable)