Heartbeat in the Brain (lost Amanda Fielding trepanation documentary; 1970)
|This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its disturbing subject matter/visuals.|
|Poster for the 1998 documentary about the original film.|
Heartbeat in the Brain is a 1970 documentary film about Amanda Feilding's self-trepanation operation. She is a British scientist, artist, and drug policy reformer best known for her research into consciousness and psychoactive drugs such cannabis, MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin, which she conducts through her non-profit organization, the Beckley Foundation. She is also an expert in the practice of trepanation, an ancient pseudo-medical procedure in which a small hole is cut out of the skull with the hopes of alleviating a variety of ailments or achieving a higher state of consciousness. (These hypotheses are not medically proven, and no licensed doctors recommend the procedure.)
After failing to find a doctor willing to perform the operation on her, Feilding, (then 27) performed the procedure on herself. The film was a collection of footage from the operation and of her pet pigeon, Birdie. Its first known public screening was in 1978, at the Suydam Gallery in New York.
The film was thought by many to be completely lost due to its few screenings. However, the film was screened again in April 2011 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The entire film has never surfaced online, although several snippets can be seen in Eli Kabillio's 1998 documentary about it, A Hole in the Head.