Sonja Balmer was among the first end-users to test Brain Painting; here are her thoughs and paintings.
"My name is Sonja Balmer and I am 39 years old. After my apprenticeship as an office worker I became an artist and writer and obtained in December 2010 a diploma in animal psychology. In my three books ("Thoughts are fruits", "Breathless", "In the survival trap") I address in a philosophical manner ethical principles of medicine, psychology and nursing. As I intend to start my study of psychology in summer semester 2013 I am learning English and Latin in the mean time. I was diagnosed a special form of ALS and, currently, the physicians suggest that it is not my main illness but a symptom of an illness. I am paralyzed to various degrees in my whole body and breathe by an artificial lung (Tracheostomy). I have been ill for 20 years and was dying a number of times. I used to paint impressionistic paintings, organized painting exhibitions and book readings in many parts of Switzerland." testimonial,Winter 2011
Figure 1: Sonja Balmer's portrait.
Pictures displayed 2/2
How I met BCI
Figure 2: Sonja Balmer using Intendix Painting (gtec.at).
"When I heard about brain painting I had been dying as I gave up everything. I was at the rock bottom of my life because of a serious pneumonia. Adi Hoesle, the inventor of brain painting could not persuade me to live, not even his visit and his enthusiasm. My sadness due to the loss of my ability to paint was much too deep. Adi Hoesle did not let me go, accompanied and encouraged me to live, visited me and wrote e-mails to me. He showed to me that there are some tasks, life goals, and calling waiting for me. He achieved that I was able to thankfully accept my life. Shortly afterwards Adi Hoesle visited me again and introduced me to Prof. Andrea Kübler, University Würzburg. It was about a television appearance on Swiss television with brain painting. I was able to paint before cameras the first time in my life. I gave up my impressionistic painting because of my palsy and nobody can imagine my feelings: a stomach sensation as I use to have earlier in front of an oil painting similar to being in love. Life is a wonder and I am a person who could kneel and marvel at life as a child seeing such a wonder for the first time." testimonial,Winter 2011
What it means to me
Figure 3: Sonja Balmer having the EEG cap prepped for a BP session.
"Art, or painting is also a type of communication for me, to convey my ideas to others. To want to create art stems from the innermost of human being. It is a genuine, deep need to convey, to show, to disclose and to externalize something. A creative urge as any artist understands it in his/her special way, transfers it, materialises and expresses. Brain painting enables me to communicate through painting to the outside world. Not only physically handicapped people should enjoy brain painting but also the so called healthy will feel deep in their innermost what it means to paint a picture solely with the power of concentration of thoughts from the core of the brain."testimonial,Winter 2011
My BCI Vision
Figure 4: A bird and a bridge.
"I often found myself in the terrible situation of the locked-in-syndrome from which I recovered. I know that the time will come when I am not going to recover from the locked-in-state. I am a close friend of some locked-in patients and their relatives. It is possible for me to steer a door, window, blind, light, computer by eye controlling, to write, speak and to operate the nursing call. I posses a tool with all the infra red signals I need from the television to the light and nursing call. I imagine what it would be like to steer my environment through BCI, in order to obtain a high degree of independence and responsibility. If it is possible to control the infra red tool through eye controlling it must also be possible to control through BCI. In a years time I would like to move from the old folks home to an apartment with 24 hours care and hope that I can achieve this. I am imagining an art-room in which I conduct my brain painting, write my books, communicate, twitter, send e-mails, listen to music, relax etc. Everything is steered through BCI. A video conferencing connects me to the outside world. My visitors will also be involved. Perhaps we can even play a game. Being a bed-ridden is the only possibility to connect to the outside world. It allows me to act independently and empowered. Bed-ridden patient cannot go for a walk in the nature. I am imagining having in this art room 3-D pictures of nature, films in which the patient can move by the BCI steering. He/she goes with his/her bed, e.g., on a virtual and acoustic field path, and even smells the flavour of the field. He/she can hear through the acoustic signals the rustle of the trees and the chitter of the birds. In people who cannot move (e.g. breath on their own) the immune reaction against infection (e.g., pneumonia) is weak. In restoring psychological balance the equilibrium of immune reaction could also be achieved. When BCI becomes a part of our nature many doors will open. However, BCI should always be subordinate to our will." testimonial,Winter 2011