Light touch - asmr nonsalon at various small fires

Paloma Powers Presents:

“Light Touch”

a NonSalon Exploring the Art & Science of ASMR


Saturday, July 9, 2016


Various Small Fires, 812 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Space is limited – please RSVP here


On July 9, Paloma Powers invites you to “Light Touch”, a NonSalon exploring the art and science of ASMR through conversation, videos, and performance.


What is ASMR, or “autonomous sensory meridian response”? It’s defined as “sounds that feel good”, and refers to a pleasant tingling sensation that certain people get in response to various sonic or cognitive triggers. In the six years since the term was coined, this enigmatic phenomenon has spawned an enormous online subculture centered on YouTube, where videos by amateur “ASMRtists” rack up millions of views. But how does this experience work in the brain? How does ASMR relate to the wellness industry? Can ASMR videos be seen as a true contemporary folk art?


These and other questions will be investigated on July 9, with special guests from the worlds of neuroscience (Kerin Higa), sound (Christina Gubala), and new media (Anne Orchier/sasCha murmurZ). Through an evening of talks, video screenings, live ASMR performances, and a sound corridor installation by Claire Tolan, we’ll consider ASMR as a key site where the body, technology, ritual, and commerce intersect, and what provocative possibilities this holds for artists, scientists and speculative capitalists alike.


This event is the culmination of a summer intervention at Los Angeles gallery Various Small Fires, where Paloma Powers commissioned a new ASMR-based sound piece by Berlin’s Claire Tolan (June 4-July 9).


Featuring Kerin Higa, Anne Orchier, Christina Gubala, and other special guests

Drinks Sponsored by Cali Water


7pm Refreshments, Screening and Listening Stations (Gallery open)

7:30pm Talk by Kerin Higa, discussion moderated by Samantha Culp

8pm Performances by Anne Orchier/Sascha Murmurz/ Christina Gubala


This NonSalon is the culmination of a summer intervention at Los Angeles gallery Various Small Fires, where Paloma Powers commissioned a new ASMR-based sound piece by Berlin’s Claire Tolan. It will be the closing event for Claire Tolan's "Maybe it wants what it wanted inside out", as well as the gallery's current group exhibition “No! I Am No Singular Instrument” curated by Samuel Kenswil. Come early to view both, and learn more about Claire's piece here.


What triggers your tingles? Call for videos:

If you also feel the "tingles", please send us a link to your favorite YouTube video if you'd like it to be included in one of our specially-curated playlists streaming throughout the night.

Email to:




Kerin Higa is a neuroscience PhD candidate at UC San Diego, studying the biology of psychiatric illnesses.  When she's not writing about science and playing with mice in the lab, she's probably writing about science and playing with mice at home. Kerin is involved in various science outreach activities in San Diego with the UCSD Neurosciences Graduate Program, NeuWriteSD, Pint of Science San Diego, and the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Find her on Twitter @kkiritah and at NeuWriteSD.



Anne Orchier is a new media artist who makes ASMR-based work as sasCha murmurZ. Together, they have appeared on the experimental streaming talk show "There's A Place," co-hosted a YouTube viewing session between Berlin and LA on BCR's radio program "You're Worth It," and curated an evening of soothing videos and karaoke at Coaxial Arts Foundation with VCLA. They both have faith in the kindness of internet strangers.




Christina Gubala is a poet, radio personality and record collector who lives in Los Angeles. She hosts a bi-weekly basketball talk show called Slam Dunx From The Free Throw Line and a sporadic ASMR program called Soft Times on KCHUNG Radio, as well as a bi-weekly music show on Dublab called Rare Air, all as DJ Lady C. Christina writes record reviews and conducts interviews on behalf of LA Record, publishes zines independently, and until recently, helmed a cassette label called Complicated Dance Steps. In 2013, her performance art in the field of live ASMR sound collage was featured in the main gallery of the Hammer Museum, and in 2014, her basketball TV program, Slam Dunx TV, debuted as part of the Hammer's biennial Made In LA. She has worked as a record librarian and appraiser, tasked with selling audiophile-centric collections that once belonged to The Absolute Sound founder Harry Pearson, Glenn Gould's preferred producer Andrew Kazdin, and High Fidelity Magazine's former editor in chief, Leonard Marcus, and currently serves in the Art Department at Cal State LA. Christina is UCLA-certified Classics expert, a Libra and a Russell Westbrook fan. Jah bless.




Since 2013, much of Claire Tolan's work has found its foundation in the sounds of ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Tolan has hosted

"You're Worth It," an ASMR show on Berlin Community Radio for over two years. She has also worked with ASMR in performance, recording, and exhibition, collaborating with musician Holly Herndon, writer and artist Inger Wold Lund, and artist Camilla Steinum, among others. Tolan was the

2015 Goethe-Institut and SPACE Perlin Noise sound artist-in-residence at London's White Building. At present, Tolan is developing an ASMR-inspired tabletop role-playing game (RPG) system.



“NonSalon” is an event series by futurist art agitator Paloma Powers, pairing artists and visionaries across disciplines to explore diverse contemporary topics through conversation, screenings, workshops, dinners, and other experimental formats.

NonSalon arose from Paloma’s ability to matchmake talent across industries and forecast emergent cultural trends and forces. Paloma Powers believes in the power of thoughtful connections - between people, ideas, objects, and spaces - and wishes to activate them for her network of artists and associates, frenemies and friendfluencers.



Paloma Powers is a creative agency and consultancy developing innovative, artist-led solutions for clients beyond the traditional art world. Working between New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Amsterdam, the company specializes in connecting art with other industries through consulting, matchmaking, and production. Her diverse clients share interests in activating  the ideas, creativity, and community of rising stars from the art world. Paloma Powers was founded by Andrea Hill and Samantha Culp as a response to limited business models within a changing art world, to elevate the role and value of cultural workers, and to broaden the audiences and contexts for art.



VARIOUS SMALL FIRES (VSF) is a commercial gallery in Los Angeles operated by Esther Kim Varet. It first opened its doors to the public in January 2012 on the main strip of Venice Beach, the home of Los Angeles’ original avant-garde. In homage to this legacy, VSF borrows its name from local artist Ed Ruscha’s conceptual art book, Various Small Fires and Milk, self-published in 1964.

VSF is dedicated to exhibitions that challenge conventional modes of art production and presentation, and its new gallery facilities in Hollywood were conceived to be an environment as dynamic as its curatorial agenda. In 2014, VSF collaborated with Johnston Marklee architects to re-imagine the traditional white cube gallery while taking full advantage of L.A.’s abundant natural light and favorable climate.