Seizures from Art Exhibit, Latest Example of Photosensitive Epilepsy


Outside Gallery ZEE in Pittsburgh

A Pittsburgh art exhibit that closed this week after three people were treated for reported seizures.

Shaunda Miles, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said the exhibit titled “Zee” by Austrian artist Kurt Hentschlager is closed indefinitely.


The installation, part of the Cultural Trust’s Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, was scheduled to run through Oct. 27.

It includes heavy fog and intense strobe effects, and attendees must sign a waiver before entering.

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Photosensitive Epilepsy

Epileptic seizure types can be  induced in certain susceptible patents by photic (or visual) stimuli,  usually flashing lights or rapidly changing/alternating images . Some famous examples have included:


An animated segment of a film promoting the 2012 London Olympics:

Flickering fluorescent lighting:

Video Games:

Strobe lights in clubs:

Photosensitive seizure only occur in a small proportion of patients with generalized epilepsy, and those patients will usually know they are susceptible based on their routine diagnostic EEG, which will usually include intermittent photic stimulation as part of routine testing.
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