Turner Prize-winning art collective Assemble has co-designed a new immersive experience exploring the “extraordinary” potential of the human mind.
The Dreamachine uses shimmering lights and sound, composed by Grammy-nominated musician Jon Hopkins, to take audiences on a visual journey experienced through closed eyes.
The experience was inspired by artist-inventor Brion Gysin, whose handcrafted 1959 device was designed to be the “first work of art to live with your eyes closed”.
He used twinkling light to create vivid illusions, kaleidoscopic patterns and explosions of color in the mind, and hoped his invention would replace television in homes across America as viewers created their own cinematic experiences. .
More than 60 years after its original invention, Jennifer Crook, director of Collective Act, brought together Assemble, Hopkins, Tony award-winning sound designer Christopher Shutt and a team of scientists and philosophers to reimagine the Dreamachine as a new collective experience.
Ms Crook, who oversees the creative vision, direction and management of the project, said the Dreamachine “offers a glimpse into the daily miracle of consciousness”.
She added, “Dreamachine will engage audiences of all ages and cultures in a powerful and transformative collective experience.
“The rich kaleidoscopic world of the Dreamachine will come from within, offering magical insight into the extraordinary potential of our own minds.
“Beyond the limitations of screens or devices, our program will creatively explore the most fundamental human connections: how we perceive and make sense of the world.
“To explore one of humanity’s greatest mysteries, all you have to do is close your eyes.”
London-based collective Assemble, which won the 31st Turner Prize for their socially engaging and politically relevant art, designed the space where the public will sit and share in the multi-sensory experience.
Assemble said: “The Dreamachine experience is unique in that it is very personal and yet experienced as a group.
“It’s not very often that people come to a public place and experience such a deeply personal moment shared with strangers.”
Hopkins said composing a score for the experience was like “creating a kind of sound palace”.
He added: “I have always been fascinated by the relationship between music and consciousness, and its ability to release the infinitely rich imagery that we hold in our subconscious.
“Dreamachine is also an incredible immersive audio experience – with an array of 86 speakers to play with, I was able to compose in a whole new way, moving sounds into true 3D space.”
Dreamachine is one of 10 government-funded creative projects commissioned as part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK.
Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said: “Dreammachine is an incredible, immersive sound and light journey that will capture people’s imaginations and celebrate the power of the human spirit.
“It promises to be a truly unforgettable experience for anyone who goes – and it’s completely free.
“We are pleased to have provided government funding for this as part of our plan to open up access to arts and culture through Unboxed: Creativity in the UK.”
The Dreamachine will open at London’s Grade II-listed Woolwich Public Market on May 10 and will also travel to Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh.