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DREAM 2.2

By

  • PluginHUMAN (Justin Dwyer and Betty Sargeant)
  • Exertion Games Lab, Centre for Game Design Research, RMIT University (Florian \'Floyd\' Mueller)

Description

DREAM 2.2 is an innovative digital interface that’s been used in live performances, interactive installations and public workshops.

The performances feature two sleeping teenagers and abstract audio-visual representations of their real-time brain activity. The installations allow the public to use their own brainwaves to control real-time audio-visuals. The workshops allow participants to make personal dream visualisations, animate their visualisation using their live brainwaves, and learn about healthy sleep practices.

We use EEG (electroencephalogram) headsets to track the electrical activity of the brain. Live brainwave activity generates real-time, abstract audio-visuals. DREAM 2.2 helps people form deeper connections to their resting-sleeping-dreaming mind.

Key Features

1

Sleep deprivation effects huge numbers of people; a lack of sleep is linked to increases in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts (VicHealth 2018). When we sleep, our dreams help our learning, memory and creativity yet most of us currently experience broken or interrupted dreams (New Scientist 2018). Sleep is vital, yet it’s an underexplored area.

DREAM 2.2 helps people form deeper connections to the resting-sleeping-dreaming mind; it uses innovative and intriguing ways to help educate people about healthy sleep practices. Our mesmerising interface captivates audiences. It’s been experienced by over 64,000 people, aged 3 and over, in Asia and Australia.

2

This project has run in three countries; Taiwan, South Korea, Australia. For example, DREAM 2.2 was on 5-month installation at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2018. Over 64,000 people have engaged with performances, the interactive installation and workshops.

During performances, the public walk in an immersive environment that’s shaped by sleeping teenagers’ live brainwaves. During interactive installations, audiences move beyond observing other’s brainwave function to participation; they use their own brainwaves to control an audio-visual environment. During workshops, the public moves from participation to personalisation; they create their own personal dream visualisation and interact with it using their brainwaves.

3

During installations and workshops, we invite participants to breathe slowly and deeply and to experiment with ways to relax their mind. The more someone relaxes, the less fragmented and more stationary the visualisations become. We find that many people are surprised that they have control over their brainwaves. DREAM 2.2 provides opportunities to experience, in real-time, the effects that relaxation has on brain function with the goal of improving participants’ mental wellbeing.

We invite participants to use relaxation techniques in their everyday life and we teach simple steps that can improve the long-term quality and quantity of people’s sleep (VicHealth 2018).

4

The DREAM 2.2 performance is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Our Cyber-tale imagines a future where people forego sleep in order to experience walking inside others’ dreams. We invite audiences to reflect on the issue of sleep deprivation and our contemporary obsession with observing others’ activities (through digital and reality media). During installations and workshops, we invite audiences to go beyond observation towards participation and personalisation.

We deploy participatory art and user-centred computer-science methodologies. Our future-oriented approach advances screen-based interface design. DREAM 2.2 sets new benchmarks in how the human body can operate as a digital interface.

5

The DREAM 2.2 performance and installation visuals are projection mapped onto a maze-like structure. The maze is constructed from 100, 4-meter-high, flexible transparent, hand-painted PVC panels that are suspended from the ceiling. The surrounding walls are covered in reflective mirrors, creating an immersive, mesmerising, uncanny environment shaped by light projections, reflections and surround sound. DREAM 2.2 gives form our body’s ephemeral data.

Our Muse EEG headsets wirelessly direct brainwave data to our custom software system. We don’t collect or store brainwave data, the system operates in real-time.

The over-use of technology can cause sleep deprivation (VicHealth 2018). Rather than denying access to technology, we teach healthy technology practices. DREAM 2.2 is a digital solution that supports and promotes healthy uses of technology.

The DREAM 2.2 installation and performances feature an original dream-inspired poem created by one of our teenage performers. This poem operates as a linguistic tool that may further assist audiences to immerse themselves in the otherworldly, dreamlike installation environment.

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