Thursday, November 17th // 5-7PM
Calit2 Theater, Atkinson Hall / UC San Diego

In the second performance of the IDEAS season, a team of three artists, researchers and technologists will present a hybrid performance-exhibition featuring modern-day efforts to recreate experiments dating back to 1841 on Dr. Pawel Norway's treatise on Computable Transformation of Human Qualities to Those of a Visible Dream Memory. The 1841 treatise is an obscure but intriguing thesis on the possibility of inferring dream content from the behavior of a subject after he or she has awakened. The scientist believed that this energy can be collected and measured, including its velocity coming off the body, temperature, etc., which could make it possible to reconstruct the prior dreams.

Gabi Schaffzin, a second-year Ph.D. student of Art Practice in Visual Arts, says the work draws parallels between Norway's thesis and today's quantitative health movement: "Both seek to infer a macro-level understanding of a body by measuring its micro-qualities." For the performance-exhibition, the artists have recreated Norway's experiments to bring dream visualizations to the public. "We have developed the apparatus of Pawel Norway's fantasies," explained artist Sofie Hodara, a designer and educator. "It reads what our bodies say about our dreams (extracting from that data imagery, narrative content, and subconscious meaning) once we are awake through high-sensitivity motion sensors, EEG readers, as well as temperature, and audio sensors." The output that makes up the bulk of the exhibition borrows from the quasi-representational nature of Dr. Norway's lithographs and incorporates imagery and visuals produced and shared by the large swath of humanity living its lives on social-media outlets. "The result is an algorithmically generated multimedia tapestry dynamically informed by the sensorial inputs we've combined," adds Zachary Kaiser, a professor of Graphic Design and Experience Architecture at Michigan State University. "We are now ready to present our findings alongside Dr. Norway's in a hybrid performance-exhibition installation in the Qualcomm Institute which will feature live dream-readings of volunteer visitors as well as Dr. Norway's work, with all the visuals on the Vroom display wall in the Calit2 Theater using the MUGIC system that has already been used for other IDEAS performances."

The project was completed in part with support from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination.

Image Credit:
Image from dream visualization inference system, a modern counterpart to Dr. Pawel Norway's dream machine.

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