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I recently visited the ICA to see an art installation produced by Luke Jerram. Dream Director is a very interesting investigation into the realms of sleep and dreaming. The work builds upon work already out by psychologist Chris Alford at University of west England.

I am particularly interested in the technology around this project. People were invited to stay over night in a gallery theirs beds were custom designed pods.  Each pod was loaded with it own set of sounds and the sleeper was asked to wear an eye mask designed to measure rapid eye movements. As the sleeper entered the dream stage of sleep the different sounds stored in the pod were used to try and shape the way the person dreamed. In the morning everybody that took part in the investigation was asked to fill in a questionnaire about the dreams that occurred while they were in the pod. I thought this investigation/installation was very interesting. The exhibition is very worth visiting as the whole thing has been well documented with a documentary moving image piece screened at the ICA as well.

A little more info on sleep:

“rapid eye movements occurred periodically and in conjunction with a number of physiological changes. For example the brain waves exhibited low voltage and fast activity, and heart and pulse rates seemed to speed up. As Kleitman later described it, “These changes suggested some sort of emotional disturbance, such as might be caused by dream.”

quote and table found here

I would be very interested to know how the rapid eye movement detecting goggles are actually made if anybody out there knows!

To find out what else is on at the ICA go here



  1. The REM-detecting goggles were lo-tech/hi-tech — they were airline sleep masks with a hole cut through the right eye in which was inserted a chip with an infra-red LED, which (I think) bounced i-r beams off your eyeballs all night, and were calibrated to detect REM sleep. The expermiment initially used a heart monitor, but the goggles are less intrusive.

    More here:

  2. Interesting ……!!

  3. Cheers Danny for the tech guide to REM googles. gonna have a little play. I will post them up if i’m successful!

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