Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Multi-sensory blog

If you're fed up with reading blogs while sitting at your computer, Robin Whitmore's gallery installation of his Dream Diary blog provides a far more 3D, multi-sensory experience.

The audience sits on a specially constructed settee and looks up the stairs in the gallery, to watch the projected images of the dreams (left). A voice narrates each picture, the sound relayed through concealed speakers built into the upholstered settee, which doubles as a sound booth.

Sequences of fourteen dreams are changed every fortnight. An archive of the year's dreams is printed out in small handmade books - one book for each month. The dream diary can also be viewed simultaneously on the internet, as text and image.

Interesting to see how an experiment at interactivity using Blogger has progressed... it was started to record drawings of nightly dreams on a blog instead of in a sketchbook, but has expanded into a far more multi-sensory and interactive form of blog than was initially expected. Instead of reading the text and viewing the images on a small computer screen, the choice of seeing them projected in a large format in a gallery, accompanied by an audible narrative, provides an opportunity to re-interpret the images and text by seeing them in a different spatial context. Handling the images in book form provides yet another way of viewing the dreams.

The next part of the project will be to explore new levels of interactivity, triggered by the gallery installation. A series of workshops planned for the summer will invite the public to describe their own dreams, to have them interpreted visually by the artist. If you're the sort of person who actually remembers their dreams, it could be an interesting thing to do... details will be on the blog notes site soon. I wrote about it a while back too, at the beginning of the project.

I got the Whitmore treatment a few years ago, which was a curious experiment for me, as the resulting drawing was different to my memory and made me think about it differently. The public was invited to contribute a 'shameful' experience, which was then drawn and projected up on a screen in a club. Actually, mine wasn't that shameful... just a strange encounter with a man in a beige raincoat during the morning rush hour on the tube, pretending to be a market researcher for Marks & Spencer's hosiery department. I did think 'sad b*stard' at the time, but in retrospect, a clever ruse on his part and it certainly made the journey to work more memorable.

But that's nothing to do with the dreams project, so don't let it put you off having your dreams drawn!

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