The intangible nature of dreams means that attempting to order them into some form of coherent presentation is tricky. The exhibit is split into two distinct parts: the relaxing and immersive Dreamers Bedroom, and the carefully ordered offices of the Dream Record Archive.
The first room is laid out as a bedroom, and features soundscapes and projections from the Music For Sleeping event, putting emphasis on an experiential engagement. It allows you to be in the role of the dreamer, lying on the bed in the dimly lit but colourful room, listening to the voices and deep drones of Tom Rea Smith’s arrangement with the images flowing above you.
The second space is very different, set out as an office, designed for visitors to research and catalogue the dreams collected and the artworks developed through the digital arts workshops. At first glance it is a little underwhelming, just office furniture and grey carpet tiles, but it requires the visitor to explore to make it come to life. The work isn’t so much on display as filed away, on slides, microfiche and cassettes, needing a curious mind to find it and make sense.
The opening day was interesting, some people perhaps initially side-footed by the fact that the work is ‘hidden’. But once people accepted this, and began to explore the archive, or to experience the AV dreamers room, then it seemed to work well. Visitors (mainly tired dads) took advantage of the bed to relax and listen to the dreamscapes, whilst in the office, the microfiche and slide viewers were very popular, especially with young people (one child shouted “dad can we get one!?” as excitedly as if he’d found a Nintendo DS). Some people though didn’t find what they were looking for, as not all the images created in the project had been put to slides, meaning there was disappointment for one young lad looking for his collage. The image will instead be printed and filed as part of a special dream-folder so that the gaps in the archive are covered.
The exhibition is free, and runs from 28th July – 30th September. For more information, check out the exhibition guide