Somnos (2018)

Digital Projection Installation
Foam, Balloons, Rocks, Craft Materials, Paper Mache

Project Statement

When we lie down to sleep at night, there is a period of time in which it would be difficult to say with any certainty whether we are awake or asleep. This borderline period is known as the hypnagogic period. During this state, reality begins to slip away and is overtaken by strange hallucinatory imagery, sounds, and feelings. People have reported seeing geometric shapes, hearing complex music, and feelings of falling or floating while drifting off to sleep. Usually this phase lasts a short time, but for some people who experience sleep paralysis, it may feel like an eternity.

During sleep paralysis, people may see dream imagery superimposed onto reality, and many experience nightmarish visions such as insects or shadowy figures but are unable to move or shout for help. They are aware of the fact that they are dreaming, but are unable to engage with the dream.

On the other hand, when one becomes conscious in a lucid dream, s/he is able to exert some amount of control over the environment, people, and narrative of the dream and can potentially reconstruct the world into anything imaginable. Whereas one feels trapped in a sleeping body during sleep paralysis, a lucid dreamer is free to explore their own personal virtual reality.

Through videography and a process of physical construction, I aim to create setting which is both soothing and disorienting by bringing together contrasting elements that echo the disconnection and broken narratives often felt in dreams and liminal states of consciousness. The projected images maintain a hypnotizing aquatic aesthetic that parallels the mysteries and transitional properties of the ocean and our limited understanding of altered states of consciousness. Due to the ephemeral nature of the materials used, the environment will slowly begin to dissolve, much like the fleeting memories of our dreams.