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About Dreamachine

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Dreamachine is inspired by an extraordinary but little-known 1959 invention by artist–inventor Brion Gysin.

His experimental homemade device used flickering light to create vivid illusions, kaleidoscopic patterns and explosions of colour in the mind of the viewer.

Designed to be the ‘first artwork to be experienced with your eyes closed’, Gysin had a pioneering vision for his invention to replace the television in every home in America. Instead of passive consumers of mass-produced media, viewers of his Dreamachine would create their own cinematic experiences.

Gysin died before his vision could be realised, but his idea to use technology to reconnect us with our inner lives remains just as radical, and relevant, today.

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A new Dreamachine for the 21st Century

Over sixty years after its original invention, Dreamachine has been radically reimagined as a powerful new kind of collective experience.

Created by Collective Act, in collaboration with Turner Prize-winning artists Assemble, Grammy and Mercury nominated composer Jon Hopkins, and a team of leading technologists, scientists and philosophers, our programme invites you on a magical journey to explore the extraordinary potential of your mind.

 

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The Impact of Dreamachine

Dreamachine engages millions of people around the world in a major interdisciplinary programme fusing world class artists with industry leading, scientific researchers. Read more about the story and the impact of our programme here.

Discover the Dreamachine Programme

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Immersive Experience

Conjured entirely by light and music, the colourful world of the Dreamachine will unfold behind your closed eyes – created by your own brain and completely unique to you.

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Learning Programme

Children and young people across the UK are invited to explore the wonder of how they see and understand the world around them with our range of interactive resources.

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Pioneering Research

Ground-breaking academic inquiry investigating the unique ways we experience the world around us and transforming our understanding of the human mind. 

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Dreamachine is created by Collective Act, award-winning producers of powerful large-scale participatory commissions.

We create emotionally engaged, meaningful shared experiences that bring people together and transform the way we look at the world. We champion a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to producing new work, creating space for taking risks and the unexpected to bring ambitious ideas to life. We have a people focussed approach: our audiences and the artists that we work with are at the heart of all that we do.

Dreamachine Collaborators

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Jennifer Crook
Artistic Director and CEO

Jennifer conceived the idea for Dreamachine and leads the vision, direction and management of the programme. She has previously led critically acclaimed public projects for festivals and arts organisations around the world, creating ambitious and award-winning interdisciplinary commissions with artists including Olafur Eliasson, Danny Boyle, Christo and Jeremy Deller.

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Assemble
Spatial Design

Assemble is a Turner Prize winning interdisciplinary collective, working across architecture, design, and art. With a hands-on approach and focus on making, their diverse work transcends traditional boundaries between architectural, social, and artistic practice, both making things and making things happen.

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Jon Hopkins
Composer

Jon Hopkins is an award winning electronic artist, producer and composer whose solo and collaborative works, including deeply cerebral ambient techno recordings and immersive film scores, have received widespread acclaim as well as Grammy and Mercury Prize nominations.

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Professor Fiona Macpherson
Philosopher

Fiona Macpherson FRSE, MAE, is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience (CSPE). Her research concerns the philosophical nature of consciousness, perception, illusion, hallucination and imagination.

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Dr David Schwartzman
Scientist

Dr David Schwartzman is a Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science. He is a cognitive neuroscientist, whose research investigates the neural basis of altered states of consciousness.

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Professor Anil Seth
Scientist

Professor Anil Seth is a world-leading neuroscientist and public science communicator. He is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and the author of Being You – A New Science of Consciousness – an instant Sunday Times Bestseller and Guardian Book of the Week.

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Dev Joshi
Technologist

Dev Joshi is an award-winning designer and technologist working across design, engineering, innovation and the arts. He was the technologist behind the Barbican’s sell-out Rain Room exhibition in 2012.

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Holition
Creative Technology Studio

Holition is an award-winning digital innovation studio working as a synthesis of scientists, film-makers, artists, mathematicians, UX designers, technologists and other curious minds.

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Christopher Shutt
Sound Design

Christopher Shutt is a multi-award-winning freelance Sound Designer. Formerly Head of Sound at the Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Court, and the National Theatre, he is internationally renowned for creating worlds through sound that transport audiences.

Dreamachine Education Partners

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A New Direction
Education Partner

A New Direction is an award-winning non-profit organisation working to enhance the capacity and agency of children and young people in London to own their creativity, shape culture, and achieve their creative potential.

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Unicef
Education Partner

The United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) is a charity that raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work around the world and advocates for lasting change for children worldwide.

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British Science Association
Education Partner

The British Science Association develops science engagement programmes for audiences underrepresented in, and underserved by, science.

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"I felt like I was taking a deep dive into a beautiful part of my mind. It is comforting to know it is there."

Audience participant in the Dreamachine, Cardiff

Awards for Dreamachine

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Winner - 2024

Excellence in Impact – World Experience Awards

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Winner - 2023

Breakthrough Award

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Winner - 2023

Immersive Environment Award

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Winner - 2023

Best Innovation in Creative Arts

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Honorary Mention - 2024

EU Prize for Citizen Science

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Honourable Mention

Creative Effectiveness Award

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Winner - 3rd Place - 2023

Immersive Experience

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Winner - 2022

Live Experience

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Winner - 2022

Exhibition Experience

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Finalist - 2024

Architecture + Joy

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Shortlisted - 2023

Exhibition Design

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