Frequently Asked
Questions

What is the Dreamachine experience?

The Dreamachine is an immersive experience with music and light, designed to be enjoyed with your eyes closed. You will be comfortably seated throughout the experience.

It is inspired by an extraordinary 1959 invention by artist Brion Gysin, described as the ‘first artwork to be experienced with your eyes closed’. The 21st Century Dreamachine has been created by a team of leading minds in architecture, technology, music, neuroscience, and philosophy, including Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble and Grammy-nominated composer Jon Hopkins.

You’ll be able to experience Dreamachine in Belfast until 4 September and in Edinburgh 13 August – 25 September 2022. All tickets to the Dreamachine are free.

The Dreamachine immersive experience is part of a wider Dreamachine programme exploring perception, illusion and the power of the mind. It is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.

How does the High Sensory experience work?

The rich inner journeys created by the High Sensory Dreamachine experience are linked to something known as ‘entrainment’ – gentle changes to brain activity created by synchronisation to flickering light, which affects activity in the visual areas of the brain. The frequency of the light provides a ‘beat’ for the rhythms of the brain, similar to the ‘alpha’ rhythm – a brain state normally associated with relaxation. This discovery was first made by the pioneering British neuroscientist Dr Grey Walter in the 1950s.

The question of exactly why flickering light gives rise to such vivid experiences is still unanswered. Our scientific team at the Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, have been investigating this mystery for over a decade and exploring what it might reveal about the nature of consciousness. For a deeper dive into the subjects behind the Dreamachine, visit our Discover page.

What is the Dreamachine experience?

The Dreamachine is an immersive experience with music and light, designed to be enjoyed with your eyes closed. You will be comfortably seated throughout the experience.

For the history of the project please visit our About page. 

Who is it for?

Any adult aged 18 and over can take part in the Dreamachine experience.

The High Sensory Dreamachine experience uses fast flashing bright lights, known as strobe lighting, and loud music, and is not suitable for those who are pregnant or some people with epilepsy or other potential sensitivities to fast flashing lights and loud sounds. Before booking tickets, please complete our pre-booking form.

If you have any of these sensitivities we suggest you consider booking a Deep Listening experience, which is an immersive 360 degree surround sound audio experience with a gentle lightscape that does not contain fast flashing lights. If you are sensitive to loud music, ear defenders can be provided for both experiences.

The experience has been designed to be accessible to as many people as possible, including wheelchair users, those who use mobility aids, blind and partially sighted people, and d/Deaf and hard of hearing people, with staff on site available to guide your experience.

If you would benefit from a relaxed environment, alternative relaxed sessions are available. Please see our Access page for details of how to book.

How long does the experience last?

The full experience, including time in the Reflection Space, is between 90 – 120 minutes.

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