The Dream Machine
In collaboration with George Monteleone and Or Zubalsky
Phone-based dream exchange and archive
2005 – ongoing
The Dream Machine is a dream database and exchange. It will operate forever, archiving our dreams long after we have forgotten them. You call the dream machine and leave a voice recording of your dream. It calls you back and plays a random dream from its memory.
A few words on the Dream Machine:
We are surrounded by surrogate memories, and have become accustomed to them as supports for usual function in an information-laden world. We could critique this, worry at the risk of losing memories by shunting them off to storage without actually encoding them in our brains. Yet there is also a way to find memory through these cues and systems, to forget and rediscover, or to come across something left by another. With the greater ease to leave behind small pieces of our lives comes as well the ease of discovery.
Spending nearly a third of our lives in suspended states of consciousness, memory loss is nothing new to us. We have *always* lost our dreams, which materialize for such brief moments each morning and disappear across the horizon that divides conscious and automatic thought. While our waking lives may be so laden with information that we pass it off to electronic systems (sometimes to be forgotten), the same systems can just as well remind us of the shadows of the things we are used to forgetting.
The Dream Machine is a locus for this: a receptacle and a transmitter for the ephemeral and the ethereal, a hub for the symbolic, surreal, uninhibited activities of our automatic minds. Its goal is to catalyze of the ubiquity of the unconscious, an anonymous amplifier for that which is so often held, lost, or forgotten.
The Dream Machine serves to store the ephemeral. It is at the same time systematic and random, accessible yet immaterial. If dreams are a haphazard reorganization of the elements that our conscious minds constrain to thought, then the Dream Machine is a distillation: an automatic nexus for the unconscious.
—Huong Ngo and George Monteleone