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DREAMACHINE, The Free Immersive Art Experience Opens in Edinburgh

Dreamachine takes its audiences on a kaleidoscopic, visual journey through flickering light and sound, all experienced through closed eyes.

DREAMACHINE, The Free Immersive Art Experience Opens in Edinburgh

Created by Collective Act, Dreamachine is presented in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Festival in partnership with Edinburgh Science. It brings together Turner Prize-winning artists Assemble, Grammy and Mercury nominated composer Jon Hopkins, and a team of leading technologists, scientists and philosophers. Dreamachine is commissioned and presented as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a celebration of creativity taking place in 2022.

Dreamachine takes its audiences on a kaleidoscopic, visual journey through flickering light and sound, all experienced through closed eyes. Audiences take their seats in a space designed by Assemble, creating a shared multisensory experience that is both highly personal, and collective. Jon Hopkins has composed a new score for the work in 360-degree spatial sound, creating a unique and enveloping sonic world. A team of neuroscientists and philosophers from the University of Sussex and the University of Glasgow have collaborated with creative technology studio Holition to develop unique creative tools for audience reflection, all designed to encourage connection and conversation.

In Edinburgh, Dreamachine finds its home at Murrayfield Ice Rink, originally completed in 1938 the ice rink was set to open its doors to the Edinburgh public in September of 1939. Sadly, this was thwarted by the onset of World War 2 and it took another twelve years before the public could enjoy the building with the rink quickly becoming one of the world's most popular. Once again, the rink was forced to close its doors to the public in March 2020. This is the first time they reopen as Dreamachine breathe life back in to this thriving community space.

The experience 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 vision for his invention to replace the TV in every home in America. Instead of passive consumers of mass-produced media, viewers of the Dreamachine would create their own cinematic experiences.

Collective Act Director, Jennifer Crook explains:

"Beyond the confines of screens or devices, our programme will creatively explore the

most fundamental of human connections: how we perceive and make sense of the world

around us. Dreamachine offers an insight into the everyday miracle of consciousness. To explore one of the greatest remaining mysteries to humankind ... all you need to do is to close your eyes."

CEO of presenting partner Edinburgh Science, Dr Simon Gage said: 

"Edinburgh Science specialises in bringing deeply immersive science-based experiences to communities, inviting them to engage with the world around them in new and exciting ways. Dreamachine is a unique and fantastic exploration of the power of the human mind, an experience that is at once both deeply personal and collectively awakening."

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival said:

"The Edinburgh International Festival is really pleased to partner with Collective Act, UNBOXED and the Edinburgh Science Festival to bring Dreamachine to the Festival City. Placing it in the Murrayfield Ice Rink once again takes the International Festival out of the city centre."

Every experience of the Dreamachine will be completely individual. Research into these differing audience responses will shed unique light on how the human brain gives rise to our subjective 'inner universe', exploring the ways we each encounter the world, how this shapes our lives, and who we are. Even with the tools of modern neuroscience, the question of exactly why such vivid experiences occur is still unanswered.

To support research into this field, Dreamachine have launched The Perception Census: an ambitious new scientific study into the unique ways in which we each experience the world around us. Participants taking part in the Census will be invited to complete a series of online interactive and engaging tasks, exploring themes such as colours and illusions, time, sound and more. As well as contributing to this emerging field of science, those taking part in the Census will have the chance to learn more about their own powers of perception. You can take part in this by visiting: https://perceptioncensus.dreamachine.world/

Alongside the live experience, The Perception Census and a UK wide Schools Programme, Dreamachine also invites children and families across the UK to take part in an interactive exploration into the amazing potential of the human brain, with free resources and activity ideas, including Life's Big Questions hosted by Martin Dougan (CBBC Newsround). Children ages 7+ at home this summer, and at school in September, can delve deep into the extraordinary relationship between their senses and the brain, and connect their voices across the four nations with this interactive survey that will guide them through five big scientific and philosophical questions, such as Are colours only in my mind?, Is everything I hear real?, How do I know time is passing? Created in collaboration with teachers and pupils, our education partners A New Direction, British Science Association, Unicef UK and We The Curious; and with regional support from W5 in Belfast. Take part at www.dreamachine.world/for-families

Dreamachine is one of 10 major creative projects commissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. The UK's most ambitious showcase of creative collaboration - across science, technology, engineering, arts and maths - includes free large-scale events, installations and globally accessible digital experiences, and an extensive learning programme reaching millions of schoolchildren.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.

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