Dream Director

The Dream Director was an immersive installation created by Luke Jerram and his team of specialists at the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol 2007.

Over a duration of 2-3 nights members of the public slept over in the gallery in specially constructed ‘pods’.

With some clinical applications The Dream Director had the potential to be used in sleep science which raises questions about the rules of interaction and boundaries of science and art.

UK Tour

The Dream Director installation has completed its UK tour. With funding from the Arts Council, the installation has been exhibited at the Arnolfini, ICA in London, FACT in Liverpool, At-Bristol, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea and Compton Verney.

Experience for the Public

  1. Guests arrive in the evening and are given a short presentation. They fill in dream forms from their most recent night’s sleep.
  2. Participants are allocated their pods and get ready for bed. The artist gives a briefing, describing the journey ahead. Lights go out.
  3. Through speakers mounted in each pod, participants are taken on a 20 minute surround sound acoustic journey triggering imagery in their imaginations. The participants explore the edges of sleep and perception as they lie in their beds in the darkness.
  4. Silence and sleep.
  5. Throughout the night short sounds are played to individual participants triggered by their own REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Each pod is allocated a bank of different sounds with themes – water, forest, large spaces, etc. These sounds may be incorporated into the dreaming content altering the narrative of the dream. Alternatively, the sound may lift the dreamer into the space on the edge of sleep allowing them to explore this creative and illogical perceptual location. Lastly, the sound may partially wake the participant allowing them to become aware that they are dreaming and potentially take control of their dream (lucid dreaming).
  6. It’s morning and a 20 minute ‘Wake-aby’ is played lifting the participants back into the space on the edge of sleep.
  7. Breakfast and feedback. Participants leave with their data from the night.
    During the day, between sleepovers, the installation is open to the public. They can submit their own dream reports, read others left by day time visitors and explore documentation of the project.

National Press Coverage

Independent on Sunday Dream Director read
BBC World Service Dream Director at the ICA
Culture24 Dream Director at the De La Warr Pavillion read
Radio 5 Live
Dream Director at the ICA
The Times Dream Director, Double page story by Juliet Rix read
Freize Art Magazine Issue 118
The Argus Dream Director at the De La Warr Pavillion read
Reuters film about Dream Director at the De La Warr Pavillion distributed globally

Dream Director Research on BBC Radio 4

The first Dream Director prototype was built in 2005/6 at the University of West of England with an AHRC Arts and Science Research Fellowship. It was created to further our understanding of the affects of sound on sleep and to inform new Sky Orchestra compositions. Collaborators Dr Chris Alford and Dr Jennie Parker believe our research has both artistic value and clinical applications for people suffering from trauma who commonly experience nightmares. Analysing data collected from the UK tour of the Dream Director, this research is still ongoing. Read about this in the AHRC journal – Podium.

Two programmes were made about our research for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. Listen to the feature BBC Radio4 “All in the Mind”.