Lottie Sebbes (Berlin, Germany)
Sprung bed frames and cushions, fabric, turntable, flashlight, live and recorded audio.

“What if the force of the machine is the force of fantasy?” Steven Connor

This work was inspired by the artist’s experience of sleeping at 608 South Elm St, where occupants have been perpetually transient due to the housing of Elsewhere’s temporary artists and interns, as well as the building’s former use as a boarding house. Lottie Sebes fanaticized that by sharing the same sleeping quarters, past and present residents could occupy a collective dream-space, closing the temporal gap between them. The Dream Machine is an imaginary mechanism which provides access to this space.

Using the skeletons of furnishings from the bedrooms of residents past, Sebes has re-imagined Ian Sommerville’s dream machine: a stroboscopic flicker device which was popular in the 1960s and is believed to produce Alpha waves in the human brain, which are associated with REM sleep.

The sonic elements of this piece are the voice of the Dream Machine itself. The drone of the motor is amplified live via a contact microphone, and recorded versions of the same signal have been reverberated and distorted through the springs of the bed frame. This voice, along with the machine’s movement, seems to elevate the device to a state of quasi-subjecthood. As the viewer places their body in the path of its moving light, their shadow also moves although they do not, prompting a sense of disassociation – and entering of the dream-space.