‘Night Demons’ is an experiential, immersive installation exploring the all consuming nature of Night Terrors, focusing on the multi sensory potential to simulate the experience on the participant both physically and emotionally.
Brief summary of the proposed project
An immersive, experiential site specific gallery installation, which simulates for individuals in an audience a series of four sleep conditions (which are on a randomised loop) incorporating four diverse night terrors including Sleep Paralysis, Sleep spasms and Narcolepsy in order to convey the rich, multifaceted nature of such experiences. This is an alternative approach to conveying an individual’s experience of the effects of these conditions, as participants will be immersed into someone else’s experience. The idea is for this installation to embody the conscious surveillance of unconscious acts. Therefore, the intention behind the piece is for the audience to both emotionally and physically engage with the experience(s), conveyed through multi media forms and sense perception.
Detailed outline of proposed project
My intention is for the participants, to enter one at a time, a pitch-black immersive space where they will be invited to listen to the narrative through a pair of personal headphones. The installation itself will simply consist of a bed positioned in a pitch black, confined space next to a bedside table unit containing equipment wired to simulate lighting and vibration effects. Situated on the bedside table is a night lamp, which will trigger the installation through the use of a multi pole switch; when the participant switches it off, the experience begins and it will turn on again at the end of the piece.
The four sleep conditions will be on a loop and randomly distributed indicative of the arbitrary nature of sleep – when you go to bed, you don’t know what you are going to experience. The dialogue of each experience will be combined with a range of other sounds in addition to tactile elements, light projections and possibly elements such as temperature and smells to physically simulate an immersive experience. As a performance based piece, the installation will also be interactive by opening itself up to audience participation; individuals will be encouraged to share their own sleep experiences through a microphone, which in turn, will feed their experiences (with their permission, there is also an option for these to remain private) back in to the installation throughout the process of the project so that the piece itself forms a wide collection of sleep experiences that people can engage with. In this way, no two encounters are the same; it is an individual, intimate bespoke experience. Participants’ interceptions can take place at the end of the current installation; however, there is also an opportunity for it to interrupt the pre record piece. Hence, the installation is a performance piece in the way that it will constantly have a track playing but the audience are empowered to actively participate.
My installation will use sense perception to evoke physical experiences on to its participants, experimenting with haptic technology to create mechanical simulations, evoking tactile elements such as vibrations. The installation itself will be shaped and changed as a result of participant feedback in the form of a questionnaire; experimentation will therefore form the basis of my explorative work. I will be conducting this test work with a wide demographic of ages and genders to ensure that my observations cover as broad a spectrum of people as possible. This will include both family members to encompass a human, direct approach as well as Level 5 students in order to conceptually develop the work.
In a broader context, the installation offers individuals a platform to share their personal, intimate sleep experiences and engage in a catharsis process. Furthermore, the work enables an audience to understand and engage with specific experiences ranging across four diverse night terrors, raising awareness of a somewhat taboo issue which, according to my research, there is a huge appetite for.
Further to this, this installation seeks to explore the ways in which sound has the potential to shape our perception of space delving into how audio can evoke an experiential, emotional response in the viewer as participants will be immersed into someone else’s experience as opposed to attempting to simulate a personal experience for the participant. This is to provide a refreshing angle in terms of dealing with night terror experiences which requires a more active engagement as opposed to a passive reading which moves away from Science and enters an artistic, experiential realm.