Virtual Dreams: science or science fiction?

Nuit Blanche – Toronto’s annual sunset-to-sunrise art festival, gets crazier every year. I love it. This time, I allowed myself to be blindfolded by the Darkists, cycled on the Human Sweat Generator, pulled the legs of a giant spider balloon, and wandered the labyrinth of Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles – an art installation featuring 3,144 interconnected bicycles.

virtual-brainBut, weirdest of all, I got to see the Dreamery. My Virtual Dream featured a dome with twenty Dreamers plugged into special headsets. The headsets apparently relayed their brain activity to a Virtual Brain, which translated it into animations and sounds, projected out to the audience. The effect was surreal.

I kept thinking: this is some kind of hoax. Am I actually seeing a composite dream – replete with human figures, buildings, weird shapes, colors – cooked up by the brains of twenty people, or are the organizers playing a massive trick on the audience? Where is the line between science and art? Is there one? It was never made clear, and perhaps this was intentional.

This would be a cool idea for a story though. Feeling out of sorts? Not getting enough dream-rich REM sleep? Visit the Dreamery for a psychic boost. For a bit extra, you can choose your Dream. You can choose which hapless human ‘volunteer’ you want to be hooked into. But be careful – it could be your turn to be ‘volunteered’ next!

About Rati Mehrotra

Science fiction and fantasy writer. I blog at: Thanks for dropping by!
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4 Responses to Virtual Dreams: science or science fiction?

  1. Now THAT’s different. A peek at the future, perhaps?


  2. Widdershins says:

    Total recall anyone?


  3. Another awesome movie based on a Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”. What a genius that man was.


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