LSD: Dream Emulator1 is a playable2 dream created by artist Osamu Sato released in 1998 for the Playstation1. It’s focus is to recreate the feeling of dreaming and explore the ways we interact with the dream space and the altered state we are in when we dream.

Coil’s Album Time Machines Contains “4 Tones to facilitate travel through time”3 Where each of the four tracks is “named after the chemical compound of the hallucinogenic drug that they were composed for.” It uses tools such as binaural frequencies to enable the listener to experience “Temporal Slips” where they enter an altered state as there experience of time changes4

When we started this year i decided i wanted to explore my dreams. For the last few years i have on and off kept a dream journal; when i have one vivid enough to remember more that just fragmented memories. I have started this project by drawing spaces that recur in my dreams. I want to see what happens when i take these immaterial places, that i so vividly exist in at times, and make them materialize in some form. Does it affect my memory of them? Does the drawing replace my memory of the original space, or do the spaces and memories become more vivid as i draw them? Is “This is how space begins, with words only, signs traced on the blank page”5 ? As i wrote down a list of places i could remember more started coming to the front of my mind from further back in time, until i could remember the dream-space connecting my parents house upstairs landing to the loft via a door into an escher-style floating stairs complex. Often while awake i thought this space actually existed and the line between my dream-state and awake-state became blurred. I still sometimes can’t trust whether a memory is from a dream or not.

I started by drawing the space I felt I knew most about, a trainstation with a river and fence with a hole in it between me and it. After doing a few sketches of what it might look like i used the image as a basis for the screenprints i made combining a few elements that i remembered most vividly. Through this process i felt more connected to the dream than during the earlier sketching phase, was this because i had created a real connection to the memories, the trainstation bench red ink i mixed, the trainstation sign orange i mixed, or was it that i had morphed the dream into something else, purely imaginary?


Figure 1: Tai Shani, The Neon Hieroglyph (still), 2021

Tai Shani and Alice Bucknall’s Friday lecture focused on similar topics to this through the lense of Hallucinogenic drugs and the way they affect us and they immatireal spaces they can drag us to. The visuals of Shani’s The Neon Hieroglyph explore this pyscedelic space and its affects on us, to me it resonates deeply with the idea they also talk about after playing the video that aswell as us being able to create representations of these spaces we also catch glimpses of them in everyday life and how AI (like google’s deep dream) can recreate these spaces in suprisingly accurate ways. Personally I find it hard to think that we can evoke the feelings of the space purposfully in the same way that these everyday glimpses can evoke in us. So perhaps if our goal is to recreate these feelings of a space we should be trying to recreate the oppertunities for these glimpses to arise.

That is what many of the works cited above are attempting to do through its recreation of these spaces. LSD Dream Emulator’s exaustive visualistion of someone elses dreams is bound to at some point show us a glimpse or more of the dream-state. And with Time Machines it is through the emotions that the music brings out in us that we can be transported to a different space. This idea of music linking us to dreams is pretty much a motif in Lynch’s Twin Peaks, where Laura Palmers theme is playing often when someone compares the events to a dream. Audry also plays Audry’s Dance on the Double R Diners Jutebox" saying"God, I love this music. Isn’t it too dreamy?."6 Norelli describes the track as "not only dreamy but downright spooky, and it feels as if someone has been placed under some sort of nightmarish trance."7 Obviously in Twin Peaks the music’s role isn’t purely this, however I think this dreamyness is an important affect of it.

Taking all this into account i decided to try and remember more of my dreams by drawing elements i could distinctly remember. I started by using charcoal to draw my left arm. I often find myself looking at my limbs in my dreams with them being altered in some slight way and the night before i had a dream in which i could remember both arms and legs having text tattoed on them in a similar style to Moby’s "ANIMAL RIGHTS" tattoos. I Couldn’t remember what was written on them after doing the charcoal drawing but it got me thinking on a more general level about the representation of my body in my dreams, it’s something that, somewhat like in everyday life, you see so constantly it becomes a blur untill something draws your focus to it. Like a tattoo needle. I found it intresting that after drawing my left hand with my right and my right with my left from life it felt to me as if i knew they were my hands even if i hadn’t drawn them myself.

I started to explore this idea of embodiemnt by doing more experiments based on my limbs. The act of looking at and drawing from them brings me to a sort of meditative presence with my body. This led to me repeating the same exersise in paint (with the difference of focusing on a dream from a couple of years ago where a cyst grew on my left hand which a sea urchin came out of). The resulting paintings of my hands seemed to gross some people out. I’m not sure if this is the scale of them (about A0) or the fact that both paintings of my hands look slightly deformed, or the cyst. To take this focus on my personal embodiement further, and to oppose it to the disembodiement of dreams, I continued it by painting my feet with my feet in the same way. It was during these paintings that I feel a more wholistic idea of where I wanted to guide these ideas started to form.


Figure 2: Cory Arcangel, Super Mario Clouds v2k3, 2003

I wanted to oppose the body to the state of disembodiment brought on by dreams and the digital. Through this project i have started to notice similarities between the digital and dreams with games such as LSD Dream Emulator using one medium to express the other. The digital media of games and websites differs from previous media via it’s active element of exploration (note the exclusion of social media, where you are fed content). It is through this active element it is able to draw us in and envelope us, like a dream. This dream/digital link can be seen at the inception of the net art movement in Cory Archangel’s Super Mario Clouds8 where a hacked nintendo cartridge removes all sprites from the game apart from the clouds. As well as the dreamy aesthetic of the clouds slowly drifting across the screen there is a deeper sensation of disembodiment as it teleports the viewer to a different temporal plane. This piece embodies the ideas that I have been exploring, linking the idea of dreams, the body, and the digital by utilising the element of nostalgia that the clouds of super mario invoke most people under 40. It’s also ironic that, at least for me, there is a nostalgia for 90s to 2000s internet when net art was on the rise, the active element that the web still contained.


Figure 3: Petra Cortright, VVEBCAM, 2007, Screenshot of reconstructed YouTube page.

Taking these elements of the digital body and dreams into account I started to experiment with how i would present my work through the oppurtunity of the group critique. I had been watching a lot of youtube MOV0001’s, which are typically short clips that people have uploaded to youtube either accidentally (there camera may automaticaly have uploaded them) or without the intention of them being presented as content in the same way that "youtubers" create content. To me these clips are incredibly intresting for many reasons, there is an inately voueristic aspect to viewing clips you were never intended to view, but equally it is the lack of context that makes these clips so intresting, created by essentially anyone anywhere. Much like hacker Archangel’sSuper Mario Clouds these videos have the ability to transplant you into there temporal plane, the moments eternally captured and dissemenated across the thousands of google servers to flash up infront of our screens unexpectedly. Many of the videos9 are very reminiscent of artist Petra Cortright’s VVEBCAM10 which perfectly encapsulate the naive exploration and use of technology that (for me at least) creates a deep sense of nostalgia. I don’t say this to devalue the works, but to show how appropriating what Ed Halter calls as "sub-amatuer"11 works can help us see value in them too. Sub-amatuer works are defined using Guthrie Lonergan’s definition of using defaults and exploring there "pure and immediate functionality.":

"Using the most widely available software for the creation of content -like MS Paint or iMovie or YouTube or Google- at the most basic user level, mostly in the way they were meant to be used, relying heavily on built-in presets."


Figure 4: Guthrie Lonergran, Hacking vrs. defaults, 2007

This definition of the artist as sub-amatuer contrasted to the artist as hacker is wonderfully summed up in Lonergan’s Hacking vrs. defaults12

I know i have defintly rambled above trying to explain my intrest in MOV video but i felt it was important to attempt to justify my want to use them through showing other artists who have held similar ideas close to there practice, even if this has been with intentions unrelated to my particular intrest in how these uses of technology relate to the body.

This was definitely the most intresting part about my installation to me, the creation’s of sub-amatuers through defaults. This intrest has refocused itself moving from the confines of MOV0001 to the more expansive world of personal websites, many of which are coded (created) by hand without the use of a web framework (template). When people place these restrictions on themselves websites often become more unique than the rest of the web where people tend to express themselve through walled garderns, each person/collective has there own style of html-expression, and place more value on there creation than someone may on there social media feed, as they have placed each bit of scaffolding and layed each individual brick of there website.

Calling these websites sub-amatuer is simply descriptive of how they are created, as there is most certainly an artistry to them. this is evidenced by projects such as One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age13 which documents and explored the decayed relics of geocities websites. There must be hundreds of posts by olia documenting specific individual websites and there quirks. For example her interview with Mike Gates14 and the history of his personal geocities page. One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age acts as an archive, a body with the purpose of collating these forgotton and lost pages.


Figure 5: Mike Gates, Welcome to Muskeg Manor, 2000

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age’s focus is on speciffically geocities websites, all of which are dead, or at least cryogenically frozen. But this side of the internet still exists today, in some parts thriving, i suppose that in a sense i want archive these through mimesis and see what happens. What is lost of a websites aura when it manifests physically? is anything gained?

To start with I recreated The Esoteric Order of Dagon15 , a "Serious occult Order which has been working Lovecraftian magick for nearly 30 years" and who also seem to be a fan of the band Coil(see there links page). The process of painting this was very different than that of the from life paintings i have previously done this year. cutting the paper the size of my laptop screen i realised that it would look much smaller than it does on a screen. unlike looking at a screen 50cm from our head a piece of paper on the wall a few feet away doesnt envelop your focus in the same way. I decided to paint it in oil, the least synthetic and digital medium i could think of. I quickly found that recreateing the flatless of a screen is incredibly difficult to do. I was happy with the outcome of the painting, inspite of all the information on it being the same as that of the website the difference in medium, the lack of a backlit led projection, completely changes the way it is viewed. The analog website is brought out of the immaterial and manifests itself as a materieal object.


Figure 6: Esoteric Order of Dagon, Dagon Eye Open, 2010?

However, displaying the painting on a laptop screen is equally intresting, the laptop itself ceases to be a functional object and is seen in a sub-amatuer way, seen as its components, strange symbols and phrases, its side’s a compilation of strange portals. The laptop is a magickal object, a talisman allowing access to scripture and to cause "Change to occur in conformity with our Will."16 Like Crowley takes ""magical weapons",pen, ink , and paper" to "write "incantations" — in the "magical language" i.e that which is understood by the people [he] wish[es] to instruct" a laptop can become a magical weapon, and is for many.


Figure 7: Marisa Olson, Time Capules, 15636395172_69b6f904bc_z.jpg, 2014

I think it would be intresting to explore this way of looking at the internet. Even the internet today has (somewhat darker) magical capabilities, it can possess people, take them under its control, enchanted by its algorithems. So the internet is a tool when in your control, but also a force that can independantly act on you. To visually explore this i will continue to paint specifically websites that claim some sort of magic or occult sensibilities. When displayed on a laptop screen how do these objects make people feel? The all seeing eye of the esoteric order of dagon staring at them from there screen. Potentially i could even cast a laptop, Like Marisa Olson’s Time Capsules17 to serve as a display for my painted websites. The object becomes a monument.