I Dream Eye was a visual music performance commissioned by New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) for the SoundPlay 2004 Festival in Toronto. The work explored dream on many levels and experiences of consciousness.
I Dream Eye, in its first incarnation, incorporated computer interactive performance technologies (originally the Expanded Instrument System—EIS), improvised accordion, and video installation. EIS was computer interactive performance software developed by Pauline Oliveros over thirty years of research, experimentation, and collaboration. I made personal modifications to EIS (programming by Stephan Moore using Max/MSP) in 2004, which provided me with the ability for real-time processing and spacialization of live accordion/vocal improvisation, and for triggering audio files. Due to rapidly evolving technologies in recent years, I currently performed with Ableton Live.
In creating this project, it was important for me to establish a direct relationship between sound and image, and to create an immersive environment with the goal of providing the audience with an experience of a waking dream. My creative process led me to the creation of an audio/video water object, which I originally used in performance and later used in a gallery installation. This object incorporated video that was projected into a metal bowl containing water, with the bowl placed on a subwoofer. The sound generated from the performance (and amplified by the subwoofer) vibrated the water, thereby naturally distorting and diffusing the image. The content of the video was derived from an awareness and contemplation of how I exist in the world and my interactions with people in various situations. I worked with Patrick Goddard and Virginia Preston, who acted out various scenarios on the Plateau of Montreal, and recorded their improvisation.
I Dream Eye involved the creative exploration of dream, the transitions and connections of moving from unconscious awareness into conscious awareness, and dreambody. The primary focus of this production was to create a dream experience based on the principles of attraction vs. opposition. The performance emerged following six years of dream journaling and explorations of the dreambody in sound and movement. Every time I’ve presented this work, I’ve observed the audience becoming quite fascinated by how the sound is able to distort the image so effectively, and how people gather around the audio/video water object to observe the mechanics of the installation and to see the video directly projected into the vibrating water.
Here is a page published by Western Front for Art’s Birthday 2005.
My most recent incarnation of I Dream Eye was in Latitude 53‘s Summer Incubator Series in 2011. I recreated the project as a gallery installation, with new video and audio, but keeping the audio/video water object. Although the installation was very successful in terms of its magical character, I encounter problems with the installation in a gallery setting. In order to vibrate the water, the audio must be diffused through a subwoofer at fairly high volumes. This creates problems for the gallery in terms of 1) receiving complaints from neighbours, and 2) torturing gallery staff who have to listen to the loud sounds during gallery hours. So, I was left scratching my head, contemplating what direction I would take with this work. I’m still working on this–in the meantime, I’ve been exploring the concept of the sacred well in my project, Ray’s Well.
As a side note, you will probably notice that I haven’t published the audio from this project. I was never really satisfied with the audio from the first incarnation of the project, and the audio used for the gallery installation was simply a processed field recording of a train moving through Montreal. Nevertheless, the project has value in it’s overall concept and I continue to ponder the direction I might take with it.