After a few self-experiments, I came to the conclusion that no visualization comes close to what we experience in dreams. Also when sharing dreams, the perception of dreams is individual for all of us. However it is interesting that even blind people have sort of a similar perception of the world as people with sight. That’s probably the case because of story telling and describing the world to blind people from people with sight. For example: A sun has to be round and is shining.
A interesting investigation from graphic designer and artist Tobias Gutmann shows that a lot of people are stuck with a conventional representation of the world. He asked people from different cultural background to draw a house and a world. The similarities and differences between people from different background and especially kids are impressive!
You could say that the perception of the world is always very individual. Especially when compared with kids, people from non-western countries or even computers.
The same counts for dreams as dreams are fractals from something we maybe have experiences or not and put together in a way that most of the time doesn’t really make sense. You could go further and say that as soon as you share a dream, it is no more your dream but now the dream of someone else. Because this person is looking from a different angle on your dream interpretation.
I set myself the goal to find out how we can generate a (kind of) language for dreams with the help of generative art forms through programming.
After a lot of experiments with different visualizations code examples from the web and math formulas, I found a tutorial from tsulej describing folds and fractal flames and how to handle them in processing. Through variations you can generate flavour in fractal flames that generate beautiful, mysterious objects and drawings. I found a lot of similarities to dreams in those drawings and decides to investigate more time finding out how they work and how I could implement them into my dream project.
I’ve build up on the dream analytic idea and created a Dream Analyze Bot through Telegram and the Tone Analyze API from IBMs Watson. Dreamers can share their dreams with the bot and according to the dream report the bot gives the user back some emotional data (more precise described here).
The goal was to find out how those analytics represent how you may have felt during your dream and also if it is possible to find out emotions just from a dream description. At some point I also implemented emojis that the dreamer receives when one emotion is very high.
Conclusion: Of course this API is not really meant to find out how someone felt during an event and more focussing on how something is formulated. However the analytics are very depending on how a dreamer is describing the dream, – the content of the dream – it also represent how someone else could make sense of the emotional state from someone else dream. To conclude the analyzed data from the dreamer can vary heavily from what and how the dreamer really felt while dreaming or just after.
With nowadays technology and also the growing quantified self movement, analyzing data is a big thing. It’s probably only a matter of time till we start analyzing our dreams through AI. So I started a simple experiments where I analyze my dream reports on emotions with the help of IBMs Watson AI and the open API called Tone Analyzer.
Tone Analyzer uses linguistic analysis to detect three types of tones in written text: emotions, social tendencies, and writing style. Use the Tone Analyzer service to understand emotional context of conversations and communications. Use this insight to respond in an appropriate manner.
With the help of Stamplay, I’ve managed to connect text messages send to a corresponding DreamAnalyzer Bot from Telegram with IBMs Tone Analyzer API. Those messages will then be analyzed for five emotional states:
joy: Joy or happiness has shades of enjoyment, satisfaction and pleasure. There is a sense of well-being, inner peace, love, safety and contentment.
fear: A response to impending danger. It is a survival mechanism that is a reaction to some negative stimulus. It may be a mild caution or an extreme phobia.
sadness: Indicates a feeling of loss and disadvantage. When a person can be observed to be quiet, less energetic and withdrawn, it may be inferred that sadness exists.
disgust: An emotional response of revulsion to something considered offensive or unpleasant. It is a sensation that refers to something revolting.
anger: Evoked due to injustice, conflict, humiliation, negligence or betrayal. If anger is active, the individual attacks the target, verbally or physically. If anger is passive, the person silently sulks and feels tension and hostility.
For each emotion, a score of less 0.5 indicates that the emotion is unlikely to be perceived in the content. Likewise, a score greater than 0.75 indicates high likelihood that the emotion will be perceived.
Afterwards a bot can send a message with the analyzed data back to the dreamer or can even give more personal feedback. This experiments is currently on going.
A more speculative approach to this could be a Dream Prediction AI, that could tell you beforehead what you will dream about. (sounds scary to me!) You can find the method set for this experiment here: Dream Prediction
I asked myself again, what’s actually the most satisfying element of dreams? And where do we already have interactions with our dreams? Of course it’s dreaming it self but also dream sharing. As soon as I start to talk to someone about what Im currently researching, they interrupted me with something like: “Oh interesting… I had a very weird dream last night.” Or, “I recently had this dream about someone but I don’t know if I should tell it to this person”. So Dream Sharing seems a very important factor in processing our dreams.
Following this idea I thought about three different scenarios and rapid prototyping ideas.
Share your dream with the world
A dream platform where you could actively share any kind of dreams with other fellow dreamers. Building up on this idea, I started to tweet my dream reports and also share my dream thoughts, day dreams etc. Follow me on twitter to read what I dream about.
«I dreamed about you last night»
A wearable that vibrates or notifies you when someone dreamed about you or mentioned your name in a dream report.
Share your dreams with strangers
A phone call service that wakes you up and connects you to a fellow dreamer to exchange dreams.
Find those three methods here: Dream-Sharing
Most of my dreams feel very alive and are in motion. So I asked myself: How can I express my dream in a as much as possible free form without limitations? Of course Virtual Reality. I thought about an experiment where you could actually re-experience your dream in a world that you construct yourself with the help of apps like Google Tiltbrush or 3D stock footage. But to be honest this would go a little bit over my current skill set.
Anyways if you have a VR Headset and are keen to try this out, download my method paper here: Experience-Your-Dream-In-VR. Looking forward to hear from your experience!
I conducted another self-experiments with the help of a possible Google Dream Image Search Engine, that should underline my dream stories with a realistic visual world.
For example in this dream, I was flying away in a car, but it was not a futuristic car more an old car, and oh I think the car was orange. But I didn’t see the car from the outside, I was actually sitting inside the car! And also police officers were chasing me. Not like him, they were wearing yellow/transparent overlays. And at some point I was hungry!
This experiment showed me that our dreams consist of a lot of fragments. With a further performance it was also possible to replicate the jumps we do in our dreams. It was however difficult to find picture that really relate to how I dreamed a scene. But maybe this isn’t too important.
You can download the method paper for this experiment: Google-Dream-Image-Search-Engine.
I did further research in how something like the Dreaming Buddha could be triggered more accurately. I looked how in scientific fields sleep and dream is analysed. With the help of EEG and EOG it would be way easier to trigger events as playing sound or soft vibrations on your arm in the right sleep phase.
I compiled some experiments but didn’t try them out myself as in my opinion this is a very scientific approach to dreams and rather tries to explain how our brain works. Also there are (or have been) already a few products that go exactly into this direction.
Feel free to conduct your own experiments with those two methods.
1. EOG/EEG Wearable or through open-API Wearables (Fitbit, Jawbone). Find both method sheets here: EOG-EEG-API-to-trigger-events.
I started my lucid dreaming experiments, with inducing my sleep and dream phases with different methods while being asleep. My main goal was to finally dream lucid and see what outer influences can have on my sleep and dreams. For first experiment build up on the idea of a dreaming buddha machine.The Buddha Machine is a small plastic box that plays meditative music. As I knew that a normal sleep cycle consists of 4 phases and last around 90 min, I thought about ways to induce my REM sleep phases at that specific time. A very simple prototype played different sounds every 90 mins. I tried it out with my own recorded voice, good night stories, binaural beats and sound waves as well as other sonic textures that should guide me into lucid dreams.
Most of these methods did disturb or even wake me up more than actually put me into a lucid dream state.
Through self-experiments, I want to find out how I can disrupt my sleep and dream cycles as well as record my dreams.
A first method was to dream like Fellini (or more catch my dreams in the way Fellini did it). So Frederico Fellini was a famous filmmaker that took a lot of inspiration of his dreams and used his dream journal as a way to capture his dreams in a very illustrative way.
The goal was to build small stories, with words and drawings of my dreams with only a pen and a small dream book. I wanted to find out how creative I can interpret my dreams on paper and how much they still reflect my dreams.
This method definitely helped me capture my own dream stories and also to give them a visual expression. However I wouldn’t consider myself such a good drawer as Fellini was. If you have the chance, check out Frederico Fellinis Book of Dreams, truly magnificent!
I also started to put together a dream kit for my self experiments with a step-to-step guide and my initial goals. Download the Dream Like Fellini Method here.