Jillian Mayer’s APlaceForOnlineDreaming.com

CHICAGO — When I was but a wee young twin, a powerful psychic told me that I should keep a dream journal. I never forgot that moment, because it came to me in a dream during a wonderful evening of REM-induced magic. That psychic reappeared to me one day in the form of the tumblr blog tag #psychic moment. And that’s when I knew the Internet was haunting me.

This is the idea behind Miami-based artist Jillian Mayer’s new website-as-art project aplaceforonlinedreaming.com, where she asks anyone on the internet to log their dreams either directly onto the site, or through Twitter using the hashtag #SleepSite. All dreams will appear on Twitter thereafter.

APlaceforOnlineDreaming.com aka TheSleepSite.net will exist both in virtual and real-life formats as part of her solo exhibition PRECIPICE/POSTMODEM at Locust Projects in Miami (on view through June 19). The site was built by Mayer’s web programmer, Vince Mckelvie.

“A place for web users to take a break, rest their heads against the screen of their computer on a digital representation of a comfortable pillow,” says Mayer. “Users can select the relaxing music of their choice and tweet their dreams with a larger sleeping community on Twitter.”

Jillian Mayer's, installation shot of "A Place for Online Dreaming" at Locust Projects, Miami

Installation shot of Jillian Mayer’s “A Place for Online Dreaming” at Locust Projects, Miami (photograph courtesy the artist)

Mayer enjoys working on the edges of human-technology consciousness, calling into question inventor, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil‘s idea that the singularity — the theoretical moment when human and machine are no longer separated — is coming very soon. Unlike Kurzweil, who is quite serious about his ideas, Mayer’s artwork brings a light comedic approach to a very serious idea: that eventually we will have a reverse-engineering of the human brain, and that the age of spiritual machines is not far away.

So what does that have to do with sleep?

“The idea [for this project] came from the internet being able to provide so much . . . but I hadn’t yet seen it offer me a place to rest—a protected place,” says Mayer.

Much like Erasey Page, a collaboration with Eric Cade Schoenborn that jokingly asks users to “erase the internet” one page at a time, thus revealing perhaps what is both a fantasy and a fear for those who spend much time online, APlaceForOnlineDreaming.com presupposes that one day we can experience sleeping together online.

In real-life, Mayers says that her dreams are incredibly vivid, and often times incredibly cinematic.

“My dreams are often exhausting,” Mayer told me.

“As exhausting as the Internet can be?” I asked her.

“Not only are my dreams exhausting but they also come as premonitions of the future,” she says. “A moment happens in my day and it feels like déja vu. It’s not actually déja vu because it has not previously happened, it just seems like it has. I almost always can recall it from a dream, sometimes from years ago.”

PRECIPICE/POSTMODEM continues at Locust Projects (3852 North Miami Avenue, Miami) through June 19.

Visit APlaceforOnlineDreaming.com a/k/a TheSleepSite.net. Available online from now until the singularity arrives. 

Alicia Eler

Alicia Eler is a cultural critic and arts reporter. She is the author of the book The Selfie Generation (Skyhorse Publishing), which has been reviewed in the New York Times, WIRED...