NC Museum of Art: Dream Rooms

William Noland, video still from Dream Rooms (2014), part of the ongoing series Presence Documents, single-channel video with sound, 19 mins., © 2014 William Noland.

William Noland, professor of the practice of visual arts, had a solo exhibition open at the North Carolina Museum of Art on September 3, 2016. Called Dream Rooms, the exhibition examines our wired world of the 21st century. Individuals are seen in coffee shops, wholly absorbed, their trancelike states brought on primarily through an intense engagement with the alternate reality presented by laptops and smart phones. They are immersed in an interior world of concentration and at times of pleasure, seemingly oblivious to the often busy and noisy surroundings.

The long takes of Dream Rooms seek to lay bare the effects of technologically mediated intimacy and chronic multitasking. Questions arise: Are we being rewired by our relationship to interactive media? And how does the idea of surveillance alter our experience of these individuals? Each character is intimately examined in public space, comfortably anonymous and secure in the privacy of his or her thoughts and behavior, while the gaze of the camera records impulses and reactions.

The exhibition is organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art and continues through February 5, 2017.