A video installation by William Noland
Dream Room examines the wired world in which we find ourselves, early in the 21st century. Individuals are seen in coffee shops, wholly absorbed, their trance-like 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 Room seek to lay bare the effects of technologically mediated intimacy and chronic multi-tasking. The piece is an attempt to visualize neuroplasticity at work, implicitly questioning whether we are being rewired by our relationship to interactive media. The equally important subtext is surveillance and its trace effects. Each character is intimately examined in public space, comfortably anonymous and secure in the privacy of their thoughts and behavior. Likewise, they are anonymous in virtual space, exhibiting the disinhibition effect of the online world. Meanwhile, the invisible gaze of the camera and the algorithms of the internet make note of their impulses and reactions.
The installation marks a point in time in which personal information is willingly shared and over-shared, while simultaneously all sorts of data about us is gathered and used by omnivorous corporations and states for purposes of their own. The goal is to bring attention to attention: where we are directing it, what are the perils of distraction, what becomes of social interaction in an increasingly digital world, and what aspects of human agency are being replaced as a consequence.
Camera, sound & editing: William Noland
2013 | HD color | USA |28:00 loop