DreamMaker

According to Francis Crick and Graeme Mitchison, REM sleep serves to remove undesirable data from memory. They suggest that just as it is important to reinforce certain associations, it is crucial to weaken others. Suppose, for example, that you had to remember every detail in your life. Your brain would soon be stuck in an endless loop of trivial memory. The fact that dreams are difficult to remember suggests to Crick and Mitchison that the process might have been designed to erase, rather than to strengthen certain memories. “We dream in order to forget”. DreamMaker illustrates this theory. Six buttons on a control panel allow the participant to manipulate the claw inside a housing, while a monitor situated on the same panel displays the view of a camera placed inside the claw. On the monitor, the participant sees various random snapshots and souvenirs, which symbolize the memories, and thus the life, of an individual. Another button on the panel controls the contraction of the claw. In this way, the participant is able to grab some of these “memories” and drop them through an opening which carries them out of the housing – memory – to “reality”. These random images, extracted from memory, will conform a dream, not as a means to fulfill unconscious wishes, but in order to be removed from memory.

 Details of the Claw and the Video Viewer
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 • Size: 190x120x60 - Media: stainless steel, three axis motorized arm, micro video camera, 6" LCD screen, various photographs and letters. - 1998
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