Somatic Telepathy

Somatic Telepathy investigates the threads of interconnection that run across collective consciousness and individual consciousness.

The restless flux of data, energy consumption, and decay within living creatures. Assemble, disassemble, then reassemble as an entity with power over us and the ability to dominate us. Somatic Telepathy raises concerns about the line between technological surveillance and security and the simulated reality humans perceive.

“Somatic Telepathy” is an experience-based work exploring sleeping, dreaming and human-computer interaction(HCI). Huang Ding-Yun (Taiwan) and Henry Tan (Thailand) have started to cooperate since 2017. “Somatic Telepathy” would continue developing by the concept of “Songs of the Naga Cave” they presented in ADAM (Asia Discovers Asia Meeting for Contemporary Performance )and Wonderfruit Festival in 2019. Based on previous experiences, they would like to explore further on the relation between individual perception, somatoception, dream and sleep stimulation.

“Somatic Telepathy” is a 3-year project, plans and potentially be a Taiwan-Thailand-Japan co-production work which collaborated with Kyoto Experiment (Japan), Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (Japan) and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan).

“Somatic Telepathy” is a ritual for audiences to enter a space where the environment will induce them to sleep or take a rest, their mobile phone will connect with an application that can pull data from their chat history and the data feed to AI system to generate audio-visual stimuli to trigger the audience to dream during their hypnagogia state. We see mobile phones as an extended mind to individuals today, we are curious about the interaction/relation between digital experience and dream content via somatoception.

Somatic Telepathy – Sleep as Labor – Kyoto 2023 @Anteroom Hotel

Exploring the concept of Sleep as Labor, Sleep and Dream Brainwave datas as a form of labor in the futuristic capitalism world.
I joined The Sociability of Sleep residency in Montreal, Canada in September 2022, and presented work in InSomnolence Exhibition from 22 June – 13 July 2023 in Montreal

1000 + 1 Dreams
2023, InSomnolence exhibition by The Sociability of Sleeps
Montreal, Canada
20 mins, 2 channels video
Henry Tan + Ding Yun Huang

As artists, Henry Tan and Ding Yun Huang have experimented with many techniques for making sleep sociable. Tan draws on storytelling, social critique and therapeutic experimentation using rituals inspired by Asian mythology, in search of techniques for dream and brain synchronization. Huang, a theatre artist, has brought together the transformative potential of theatrical space and the city’s soft sites of assembly, to create overnight rituals for collective sleeping and political action. As Tan puts it, “being free to dream seems like the last utopia in our daily lives.” Sleep, against the demands of modern life, remains a space of respite, like a “pause button” that buys back time for regaining courage, facing difficulties, or expansive imagination. Across 1001 nights, Scheherazade told tales to save her own life. In 1000+1 Dreams, Tan and Huang tell each other the tales they need to survive. This two-channel video installation emerged from the process of Tan and Huang attempting to synchronize their dreams between Taiwan and Bangkok. For weeks, they made video calls before they went to sleep, sharing each other’s experiences in dreams and sleep. In this intimate exchange, they discussed everything from raw experiences to memories to personal dreams. The repetitive practice shows the possibility of meeting in the dream through memory reinforcement and dream incubation through practice. Touching across space and time, the screen becomes a membrane allowing for the passage of restorative sharing.

2023, InSomnolence exhibition by The Sociability of Sleeps
Montreal, Canada
4×8 meters, light, sound, charms, felt
Natalie Fizer, Richard Sommer, Henry Tan + Ding Yun Huang

Where once the sun and moon would synchronize us to their rhythms of light and dark, electrification has contributed to the dwindling of shared night experiences. The Lantern is an experiment in ritualizing the liminal state between wakefulness and dreaming as a collective co-composition, a new ceremony across different temporalities of sleep. Based on the strange marriage of mythological figures, The Lantern is a shrouded time portal aimed at fostering a collective oneiric experience.

In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Naga is a mythological figure who dwells in the watery underworld, guarding treasures and possessing great wisdom. Naga represents the cycle of life and death, and is revered as a symbol of power, protection, and transformation. Meanwhile, in Ancient Greece, the abaton—the innermost chamber of the Greek Asklepion complex—is where visitors would sleep collectively to “incubate” prophetic dreams and seek healing from “incubus” spirits, leaving behind the testimonies of their encounter. These ritualistic and shared scenes of retreat and restoration promote shared healing and the collective dreaming of the future into being. Across these traditions, The Lantern confabulates a ritual for today in a folded, penumbral chamber. Visitors are encouraged to ascend to the mezzanine, choose a soft sleep-induction charm spun from the recollected dreams of student storytellers, and gather in the thresholds of The Lantern.

This project was made in collaboration with the following students in a graduate seminar at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto: Bianca Mori-Maurelli, Maxen Wang, Lensa Baker, Chanel Chin, Haseena Doost, Jannace Bond, Matthew Jin, Melisa Mahecha, Nashaat Rahman, Kelly Tse, Michaela Tsvetkova, Suzan Ye Htwe, Dara Abu Khajil, Harir Goodarznia, Caleigh MacDonald, Julia Miclaus, Olivia Loncar-Bartolini, Yipeng Huang, Ho Yeung Miu, Eric Wang, Ariana Fernandez Chesquin, Nikolas Giatzoylou, Michelle Ng, Thomas Tencer.

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