The Lantern

2023, InSomnolence exhibition by The Sociability of Sleeps
Montreal, Canada
4×8 meters, light, sound, charms, felt
Henry Tan + Ding Yun Huang, Pillow Culture, New Circadia

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.

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