One of three Dream Machine posters created by the fall 2022 CCI 304-03 Poster group.

An intrepid group of Creative and Cultural Industry (CCI) students in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, has leaped headfirst into a project that promises to turn heads. Dr. Patrick Fuery’s fall Creative and Cultural Industries in Practice class was tasked with creating none other than The Dream Machine.

The Dream Machine is the name given to a device invented by Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville in the early 1960s. It consists of a cylindrical tube with a series of circular slits that is turned at a high speed around a hanging light bulb. The user looks at the flickering light through closed eyelids, which creates the illusion of moving patterns that is said to induce an altered state of consciousness, similar to dreaming, by using a combination of strobing lights and constant, repetitive sound. Senior Daniella Beneabou (Business Administration BS major, Creative & Cultural Industry minor, ’23), interprets the Dream Machine as, “a psychedelic version of sitting in a car and driving by trees with your eyes closed, seeing the sunlight flicker through the trees, and entering into a hallucinating headspace.”

While interesting in its own right, how did this project connect to a CCI course focused on content creation. “The Dream Machine is a project that focuses on helping students think outside the box when it comes to content creation and CCI. It is an interdisciplinary project that brings together all aspects of CCI including art, music, technology, and content creation to create an immersive experience that stimulates the senses and taps into alternative ways of thinking about the world,” explains Dr. Fuery.

The class was divided for the project into four small groups. There was a building group, a poster group, a music group, and finally a social media group. Throughout the span of the project, the groups were in constant communication with one another in order to brainstorm conceptual ideas, to troubleshoot issues that arose, to make sure that the project was representative of each individual facet of the project and that the final version of the machine met their expectations.

The CCI Dream Machine made its debut at Chapman’s Student Scholar Symposium, held on November 30.  For those who experienced the Dream Machine first hand at the Symposium, one participant reported feeling like “I was falling down a rabbit hole similar to Alice in Alice in Wonderland.” Others reported having the sensation of  “swaying on a boat, unbalanced,” and seeing “memories of being in a forest with [their] mom with sunlight peeking through the trees and seeing blue and yellow colors as a result.” In addition to the Scholar Symposium, the CCI students and Dr. Fuery are hoping to present the Dream Machine and their collaborative research surrounding the project at the 2023 National Conference on Undergraduate Research hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire which will take place in April, 2023.

To learn more about the Dream Machine research project, read our full CCI Blog story.

(Pictured above: Students of CCI 304-03 presenting at the Student Scholar Symposium. (LtoR) Seniors Jade Buchanan-Moh, Rebecca Day, Polina Dvorkin, Daniella Benabou and Ali Davenport)