Panel | The Strange Science of Sleep and Dreams
In collaboration with NYAS' Science and the City and Center for Inquiry. —DREAMACHINE INTRODUCTION—A simple flicker machine. You look at it with your eyes shut and the flicker plays over your eyelids. Visions start with a kaleidoscope of colors on a plane in front of the eyes and gradually become more complex and beautiful, breaking like surf on a shore until whole patterns of color are pounding to get in. After awhile the visions were permanently behind my eyelids and I was in the middle of the whole scene with limitless patterns being generated around me. There was an almost unbearable feeling of spatial movement for a while but It was well worth getting through for I found that when it stopped I was high above the earth in a universal blaze of glory. Afterwards I found that my perception of the world around me had increased very notably. All conceptions of being dragged or tired had dropped away…" Brian Gyosin
With NYAS' Science and the City
program, the 5th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival presents a panel that will unveil the inner dream world of the subconscious. What is the mind doing while we sleep and what do animals dream about?
With stellar scientists, filmmakers and science communicators, we will explore a melange of fiction and non-fiction narratives addressing this topic. The audience will experience a live demonstration of The Dream Machine, an early device created to simulate REM sleep and learn about the the most innovative brain imaging studies have transformed the way we define consciousness. David Randall | Writer, Reporter
David K. Randall is senior reporter at Reuters and an adjunct professor at New York University. His new book is, "Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep."
From people committing murder while supposedly sleepwalking, to what sleep was like in medieval times, Dreamland provides a lively overview of the world's most popular nocturnal pastime. Alan Berliner | Filmmaker
Alan Berliner's uncanny ability to combine experimental cinema, artistic purpose, and popular appeal in compelling film essays has made him one of America's most acclaimed independent filmmakers. The New York Times has described Berliner's work as "powerful, compelling and bittersweet… full of juicy conflict and contradiction, innovative in their cinematic technique, unpredictable in their structures… Alan Berliner illustrates the power of fine art to transform life.
Berliner is known for making personal, reflective films that deconstruct everything from his family name to his inability to sleep at night. A film that balances the precision of a Swiss watch with the messiness of a restless mind, WIDE AWAKE is filmmaker Alan Berliner's uniquely personal tour through his life-long obsession with insomnia. Matt Wilson | Neuroscientist
Matthew Wilson is Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neuroscience and Picower Scholar at MIT. His lab is interested in teasing apart the mechanisms of sleep and arousal, and applications of neuroscience in engineering and the study of intelligence. Wilson investigates brain systems that contribute to learning, memory, spatial navigation, and decision-making and their possible involvement in neurological diseases and disorders. By monitoring the coordinated activity of ensembles of large numbers of individual neurons during active behavior, sleep, and quiet wakefulness he identified a process of memory reactivation that reflected both the content and the temporal linkage of events that could constitute the basis of episodic memory. These events may reflect the animal equivalent of dreaming. Erin Wamsley | Instructor in Psychiatry
Erin J. Wamsley, Ph.D., is an Instructor at Beth Israel Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, where she studies how the brain processes memories during sleep, as well as the relationship of sleep-dependent memory processing to dream experiences. Her current work explores how spatial memories are transformed during sleep, how emotion modulates sleep-dependent memory processing, and how recent experiences are expressed in dreams.
Moderated by: Tim McHenry | Director of Public Programs & Performance & Producer Brainwave Series, Rubin Art Museum
Tim McHenry, the program producer at New York City's Rubin Museum of Art, presents theater-going audiences with what the Huffington Post has called "some of the most original and inspired programs on the arts and consciousness in New York City." His public programs explore the wider implications of the museum's collection and art exhibitions through music, film, performance, and intimate conversation. To mark the exhibition and publication of psychiatrist C.G. Jung's Red Book, for example, McHenry put Jungian psychoanalysts on stage with the likes of Alice Walker, Sarah Silverman and David Byrne. He brought physicists together with Philip Glass, Charlie Kaufman, Laurie Anderson and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur to explore the universe in connection with an exhibition on the cosmos in 2010. He has invited great minds such as Oliver Sacks, Mike Nichols and Ken Burns to come to the museum to "talk about nothing."
The museum's popular series of Brainwave talks, which McHenry just produced for the fifth year in a row, has paired renowned neuroscientists such as Eric Kandel and Daniel Kahneman with the likes of Tom Wolfe, Lou Reed, Moby, Amy Tan and Paul Simon. McHenry has also organized art experiences that break the traditional mold, such as the Dream-Over—a sleepover at the museum for grown-ups—and an event that converted the whole building into an olfactory Memory Palace.