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What is required to create an oneiric experience?

The realm of the dreams is a no-place where imagination blends with reality and where the boundaries of what is possible and what is not are blurred. Oneiric aesthetic, thus, is believed to serve as a means to explore our unconscious through the projection of our fears, desires, anxieties and motivations. The oneiric is an illusory state that can be pleasant, upsetting, disturbing and beautiful all at once, although not physical, it is usually perceived as a space with a very fickle set of spatial properties. 


Through the analysis of five different contemporary art exhibitions such as Anywhere, Anywhere out of this world (Phillipe Parreno), This is how we bite our tonge (Elmgreen and Dragset), The day we left field​ (Tundra Disseny Hub), Bosphorus: Data Sculpture (Refik Anadol), Dream: L ́arte incontra i sogni (Danilo Eccher) we propose the study of the oneiric and its properties. These exhibitions apply spatial strategies that mirror those of dreams, such as: distorted scale and time perception, staging static isolation, dissolution of spatial boundaries, and immersion through ambience control, often creating physical metaphors in space. In each of the exhibitions the spatial properties were altered and manipulated for the sake of an oneiric experience. 


In Anywhere, Anywhere out of this world, Phillips Parreno generates a scenography that explores the distortion of scale and time, making a living and pulsing experience by integrating the building and the exhibit.

Anywhere, Anywhere out of this world ​by Phillipe Parreno. Palais de Tokyo​, Paris.

Bosphorus explores how the isolation and the dissolution of spatial boundaries can also contribute to the oneiric experience as the spectator is awed by a screen projection in a dark room. In a similar way but even more immersive, The Day We Left Field  blurs the boundaries of space in the darkness in a forest of lights that transports the visitor to a different world.


BOSPHORUS: DATA SCULPTURE By Refik Anadol. Pilevneli, Istambul, Turkey.


Finally in DREAM: L’arte incontra i sogni exhibition creates an immersive experience through total ambience control, creating a scenography that runs to the last detail of the route, dialoguing and relying on the architecture of the building for achieving a world of dreams.


Dream: L ́arte incontra i sogni By Danilo Eccher. Chiostro del Bramante

In This is How We Bite Our Tongue the static staging serves as a reference point for the visitors’ own personal experience, in both very detailed and realistic sets as well as in isolated scenes with no spatial reference points, allowing for an uncanny atmosphere to be created. For these exhibitions the viewer is a key element to activate and complete the oneiric experience as a way to explore our unconscious by projecting our own fears, desires, anxieties and motivations into the space. 


This is how we bite our tongue by Elmgreen and Dragset. WHITECHAPEL GALLERY, London

In conclusion, oneiric environments can be created by redefining the functions and qualities of an interior architectural space presenting the viewer the possibility to perceive the space in a different way. This alteration of spatial reality can be achieved through very complex or subtle gestures. 


Inspired by the This is How we Bite our Tongue exhibition we propose a simple intervention for the Condestable Palace (Pamplona, Spain) space, combining architectural elements that existed already with swimming po, in order to decontextualize the place and create an oneiric experience.

Our proposal for explores the concept Oneiric by using the existing railings surrounding the central space, a rescue buoy and a suspended ladder to create the illusion of a swimming pool in the middle of the third floor of the Condestable Palace. This arrange of elements aims to create a sense of discomfort and bewilderment, fostering a dreamlike experience.

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Renders de la exhibición Oneiric by Leire Santos, Manuela Muñoz, Silvia Motilva, Jonathan Hernández Arana. Condestable Pamplona, Navarra. España 

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