Sarah Fuller


Sarah Fuller

Work from Dream Lab and Dream Work.

“Dream Lab is a collaborative venture between myself and the Dream and Nightmare Lab at The Sacred Heart Hospital in Montreal, Canada. Through the research the lab and I have produced new knowledge about the hypnagogic stage of the sleep cycle. As a result of the collaboration, I have worn the various hats of subject, researcher and artist. The hypnagogic stage occurs at sleep onset and there are often hallucinatory images and short periods of dreaming that occur during this time. Artists like Salvador Dali used this stage of sleep to harness creative imagery and problem solve. Dali also employed the ‘upright napping’ technique which involves falling asleep upright and seated in a chair. I have used this technique in my series. Typically in the lab sounds are used to awaken the participants, but in the submitted study a flash (visual stimuli) and the sound of the camera (audio stimuli) were used to waken the person from an upright nap. Participants sat quietly in a darkened room lit only by a single black light and tried to fall asleep. When the researcher observed that the EEG indicated a shift towards sleep, the camera and flash were triggered, thereby illuminating the room. In essence, the result is a photograph of the exact moment the person is falling asleep, just before the customary head nod. The portraits are comprised of photos of myself as subject, as well as the various researchers from the lab. One of the best ways to study dreaming and effects of various stimuli is by self-observation. As a result, the researchers and technicians I was working with were interested in experiencing the effects of the flash.”

“This series of photographs and text is a work in progress that documents my experience during a night’s sleep. The apparatus for capturing this experience is a pinhole camera and a notebook. The performed process is to open the shutter just before I go to sleep and close it when I wake up in the morning. The camera records the body’s movement during the night and often results in a blurred image. Before I get up, I write the contents of the dream from that night. This process of writing and image making is to relate the exposure to the awake verbal recording of the dream from the night before, both of which are interpretative and somewhat speculative in nature. My recall of the dreams is sometimes absent, fragmented, or hard to decipher. This may be due to such factors as sleep quality, body movements and the amount of light available in the room. I’ve recently invited other people to participate in this work and these works are the last two works presented here.” – Sarah Fuller

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