Alexander Schubert - Sleep Laboratory
VR-based Immersive Installation
Premiere May 2022
Biennale Venice, Rainy Days Luxemburg, Acht Bruecken Cologne

Program Notes:
In sleep we find a different space: possible to be altered: subconscious, morphing with poetic truths and desires. In sleep our imaginations and connections are unlimited. In sleep we find death, we experiment - counterbalancing our controlled life. In sleep we dissociate from our solid self. Virtuality is our sleep model. Our technique of alteration and reframing. Sleep can be considered as a counter-action to the hard-modeled reality - an escape to avoid over-fitting and compressed world views: All we want is to escape and to transcend.
The Sleep Laboratory offers a guided virtual experiment, in which the participants are invited to a setting which allows for the readjustment of self perception and external observation. Join an intimate scenario, during which you may look at yourself and your partner as a virtual container. Hollow and empty - but beautiful and lovable. Letting go to engage with sincerity.

From you, into fluidity,
Into fragility:
Death bedding,
Night kissing.
And total dispersion.
Hollowed out.
Formalize. Parametrize.
Empty biological Vessel left below.
A Room like a Terrarium.
Look into the Eyes.
Complete Surrender.
A beautiful Fade-Out-Function.

Project Description:
Sleep Laboratory is a 60-minute immersive participatory VR-installation-piece for ensemble musicians / performers and VR Video. It mimics a group sleeping session based around topics of embodiment, virtuality and simulation. It focuses on the comparison between the real and the virtual, the own experience and perception of another.
A group of 12 participants is split up into six compartments - each hosting two participants and one performer. Each compartment is equipped with a bed, a chair, two VR headsets and a supervision monitor screen. During the course of the hour the participants perceive the space, their bodies and the other bodies directly, through VR and through the screen in alternating and overlapping ways. Like this the three persons in the room always see different representations of the same bodies and spaces. Like this an ongoing comparison effect between the inside and the outside occurs. The setting is provoking to switch between introspection and empathy for the opposing person and is invited to imagine also the perception of the other.
A main technique that is used in the VR pars are Out-of-Body-Experiences. Here the participant sees the setting and their own body in a virtual simulation through the eyes of the aligned avatar. Both the real person and the avatar are lying on the bed. Then slowly the point-of-view is gliding out of the body allowing the participant to observe his/her body lying on the bed form above - while still being able to control its movement.