Neurotechnological body-machine interrelationships mostly aren’t controlled by the conscious influence of the user, who is part of feedback loops based on machine-readable somatic impulses. Instead of focusing on graphical user interfaces, to critically analyse the interfacing processes that seem to take place here, this work proposes to go into the longings transported in the figure of the interface. These, according to the hypothesis, cannot only be traced back to the formula “organisable relation”, but, based on this, to the transgression of what is perceived as current limitations. With this view of interface dreams, the focus shifts from the connection processes between bodies and machines itself to what is intended by means of those connections. In neurotechnological developments, one part of this longing focuses on the inner human worlds to be explored and utilised: unknown sensory, consciousness and experience potentials are to be awakened. In a special area of neurotechnological intervention, this “awakening” takes on a special status: non-invasive devices for dream induction, i.e. for measuring and influencing dream forms such as lucid dreaming, hypnagogy or mind wandering, intend to activate hidden faculties, e.g. creativity. Dream and sleep in the neurotechnological sense are not an unbridgeable interruption anymore, but rather a possible source of mineable capabilities, a resistant in-between that can be domesticated to serve the awake and conscious everyday life. Against the horizon of the intertwining of neuro- and techno-sciences (starting with the 19th-century experiments on the relationship between “artificial” and “natural” electricity, when the concept of interface first enters the discourse), two levels point the way for the planned work: interface dreams (the longing that could be fulfilled by technological interfacing) and their implications exemplified by dream interfaces, which are supposed to make dreaming accessible at the touch of a button.
Doctoral project within the research college SENSING. The Knowledge of Sensitive Media.
Image: Judith Amores, Oscar Rossello: Snapshot of “Cocoon: A Programmable Dream Machine”, video presented at Ars Electronica, CC BY 4.0 license