Sunday night was the first of what is seeming to be a series of nights where I live broadcast myself sleeping on the social video chat service Tinychat. The original impetus of the idea was that this process would in some way help me by: 1) creating soothing background chatter 2) having public support during periods of non-sleep related stress and 3) creating a semblence of protection to thwart my paranoia in the middle of the night.
However, after last night I realized the most interesting part of this experiment happened outside of my control. After waking up this morning I realized that my dreams had been completely altered by things said and done on the chat while I slept.
My most memorable dream last night went as follows:
I was on an improv team with Connor Ratliff, Matt Cohen, Cory Palmer, Marshall Stratton, and Shalyah Evans. We were performing in a giant factory facility covered in smoke stacks and air ducts on an island somewhere in Asia. We were all annoyed because Marshall kept forcing us to do sets that only consisted of rock and roll (the team coming out and performing songs as though we were a rock band). In our opinion the improv sets, though popular, weren’t wildly creative or inspiring but none of us wanted to confront Marshall about it. Also, as dreams are want to do, there were random wires all around the industrial apartment we all lived in.
Anywho, this stupid dream clearly had elements of people and things that happened as I attempted to go to sleep (those people mostly being in the videochat as I slept, and most of them singing famous songs from the 80s as an impromptu lullaby for me). I had many other dreams that night but this was the last one I remembered. I am sure that many of them included elements crafted by video chat participants.
That said, I am doing this again tonight. Feel free to tune in and say things to me as I sleep. Just follow this link to see what’s going on. I’ve already been judged for my bizarre sleep schedule so just know going in that I am aware my sleep habits are not healthy:
Over the years I have acquired a horrible habit whereby I can’t get to sleep unless I hear voices or music or other things going on around me. I most likely picked this up while living in an East Village apartment that faced the street for many years. Nowadays I usually deal with this embarassing facet of myself by playing podcasts or movies on a laptop next to me. However, I’ve decided to take the next logical step in my life and turn my attempts to sleep into a live internet broadcast.
I won’t do it every night (unless it turns out to be wildly helpful) but I’ll use it to keep myself in check and hopefully my other nocturnal friends will help me sleep soundly. My biggest problems right now are that I wake up in the middle of the night and decide to work on projects or I sit in bed writing all night. By having a live interactive video conference with friends and strangers I hope to achieve the following:
The ambient noise of the viewers talking or just existing in their own worlds will allow me enough background noise to sleep.
If I get up to work or seem especially distracted, my fellow man can convince me to stay in bed or comfort me when I get angry that I can’t sleep.
Also, the live internet viewers can look after me should ghosts / gangs / monsters / bad dreams attempt to harm me throughout the night.
While I think this may be weirdly entertaining for my friends, it also represents a sad state of affairs because in writing this I have realized that I’ve strayed so far from reality in my life that I actually have to turn “sleeping” into a weird performance piece or project in order to allow myself to do it.
I hope you’ll tune in tonight and help me out. The broadcast will happen on tinychat where you can login and broadcast video from your own computer so I can hear and see you as I attempt to sleep: