I Dream of Content-Trash

Excerpt from this article:

They come dressed in their post-brunch best. They come in packs. They come to be photographed.

They flock to the sanitized byways of Williamsburg for the Dream Machine, a new and wildly Instagrammable “experience” that compels users to let their imaginations “run wild” as they explore nine surreal rooms—of clouds, bubbles, ball pits, cotton candy—inspired by dreams. Soon they will number in the thousands, this well-groomed crop of spendthrift pathfinders, but today, in the first week of the Dream Machine’s two-month lifespan, the crowd is smaller, almost intimate.

What does the attendee, the user of the Dream Machine get in return? Quite literally, a dream of someone else’s design. Inside the Machine’s guts, the globally integrated spectacle of our ceaseless stream of content-trash launches its assault on the final frontier: the idea of human sleep. But it’s not just our dreams. As a result of this advancing bacchanal of VSCO filters, of data mining, of likes and shares and sponsored posts, “the primary self-narration of one’s life shifts in its fundamental composition,” writes Jonathan Crary in 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. “Instead of a formulaic sequence of places and events,” Crary continues, “the main thread of one’s life story is now the electronic commodities and media services through which all experience has been filtered, recorded, or constructed.” This idiot pageant designed specifically for Instagram, in other words, this plasticized dreamworld, is more and more the very stuff of our lives, or at least the stories we tell ourselves.

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