Many of the people walking past “Dream Machine” installation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn seem confused. A wall of balloons climbs over an unassuming brick building with simple signage and locked doors — a mysterious, but fitting, addition to the creative neighborhood. But the concept is even more baffling: How do you explain to the curious passerby that what’s just popped up is a portal to an Instagrammable dreamland?
Conceived by Paige Solomon, “Dream Machine” is a new pop-up art experience that takes visitors through a series of dreamlike spaces. Except in this dream, you remember everything and can bring your iPhone along.
Each exhibit in the converted retail space is meant to represent a different phase of dreaming. As you initially enter, you’ll find yourself in a room full of fluffy clouds and a light show crafted by Devin Cameron, one of the lighting designers of another iconic immersive experience, “Sleep No More.” There are no sheep to help you drift off, but the transition is enough to immediately take you out of the city’s constant buzz.
Continue through the funhouse and you’ll enter a room of fog-filled bubbles, a black-and-white living room (an ode to the people who dream only in black-and-white), and surprisingly, a laundromat.
Solomon wanted to add a dreamlike quality to something mundane. And she did just that. How many laundromats come complete with a cotton candy machine and have a secret door that leads to a sparkling infinity room?
Of course, there’s also a giant ball pit, because what Instagrammable art experience would be complete without one? But the showstopper of the space is, hands-down, the rainbow room: a long, rainbow-hued hallway that gets narrower as you walk through. It feels like a mix of Mario Kart, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and a Drake music video. Stop here for all the selfies.
To venture back into the real world, guests wade through a forest of patterned plants and silver streamers. As I entered, Solomon warned me, “I promise it ends.” Though claustrophobes may struggle with this final leg of the journey, it’s a fitting ending to the dreamy, uber Instagrammable experience.
“Dream Machine” is open until Thursday through Sunday until July 29. Tickets are on sale now for $38. Pro tip for the budget savvy Instagrammers out there: $28 matinee tickets are also available on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 AM to 4:30 PM.