The Laboratory of Donated Dreams visiting Barcelona

— “The Laboratory of Donated Dreams” is a living project by Persona Non Grata, exploring empathy and optimistic futures through installations, rituals, artifacts, and algorithms. Every certain time, different forms of the project are developed by a new group of participants distributed in the world, online or in person. 

Persona Non Grata was invited to curate an arts program for Reshaping Work Barcelona 2019 - a conference focusing on the challenges of work in the digital era. The event is part of a growing network of researchers, workers & entrepreneurs who are critically dealing with the future of work. Reshaping Work events across Europe are discussing and highlighting the platform-, gig- & caring economies, and other topics related to workers’ rights.

Following the four corner stones of our practice* we created & curated a socially aware and speculative arts program full of immersive experiences. “The Lab” was both the overarching narrative of the program as a whole, and a physical laboratory where the guests could meet our technicians and donate their dreams for a better future. The Persona Non Grata experiences also included a video installation* and intinerant walks by local platform workers.

Curated experiences by local artists - Vicky González, David Ortiz Juan, Helena Matamala & Domestic Data Streamers - were also showcased during the two day conference in Barcelona.

Below you will find a series of sources to dive into; the “Algorithm interpretation” is showing the process of how donated dreams are turned into a living poem, and the actual poem can be found here:

Algorithm interpretation (2019)

Exhibition text / The Dream Donation

“There is art that provokes thoughts. There is also art that provokes feelings. And they are both provoking.
This is an immersive experience and sociotechnical artifact to receive, gather, remix, and transform individual dreams, visions, reveries, and hallucinations from guests into a text or story made by an algorithm.

Our idea deals with possible futures built with optimism and empathy. We believe that including emotions in all areas of our societies unleashes a deeper comprehension of our world and the role we play in it.

We trust that our creative and emotional abilities will guide us through these times, and remind us the role that play has in the construction of positive futures, because play allows our bodies and minds to guide us, and not fears and prejudices.

The algorithms we generate narrate our cultural intelligence in such a way, that we are able to perceive the deepest, most honest net that touches our current realities.

Our algorithm generates a universe of data based in human input, to explore the collective voice of a community, space, or moment. As this living narrative takes a non-linear form, we understand that her existence depends of who interprets her, and that she requires humans to exist. In this manner, we become guides of the machines, and protectors of our world (and not the opposite).

Our experience has two goals: to awaken the spark of possibility and responsibility in each person that goes through our ritual, and to release open code onto the rivers that make our Internet.”


A special thanks to our local Persona Non Grata team: 

Natalia Santolaria ⭐️  
Laura Milà 💘

Clara Llongarriu 🔮   

We are eternally grateful for your passion and contributions, you made our dreams come true!

 Thanks to

Ouishare & Reshaping Work Barcelona team

Reshaping Work Amsterdam 

Invited artists & platform workers

Friends, families & partners

The lovely and trusting dream donators