Dr Gunther von Hagens' exhibition of real human bodies celebrates a year in London.
At the start of the year we visited SOMNAI to find out more. Read our full breakdown of the experience below, and check out the new immersive experience by the same team, The War Of The Worlds Experience, coming to London in May 2019.
Behind an unassuming door in North London’s Old Street lies a truly unique experience, transporting visitors inside a collective dream.
“It takes 90 immersive minutes to SLEEP™ your way to success,” the tagline reads, before an unsettling warning. “May cause acute death.”
The concept is simple; groups of up to six are guided through a real-life lucid dream. SOMNAI’s setting brings the dream to life utilising a mixture of virtual reality technology and hyper reality. The space, characters and experiences are wonderfully disorientating, blurring the lines between dream and reality.
The execution is mesmerising. It transports visitors into a world like no other. SOMNAI explores the state of dreaming, as far removed from the bustling street outside of its entrance as possible.
The best way to discover is to experience. The perfection of the immersive world lies in its abundant surprises. Each room offers something new, fresh, and outside the realms of possibility. Much of the magic lies in the anticipation of what each space will reveal.
From the welcome scan in which visitors are instructed to remove their shoes and jackets in favour of a robe and thick socks, the world glides from beautiful to disorientating and back again, driven by decisions which ensure each visit offers something new. Virtual reality takes visitors further into sleep, navigating dreamscapes filled with fantastical creatures, and much more.
The voyage through hyper reality is presented by a softly spoken guide, who begins proceedings by reading a bedtime story. What follows is the unravelling of the tale. Visitors glide (almost literally) from reality to dream. From the usual to the unimaginable.
With it, SOMNAI finds the perfect balance between relaxation, wonder and adrenaline. At times it’s brilliantly unsettling, moments later it’s blissfully soaring.
Acute death may be the warning, but once visitors find themselves in the moody bar that concludes the experience (a delight in itself), it’s likely they’ll feel more alive than ever.
Tickets for The War Of The Worlds Experience, from the team behind SOMNAI, are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.