Am I dreaming? – dotdotdot Somnai

Stepping within the doors through Dotdotdot production Somnai I experienced a dream world and ended up wondering at the end had I been dreaming?

What is Somnai?

Somnai is London’s most newest and most unique immersive experience which opened up earlier this March.  It invites fans of virtual reality (VR) to explore lucid dreaming and to master their subconscious mind.  This immersive live experience is brought together by dotdotdot who specialise in mixing live performance, multi-sensory elements and immersive technologies together.

Taking place across a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Clerkenwell, the whole event combines live performance, multi-sensory elements and immersive technologies to take you away from your normal life and into a world of dream where an all-powerful alien will delve deep into your psyche.  Along the way choices will have to be made creating your own unique journey.  Beware though, as not all dreams are sweet.

Somnai #sleepwithus

I went along with some other community members of Love Pop Ups London on a complimentary basis to find out more about this unique immersive experience.

Let the dreams begin

When we arrived we all got changed into our pyjama’s which we bought with us as we wanted to get into the part (you don’t need to take or change into nightwear).

Somnai

#sleepwithus

Then we handed over our belongings at the cloak room and checked ourselves in as patients for the sleep clinic of Somnai.

Now wearing our patient ID wristbands and a fitbit monitor to measure our heart rate I felt like I was entering hospital especially with my heart rate going ten to the dozen.

As we had premium tickets we were firstly taken in two by two into a white room where we had our heads scanned at 360 degrees.  We were all not sure why at first but discovered at the end of the experience that we could see our 3D scan of our head via the dotdotdot app which you can download on your smartphone.  When I received the 360 degree image you can add effects to it which made me think of Terminator 2 baddie T-1000 when he morphs into something else.  This is what my 3D scan looked like with some effects which you can choose.

“Scary isn’t it? I look like a criminal”

We then were all led into a changing area which we had to remove our shoes and put on a brown dressing gown.  It was then time to move on and adventure into the dream world of Somnai.

am I dreaming

Photo provided by dotdotdot Somnai

For the next 90 minutes we were taken on a journey through a medical laboratory to improve the value of our sleep and to understand dreams.  Without giving too much away all I will say is be warned most of the experience requires you wearing a virtual reality headset which will take you on a surreal journey like no other through different sections of the sleep technique.

We are firstly met by a lady whom wakens up from her sleep and we all introduce ourselves and things about ourselves.  She then goes on to tell us a story about a child and their shadow which underpins the experience.

We then move to different sections throughout the experience from flying through the cosmos, flying with birds to a land we desire, adventuring through various landscapes from volcanic to a fantasy garden which you can even feel the mushrooms and smell the plants. The transition through between each new landscape required a leap of faith though so you really had to trust your guide when she told you to step forward.

leap

“Would you step off a cliff? OR into a volcanic mouth?
It didn’t feel at all safe to be making a further step!”

However as we delved deeper into what we only dreamed would be possible, our party was then torn apart and driven into different dimensions and this is when we would learn the meanings of power and fear as remember not all dreams are sweet.

We then had to make a choice to find our two missing friends or to leave them behind.  Obviously though we was not going to leave our friends so we decided to save them but how we regretted this quickly as we walked down a long corridor which was like the corridor from the movie The Shining.  We were most certainly not in dream land now but a nightmare.  With a big scare and me clinging onto one of my friends we started to wish for the experience to be over and regretted our decision in finding our lost friends.  However we eventually met back up with our other friends saving them.  We were then led into a hospital type room.  We laid on the bed and another VR head set is put on us it felt like my soul was being taken up to heavens sky whilst laying and looking up. The alien then awakens us all and thanks us for the knowledge that he has learnt about us as humans.

Am I dreaming still?

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“Patient 002623 404 is on the loose”

After coming back out to reality we enter a dreamy themed digital cocktail bar which cycles through all the different themes within an hour.

Sommnai me

“I am playing with light”

At this bar you can purchase various nibbles from here and bespoke cocktails then sit at the large digital S shaped table.  If you have a premium ticket you get one cocktail for free.

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If you have the dotdotdot app downloaded on your phone put your drink on the drinks mat and you will be able to see something magical.

cocktail

“Am I dreaming?”

I saw jellyfish coming out from my friends drink through his screen or was I still dreaming.

Plus via the app you will be able to check how your heart rate peaked through your time in Somnai and even check out your 3D head shot that’s only if you had purchased a premium ticket.

Reality check

I loved Somnai and it was similar to living the episode of Black Mirror’s episode Playtest or even the movie Vanilla Sky.  All your senses from sight, touch, smell, hearing and even our vestibular and proprioception senses are all put to the test on this fantastical VR journey.  All the actors and guides throughout the whole experience were outstanding and all added to the whole experience. Even the VR was cutting edge and really did make me and my friends minds really think at time we were flying or even stepping off a cliff face.  So if you want to experience wonder, magic, flying, and fear then I highly suggest in visiting Somani.

However I must add I suffered really badly with a migraine for a few hours later and I think that was due to the VR so if you are of a nervous disposition or you suffer with motion sickness, dizziness, psychological or neurological conditions then I would advise not to do it.

“Question is are you brave enough to take the step into Somnai to dream?”

Want to book into Somnai and sleep

Tickets for Somnai cost £35. The premium package costs £47 which includes a 3D scan of your head and a cocktail.  As the cocktails are just under a tenner each this isn’t really value for money in my opinion so I’d suggest sticking with the regular ticket.

To find out more about Somnai or to book click here.

 

Thank you to Dotdotdot Somnai for letting me and others from Love Pop Ups London come to dream. This experience was complimentary from them but all views are my own honest opinion.

Click link below to read all the other bloggers blogs.  All their views are of their own honest opinions.

Dotdotdot Somnai

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