Carsten Höller

2020-21 CAST Visiting Artist

Carsten Höller, Aufzugbett (Elevator Bed), 2010. Installation views: Soma, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2010. Photo: © Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy Carsten Höller and Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary-Augarten, Vienna.
Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds (Grey), 2015. Installation view: Sunday, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico, 2019. Photo: © Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy Carsten Höller and Christel Bonnier Collection.
Carsten Höller, Drehendes Hotelzimmer (Revolving Hotel Room), 2008. Installation view: theanyspacewhatever, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2008. Photo: © Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy Carsten Höller and Château La Coste.
Carsten Höller, Sina 3, 2004. Photo © John Scarisbrick. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian gallery.

Manifesting the art-science of sleep and dreaming

About the Residency

Professor Pattie Maes and graduate student Adam Haar of MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Lab work with artist Carsten Höller to explore experiences that cross the borders of wake and sleep. Höller, with both a scientific doctorate and an installation art practice, combines experiment design and experience design in his work. 

The Fluid Interfaces Lab creates tools to inspire and alter dreams, using muscle stimulation, bone conduction audio, smell delivery, and temperature changes administered in sleep to engineer dream experience. 

Together they are designing experiential prototypes and environments approximating the circadian cycles of consciousness, lucidity, and dreams to provoke new kinds of perceptual receptivity and disorientation. 

More about their project: Dream Hotel

Collaborators at MIT

Pattie Maes is a professor in MIT’s Program in Media Arts and Sciences, and runs the Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces research group, which aims to radically reinvent the human-machine experience. Coming from a background in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction, she is particularly interested in the topic of cognitive enhancement, or how immersive and wearable systems can actively assist people with memory, attention, learning, decision making, communication, and wellbeing.

Maes is the editor of three books, and is an editorial board member and reviewer for numerous professional journals and conferences. She has received several awards: Fast Company named her one of 50 most influential designers (2011); Newsweek picked her as one of the “100 Americans to watch for” in the year 2000; TIME Digital selected her as a member of the “Cyber Elite,” the top 50 technological pioneers of the high-tech world; the World Economic Forum honored her with the title “Global Leader for Tomorrow”; Ars Electronica awarded her the 1995 World Wide Web category prize; and in 2000 she was recognized with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council. She has also received an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, and her 2009 TED talk on “the 6th sense device” is among the most-watched TED talks ever.

In addition to her academic endeavors, Maes has been an active entrepreneur as co-founder of several venture-backed companies, including Firefly Networks (sold to Microsoft), Open Ratings (sold to Dun & Bradstreet) and Tulip Co (privately held). Prior to joining the Media Lab, Maes was a visiting professor and a research scientist at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium.

More at: MIT Media Lab

Adam Haar is a PhD student whose work aims to augment human awareness, translating advances in neuroscience into experiences that expand possibilities for introspection.

Haar has a background as a neuroscience researcher at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research studying mindfulness meditation and mind-wandering, as a Research Affiliate at Harvard metaLAB, and as an Artist-Scientist at the Marina Abramovic Institute. His work has been presented in a range of artistic and scientific spaces, including Cannes Film Festival, National Academy of Sciences, Transmediale, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and more.

Haar’s current interests include collaborative research for guiding dreams and nightmare treatment, working on neuroscience-based prison policy change, and bridging art and neuroscience in a form that goes beyond ornamental.

More at the artist’s website: Adam Haar


Carsten Höller applies his training as a scientist to his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the nature of human relationships. Major installations include Flying Machine (1996), an interactive work in which viewers are strapped into a harness and hoisted through the air; Test Site (2006), a series of giant slides installed in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall; Amusement Park (2006), a large installation at MASS MoCA of full-sized carnival midway rides operating at dramatically slowed speeds; The Double Club (2008–09), a work designed to create a dialogue between Congolese and Western culture in the form of a London bar, restaurant, and nightclub; and Upside-Down Goggles (2009–11), an ongoing participatory experiment with vision distortion through goggles. Höller’s Revolving Hotel Room, an installation that became a fully operational hotel room by night, was featured in the exhibition theanyspacewhatever at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2008–09).

Höller was born in 1961 in Brussels to German parents. Major exhibitions and solo presentations include the Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2003, 2005, 2009, 2015); Half Fiction, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2003); 28th Bienal de São Paulo (2008); Experience, New Museum, New York (2011); 11th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2013); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010, 2014); Golden Mirror Carousel, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014–15); Decision, Hayward Gallery, London (2015); Y, Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (2017); and Sunday, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2019).

Höller lives and works in Stockholm and Biriwa, Ghana.

More at the artist’s website: Carsten Höller