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Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

A Dream Dreaming a Dream

Esther Schipper, Berlin

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, 'A Dream Dreaming a Dream', 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper.
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, 'A Dream Dreaming a Dream', 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper.

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Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
A Dream Dreaming a Dream
Format & Technical

Infinite duration

A Dream Dreaming A Dream is a real-time, infinitely changing animation, always similar but also always generated anew, of a dreaming panther roaming the forest.

The panther, an animated artificial intelligence herself, wanders, rests, walks and explores a lush rainforest in the form of a point cloud scan. Made of single dots floating in a vast dark space, the forest is only visible in the proximity of the panther, whose emanating light illuminates her immediate surroundings. The rainforest’s densely leafed underbrush, delicate foliage and branches, as well as its floor covered with leaves and ferns are delineated by small white dots, while the panther is depicted by gently glowing graphic lines that articulate his form and limbs. The simplified representation is surprisingly life-like and even transports a certain soulfulness that evokes the dream state of the work’s title, and infuses this artificial intelligence with life.

This feeling arises from the fact that A Dream Dreaming a Dream is a procedural animation developing in real time: the actions of the animal are not predetermined but develop as we watch the panther freely decide what to do or where to go.
Always similar and nonetheless always different, the panther’s dream is eventually interrupted, the forest collapses, and the dreaming panther wakes up. Confused, languid, and sleepy, the panther yawns and stretches, just to find herself again inside the same dreamlike scenario, which she begins to explore again, until waking up again and finding herself in the alternating cycle of dream and wakefulness, familiar but always new.

This work is a continuation of Phantom (Kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name) and builds on the artist’s ecological perception of the complex webs of interdependence that create reality. It is also inspired by the indigenous perceptions of the forest and of the entities that inhabit it, other than human, as divine characters: from animals, to rivers, to plants, to master spirits or xapiris.
The artificial intelligence that gives life to the panther is hosted in a cloud computing server, where she infinitely roams the forest, uninterruptedly, even if the work is not installed anywhere, or accessed by anyone.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s A Dream Dreaming a Dream, 2020, was commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary for st_age

This preview shows a video excerpt.


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