Doreen Chan “HalfDream: Another Room” Exhibition Overview

The Mattress Factory is pleased to announce HalfDream: Another Room, a new solo exhibition by Hong Kong and US-based artist Doreen Chan. This new site-specific installation engages Chan’s on-going participatory art project, HalfDream, in which users around the world can describe their dreams, adding them to a database which matches common dreams of participants and connects “dreammates.” The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, December 3, 2022, with an opening reception and conversation with the artist on Friday December 2 at 6pm. HalfDream: Another Room will be on view in the Museum’s Main Building through the fall of 2023. 

HalfDream connects people based on their dreams as an alternative to the typical ways in which society would group and identify people. In 2020, political polarization reinforced social divisions in both Hong Kong and the US. Close relations ceased to communicate because of differing political views – it was as if they had lost their common language. During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing magnified this split and made connecting even more difficult. As an artist and arts educator in a time when people all over the world were facing similar but differing turbulences, Chan saw dreams as a medium to connect people. She believes dreams can be a subconscious connection between people in their waking lives. HalfDream explores the emotions and events shared between dreamers, seeking to form an intricate and meaningful web. 

Throughout 2022, Chan and the Mattress Factory held open calls for submissions of dreams from Pittsburgh locals via HalfDream’s website ( From these submissions, Chan has transformed a selection of them into artworks, becoming integrated into the installation itself.  

As part of this process-based exploration and as a way to consider how our subconscious relates to our waking life, Chan has connected with a number of community partners. In the spring of 2022, the Mattress Factory held open calls for locals to teach Chan how to be a Pittsburgher, offering her a slice of daily life from different “tutors”. These tutors also shared their dreams with Chan, which in turn connected to the work generated. Chan has also collaborated with VaultArt Studio in Garfield to create textiles featuring drawings of dream scenes by participating artists. These collaborative items will be available for sale at the Mattress Factory and VaultArt Studio in December. More recently, Chan hosted a performance class from Penn State Beaver to explore the student’s dreams by transforming them into a series of body movements within her exhibition space.  

During the run of the exhibition Chan will return to Pittsburgh and invite some local dreamers to revisit their submissions and create artworks based on their dreams with her in the gallery. To participate, share your dreams on 

Doreen Chan (Hong Kong, b.1987) has received training in visual communication and photography. She graduated with an MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2021. Primarily a lens-based and site-specific artist, Chan’s ongoing work is realized both online and offline. In her current participatory art project, HalfDream, she blends her deep desire of connecting people and the progressive development of her artistic practices with the focus on the investigation of personal perception, materiality, and daily details that are often overlooked. Key elements in Chan’s work include interpersonal relationships, personal memories, and fragmentary moments of daily life in the city. Chan was listed as a finalist in the Art Sanya Huayu Youth Award in 2019, and the 4th VH Award. She was named a Cultured Magazine Young Artist in 2021 and received the Pritzker Fellowship in 2019.