Nelly Matorina

Artist & Scientist


I am a video and installation artist and sleep scientist currently based between Riga and Shanghai. I’m formally trained in Psychology with a specialization in sleep and memory. You can see the preprint of the research I worked on during my Master’s here.

In 2017-2019 I completed a body of artwork, Concerning Features, that included four shows: after-sleep (Unit 115 Gallery), Don’t Forget to Call (Union Gallery), Don’t Forget to Call (SAW Video), and the forthcoming Concerning Features (Modern Fuel). These works explored long-distance family relationships, multi-generational migration and exchange, passing on languages, and feelings of cultural disconnect. In this series of works I drew upon my experience growing up in Latvia, Canada, the US, Denmark, and the UK, as well as my family’s Tatarian and Russian background.

My current work explores two visions for the future:

Around 20% of the world suffers from sleep problems. Being well-rested can help improve concentration, memory, attention, as well as physical health. Furthermore, a recent study by Kantermann (2019) shows that sleeping 5 or fewer hours per week was associated with a variety of health issues, including increased weight gain, insulin sensitivity, and metabolism changes. My goal is to build tools to improve people’s sleep health and communicate the research in an accessible way. I am currently developing a chatbot that communicate information about sleep, dreaming, and sleep disorders and make specific recommendations for users to improve their sleep.

The second is that sleep, dreaming, and other changes in consciousness can be transformative experiences. A small study from 2017 found that virtual out-of-body experiences reduces fear of death. I am currently developing an interactive exhibition, Hypnokinesis, that allows visitors the opportunity to modulate their sleep in various ways that have been supported by research studies.