Social Matters and Dreaming Series
Hosts: Juliet Scott and Bongsu Park
15 participants and 3 staff on Zoom
Metaphors: danger; climate change; a sense of missing out/being too late; water/ocean; familiarity; tension between the real and the unreal; real/fake binary; the unknown; swimming pools; Frida Kahlo’s eyebrows; are we breathing freely or are we holding our breath; libidinal, bodily juices; difference, flexibility, difficulty; continuity; the liquid modernity and liquid ecologies.
Sense-making: The dreams discussed in this Social Dreaming Matrix all seemed to have a common denominator – a sense of doom and dread, of being afraid of the unknown. Just as the ocean can be calm and peaceful, it can also be dangerous and terrifying. We don’t know what’s there and we don’t know what’s ahead of us. The world we live in is different from the world we knew from only a couple of years ago. Being oversaturated with information, how are we supposed to know what’s real and what’s not? On the one hand, there was a sense that we are in danger: because of the climate crisis and technology taking over our lives. On the other hand, however, maybe something new is coming to life? The old world order has to die, so the new one can be born.
Dream 1: I am in my old house and there is a famous musician, who also happens to be a friend of mine. I am standing close to him, just beside the stage, and he is about to sing. Two friends ask me to come and sit with them – I don’t do that. I am on stage, and I feel uncomfortable. There is a sense of dread and misery all around, something seems really off. I am afraid that zombies might catch me. The doors close and I am unable to go back. I see my wife, much younger, she says that she cannot let me in – there are too many people there already: ‘If this is the moment, then let it be.’ I wake up.
Associations: horror movies, impending doom, symmetry, a sense of being too late (if I got there a minute ago, I would be in). Being too late – climate change (‘This is what it is so accept it. What are you going to do now?’).
Dream 2: This is a dream I had this morning. I was in a very artificial place, a peculiar place in London, where there used to be a wasteland. I had a feeling of dislocation – it almost felt like being in a demilitarised zone. In the dream, I’m thinking that I was in this place before, though the landscape has changed. There is a big tree which has been cut through, but no one is paying any attention to it. The tree does not look safe – it might fall. Where is everybody and what are they up to?
Associations: making stamps with an apple, Lego, current situation in the NHS – ambulances being too full. Memory being too full, chaotic world – not being able to process/organise information.
Dream 3: I dreamt that I saw a beautiful white palace on an island. It was submerged in water. When I was breathing in, the palace was rising up. When I was breathing out, the palace was disappearing – it got covered by water and everything went dark.
Dream 4: I dreamt that I was in the sea. The water was up to my knees – it should have been much deeper, but it wasn’t. There was an enormous white square, I didn’t know what it was (a building? A creature?), but it collapsed into the water.
Dream 5: A couple of nights ago, I had a dream that I was on a boat/bridge (they were combined). I was one of the many people transitioning from one place to another, with a very turbulent sea beneath. There were buildings all around. Suddenly, I became aware of a very young boy escaping from the group and falling through a mesh securing us from below. He was swept away, and no one could save him – we were completely powerless. I woke up immediately from that.
Dream 6: I was in a group of people; they were all university students. We lived in a shared house, 5-6 people together in one room. We all had white duvets and white pillows. I remember thinking: I was here before, but it’s not a real place. I knew I was dreaming, but I tried to remember whether I had this dream before. The road that was there was also connected to another road that doesn’t exist, but I remembered seeing them both before.
Associations: a pattern/tension between the familiar and the unknown, familiarity and unfamiliarity. What is real and what is not? There is too much information in this world. We don’t know what is real, what is fake, and therefore cannot speak up.
Dream 7: I was in a palace-like building. There were a lot of cables, printers, and electronics. I was there with a friend who is a programmer. We were leaving the building and we found a swimming pool. My friend entered the pool, and I was worried that he will get his clothes wet. He came out of the pool and his clothes were dry – they were waterproof.
Dream 8: I was outside, it was sunny and there was a beautiful, blue swimming pool. I wanted to get in the pool, but people said – be careful, you don’t know what’s in it. There were some small silver parts, small silver barrels. And then the dream stopped.
Associations: water/pool – a sense of danger.
Dream 9: I was fishing in my bathroom, in a bathtub filled with water. There was a human eating fish. I wanted to catch it, but I felt scared.
Associations (reflections after the session): how to live with the new situation, the new ecology, the new world? Frida Kahlo’s eyebrows – how eyebrows show spirit. Going swimming before lockdown and unable to do so now, missing that. Feeling uncomfortable swimming in the open water. What’s in it? Water/sea/ocean as scary. Robots and silver barrels – the fish in the bathtub was also robot-like, weird. Not-knowing the world in which we live now. Unknowingness. Linking not-knowing with the up and down breathing lungs. Are we breathing or are we holding our breath? Bathtub ducks, duck artwork traveling around the world (making people aware of the water pollution/ecological crisis). Water, air, and the libidinal, bodily juices – working with emotions, feeling thirsty and dried up afterwards. Ocean as calm and peaceful, but also rough and dangerous. Distinguishing between reality and the unreal. We are flexible and able to adopt. Maybe we should be optimistic? Maybe there is a new world on the way? A feeling that something new is approaching/something is being born.
NB If you would like to submit your private dream to a Dream Auction taking place on the 20th of November 2021, please get in touch with Bongsu Park by Thursday 11 November.