social dreaming

Social Dreaming Matrix #4: Thursday 14th July: Wellcome Collection Reading Room

Facilitation and write up Matt Gieve and Pauline Meyer.

17 dreams presented

30 Associations made

Over 30 people were present for some of the matrix with around 25 staying for the full duration including the facilitators.

The matrix

After an initial pause, four dreams were presented in quick succession each linking to the last.  The first dreamer dreamt of her feet painlessly sprouting plants, the second of feet covered in faeces, unable to be cleaned, the third dreamer was putting his feet to use, walking on a hay bale road that led north to Scotland, (“maybe it’s a good time to go?”), the fourth walked as well but in marshland, aimless and disorientated, stumbling eventually upon Mayan ruins and through the jungle behind the tip of Canary Wharf. Perhaps nature is taking its revenge.

The flow of dreams turns towards the visceral and injurious and of dreams that carried a feeling into waking life.  An armed attack in a train station, the dreamer takes cover behind the ticket barrier but suffers a gunshot to the back of the head, in another dream there is an attack by a vampiric squirrel both dreamers wake up in pain. This would later chime with a dream of being pricked in the arm by the spike of a miniature unicorn. There is a long and detailed dream presented where a dreamer witnesses her car in a crash and pulls herself from the wreckage, before having a bilingual conversation with herself. Will the injured self ever recover? What will her future hold if not?

A member speaks of her fear of deep water before presenting a dream about battling with a whale that brings her up to the surface to breathe but then drags her back down. On board a boat a man finds himself in a cabin looking for his friend, his sister appears and when asked where his friend has gone, she tells him that she has already disembarked “I woke with a strong sense of loss”. A woman tells of attending a film festival in her dream at which her film has been nominated.  She watches all the contenders and wakes up happy to think she has in fact dreamt all five films herself.

Associations are of the unexpected and of usual practices leading to unusual results, taking cover no longer protects one being shot, and usually timid animals have become bold and vicious. How can we be confident in our predictions when the future feels so uncertain? A day dream leading to a lucrative bet begs the question of magic and leads to a discussion of the magical thinking at work in our current politics. One association is of Sunderland “shooting itself in the foot”, voting to leave when so reliant on EU subsidy and trade with Europe. One participant suggest that economics itself is magical thinking – “the pound dropped because people had a bad feeling”.

The final set of dreams considered the possibility of coupling and of pregnancy.  A woman recounted a dream of lying on a rock by the sea besides a colleague who she very much wanted to “do a partnership with” however he was less keen but reassured her “it is ok, I am still here, even though we cannot make a partnership, I am still here”.  Another dreamer recalled a dream from when she had been pregnant, in the dream her husband wanted a daughter, but she reproached him saying that he must love the child no matter what it is, before promptly giving birth to a half human half cat baby. This theme of giving birth to the unexpected was matched in one of the final dreams where a daughter visits her mother in hospital expecting her to give birth to a younger sister only to find she has given to birth to two Chinese boys who are running around in the hospital grounds.

Review

A number of participant spoke about how they were surprised and impressed at the way people could come together with only a little guidance and create coherent group.  One spoke of the quality of the group’s attentiveness, how they listened.

One member remarked that normally you are told not to share dreams, which like drug stories tend to be inaccessible to the listener and more wrapped up with the teller, but with the matrix the hope is that you listen with a different ear and with a broader purpose.

A member of the matrix described dreams as gifts, and said she had found it reassuring listening to other people’s dreams, another concurred saying it was reassuring to hear that others thought like he did.

The final speaker spoke of the “dream weaving” and said she felt that the group had been weaving dreams together.

Next Social Dreaming Matrix #5 will be held on Tuesday 19th July 3.00 – 4.15pm in the Wellcome Collection Reading Room.

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Events and engagement, Reflections and Practice