#16 Social Dreaming Matrix and Review during the Covid-19 pandemic. Notes from 25th June

#16 Social Dreaming Matrix and Review during the Covid-19 pandemic. Notes from 25th June


30 June 2020

16th and final session of the series.
This session was different to the previous ones as it included a 30-minute review of the whole series along with the dreaming matrix and review.
7 dreams – 26 associations
51 participants (incl 3 staff)

Themes from the dream matrix and review 

There were themes to do with prisons – of visitors caught up in violence, of guards and prisoners, of lead bars, and also of shoes, lost and found, in transitional places, and of T.I. Bricks   (a reference to the shoe retailer T.K. Max or the Tavistock Institute?) – bricks for building or rubble to be thrown.

Themes from the review of the whole series

Some people had difficulty getting in – early sessions were full, and then, once in, they kept coming. New participants were still coming towards the end, two new people in the last session.   We say the matrix is in the context of the pandemic. But it was asked, in 20 years, will these dreams be seen as about the pandemic? What are the threads that link the dreams and the associations?

The online matrix was seen as a space like no other; or as ‘the usual suspects’;  some familiar faces and also a meeting of strangers; some fears that this was yet more evidence of a surveillance society, even our dreams now available for scrutiny.

There was gratitude, and thank you comments in the ‘chat’ and, thinking ahead, ‘there is appetite’.


D1: I was invited to prison to meet the management. I was kept waiting.  When they arrived, the management didn’t introduce themselves and carried on talking. After a while they left and then I thought it was time to leave. I didn’t remember where I had left my shoes. There were racks of shoes full boots and shoes.  I pulled them out and put on a boot that wasn’t mine, but I couldn’t find the other one. More people arrived and I asked them to help me.

D2: I was in my house near one of the gates of Rome. I was in a room talking what some Italian politicians, Romano Prodi and another but I don’t remember his name.  we were talking on a TV screen on the wall about China – at a point someone behind them shot and killed them

D3: I was walking with some people. I knew I was about to leave. I wanted to say goodbye but was not saying it. So, I kept walking but did not look anyone in the face. I was on my way to a wonderful sneaker store called T.I. Bricks but I didn’t know where I was going. I went into a bar and asked the bar tender.  She looked like me at age 30. She was smoking and I wanted to smoke. Bars to hit people.  I made it to the sneaker store and there was a younger girl who I invited to come in with me.  She said no and instead looked in this big vat of ugly sneakers that were 30 dollars a pair.

A1: In the management at the prison dream there was something hopeful at the end of the dream, to still ask for help, because the management of the country at the moment: how far apart should we be from one another. I don’t know how to negotiate prison.

A2:  I wanted to take my shoes off to walk on holy ground, but I am afraid there will be people with bars to stop us.

A3: to an early matrix where roaming barefoot played out a lot

A4: The name of sneaker shop T.I. Bricks makes me think of Tavistock Institute Bricks that could build or be rubble.

A5: or bricks that could be thrown.

A6: bare feet. Going back to the image of the beach that has been present in the matrices. Walking on the beach with bare feet – freedom

D4: Dream about prison: I was an older woman visiting a prison. The guard was showing me to the exit, but we had to go through a cell with bars. As I went through the prisoner in the cell got me in a headlock and the guard didn’t come to my assistance.  The guards were in cahoots and I became the prisoner. I broke free and went through a Perspex door and big wooden door. I was apprehended but I bent back someone’s finger and dug my nail in to their hand to escape. I was running and I was terrified.

A7: living in japan. Racks of shoes on a transitional space outside temples

A8: during the telling of the first dream I felt fear of the possibility to have someone else’s shoes or to be in their shoes.  Shoes in the prison and the sneaker store.

A9: empathy by being able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes

A10: 2 associations.  One is to the song “walk a mile in my shoes”. Two, the feeling of shame I felt with hearing about the rack of shoes and taking the wrong shoes. I wore my shoes inside and I was a dirty person.

D5: snapshot of a dream: Seeing someone with smallpox and people being horrified and not understanding what it was and the horror of other people.

A11: Putting a nail into someone’s hand made me think of Jesus on the cross

A12: The Stanford prison experiments. Who is the guard and who is the prisoner and the roles that come with it?

A13: feeling of fear of some much violence around and a feeling of confusion as I don’t know what shoe to put on.

A14: An old story from my grandpa from the war. He was in prison in Russia and he never took his shoes off because they would be stolen.

A15: In the second dream the dreamer said they were in the train station and then the remote killing, I thought of “killing the messenger” attacking the messenger.”

A16: Clarify the shoe dream

D6: At home, getting ready for an event and putting on a white bra but the straps are broken. I’m asking someone to help but I realise I shouldn’t’ be wearing the white bra with my black patterned pantsuit. Next, I am walking in my neighbourhood looking for my friend’s house which I should know where it is. I have an old flip phone and I need to go to the store to have it fixed but the stores are all shut.  I hear music in the background and realise it’s a live band. it sounds nice and I realise I miss it

A17: wearing black and white and Stanford prison experiments make he think of the discussion with my family about systemic racism and we’ve talked about the prison experiments and about how we hold roles

D7: I dreamt I was visiting an ex-boyfriend of maybe tens years ago. He looked like he did then not now. There was a party with a lot of drinking and recreational drug taking. It looked like we were going to go to the bedroom together but he wouldn’t take off his wetsuit… Then Balsanaro was talking about a kidnap that he had perpetrated and people were wondering whether he would get in trouble for it.

A18: Boys and girls go on dates, shoes have a left and right, its hard to have black without white.

A19: The old flip phone is maybe 15 years old but its old. Our tech becomes so old so quickly there is a connection to an oral form of communication, but our mechanisms are old.

A20: Prisons: I see all the computer screen and I see names and photos but there is one that says the Tavistock Institute. It looks like an eye hole. It doesn’t have a name. It is institutionalised.  I have fear of something like a guard outside the door.

A21: flip phone – thinking of flipping my lid meaning boiling to anger.

A22: flipping the bird is rude hand gesture.

A23: When I flip my smart phone it goes silent and no one can get through.

A24: Dualities: black and white, left and right. Two rigid options open to us in the bureaucracy that tried to fit varieties of human beings into these tight categories.  I am finding that quite oppressive I am haunted by idea of right and wrong and judgement in my life at the moment.

A25: Two associations. Prisons shoes, entry to a temple. I relate this to the experience of a lockdown and the strange irony sometimes it feels like a prison and sometimes it feels like a temple.  The fear of the devil and angel in me.

A26: I have forgotten maybe it will come back.

End of Matrix

Blog compiled by Matt Gieve and Tim Dartington. Co-hosted with Martha Mens

Image: Responsibility by Juliet Scott, 2019

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