Social Dreaming Matrix #3: Thursday 7th July: Wellcome Collection Reading Room
12 dreams were presented
23 plus associations made
23 people were present in total. People joined late and left early and at the end there were 15 people remaining, including the facilitators of the matrix
The dreams came solidly, reliably, for the first fifteen or so minutes, maybe more. One followed another and then another. We heard seven before associations were made and then they slowed. Not all can be told. The first dreams told stories of near death and birth: a suicide attempt of a friend that was foiled, the eyes were open, the person breathing. Another – a child on the edge of the curb, fell over, but was missed by the approaching coach. The marks only bicycle mark sized, not coach sized. Why? Another, the labour that was finished but where was the baby? ‘I knew it was finished, I knew there was more to come.’ And the dream of the new baby who was not fed ‘because I, the mother, did not know to, forgot to, and the baby died, and the body of the baby shredded’ (how did I tell that? asked the dreamer).
The matrix moves to associating with this political period – post referendum, after the result, the anxiety moves to calm – well, not calm, but maybe not as bad as we thought. Movement in the dreams – life goes on, strangely, we walk in the streets, we go to work. The order of the streets: is this survival or stagnation? We survive a near death, the leaders have abandoned us. And one who has not, yet. There is more to come.
And then, we remind ourselves of the dream with the fox in the tunnel, ‘I am the fox,’ (are we the fox?) the walls of brown clay, the maze, the Cheshire Cat grinning at us mockingly from the wall. And the dead baby, who was not fed. The dreams of violence, guns and murder – ‘I knew I was going to die. I died in my dream.’ Are we in despair? Are we stuck? Are we falling apart?
Taking care – more dreams and thoughts of this. Swearing at Nigel Farage in person, is this a step too far – do we need to take responsibility, for fear of what we unleash, on social media, in ourselves? Sometimes, we heard, watch the dream in the moment, because it is interesting. We have responsibility, but aren’t sure of our options and our choices.
And then movement and colour: the carefully told dream of the cylinder, which formed and re-shaped and grew and chased ‘I was running into this white space, with no sound. I didn’t always know which way up I was.’ The cylinder and the space and the running were so important. So carefully repeated. Maybe we think, we move, but without a point of reference any more, no colour to help us. We yearn for the world of the sepia dreams, nostalgia for the past, the world before 23rd June, when life was clearer. But then we are reminded, the soaring African blue skies, and the bright green of finely mown grass. The surprise of rising above the grass, the power of it. Zimbabwe, itself no stranger to violence, brings the colour and the glory, but with this thought, the red fox and the brown clay walls re-enter. When we associate we despair, become hopeful, return to despair.
Our associations turned to what was bubbling on the ground and underground. Again, reality, unreality: the disconnect between what is going on above (government) with the dirt on the streets, (the people) Brazil and elsewhere, as in the UK. ‘I am glad for the order here, despite everything, for I can have a job, and live my life.’ But underground – the ghostbuster ectoplasm provides the link with the spectres of events and the present. 9/11 is now a story for some people. And 7/7 is today – ‘our bomb’ and only surfaced by one. There is much that remains underground.
This is the first Social Dreaming Matrix to take place in the evening. To some it was experienced as slow, tentative, difficult, while others enjoyed the pace, which ebbed and flowed as associations revealed connections between individuals, their dreams and their attempts to make sense. ‘Is this it?’ asked a woman, twice. ‘Dreams and associations, for an hour? Is this it? I don’t see my dreams’ before she politely gathered her belongings and left. And so do others, after their moments of connection, they leave. Then, beyond despair, the stuckness, the coming apart, comes the wonder of multiple disconnected realities which are brought together in this space and a powerful momentary connection which is made between strangers, in a hopeful space, through dreaming. ‘It was amazing.’
Next Social Dreaming Matrix #4 will be held on Thursday 14th July 7-8.15pm in the Wellcome Collection Reading Room.