Monday, April 04, 2011

Dream Blog Wakes Up

Two years ago I set out to unravel a month's worth of dreams, one per day, each dreamt by a different dreamer—31 Dreamers, to be exact.

Then I stopped. I stopped the unraveling and the blogging, largely because I'd stopped dreaming. All your dreams had supplanted mine.

Then, just now, someone sent me a dream, and so I've decided to shake the 31 Dreamer's awake. Why not? Let's find out...

This one comes from Jakey of New Jersey. Let see what Jakey's up to in Dreamland:

I had a dream this morning that involved late 1880's French aristocrats singing about how the rifle was the best invention ever, but the worst part of the dream involved walking by a farmers market on the Baltimore ave side of Clark Park, stopping to look at some beautiful dark green dinosaur kale and noticing that the woman had a skunk on the table. "A skunk!" I said, "May I pet it? It's fur looks so soft."

"That's not even the best part," she replied and proceeded to take a knife and slit it's skin from crotch to sternum and peel it's skin off to reveal a wet looking layer of dark brown fur with no stripe underneath. "Usually you can find skunk onions under here," she said, running her fingers through the damp fur and coming across a light beige circle that she gently worked out of the fur and revealed to be a mushroom. "Or mushrooms—they have a wonderful flavor when they grow in the needle fur." Needle fur was apparently the name of the underlayer.

She flipped the skunk over and commenced running her fingers through the fur on it's belly, looking for more vegetables. I was marvelling at how things can grow between layers of skin on a skunk as if they were in dirt when the skunk squirmed a little and made an unhappy noise. I was horrified. "It's not dead!" I exclaimed.

"No, I just knocked it out." she replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

"You just skinned a live animal!" I protested, loudly.

"No, it's fine, it can't feel it." she soothed.

"Yes! It can!" My horror grew with every second. "You have to put it out of it's misery! You skinned it!" I was still arguing with her when I woke up and I can't get the thought of that poor tortured skunk out of my mind.

What does it mean?!

Ah...springtime! An epoch of awakenings when we're treated to the return of birds chirping in the treetops and children laughing around the playground. 'Tis the season for planting seeds in the garden for a new crop of vegetables, and for waving hello to our favorite furry friends, freshly arisen from their slumbersome hibernations, prancing and scurrying about while wagging their tails at last after a long winter's nap. And let's not forget those tantalizing springtime smells—aromas banished to dormancy under a blanket of frost for some months, now waft on open air! Fragrant flowers and foodstuffs scatter their scents asunder, as do piles and heaps of dung and rubbish, festering and rotting in the warm, golden sun.

Now Jakey, I'm not too sure what your wakey life has been doing these past two years. We all know "skunk" as a noun, bringing to mind those plucky li'l mammals in all their distinctive don't-fuck-with-me nonchalance; their powerful perfume best smelled from a moving vehicle with roll-uppable windows; and of course the cartoonishly French (!) loverboy accent of Pepe Le Pew—no? As a verb, "skunk" is a cribbage term that's bled over into other card and board games, meaning one player kicked the other's arse by well over umpteen points, which, for the loser, is not unlike being skinned alive. And yeah, as an adjective, "skunk" means a cabbage you may or may not want to smoke and a weed you may or may not want to eat. Oh wait, I got that backwards. Whatever—on with the blog.

Jakey, you haven't been reading Derrick Jensen, have you? He's got this bit in his book A Language Older Than Words where he critiques the philosopher René Descartes (who happens to be—you guessed it—aristocratic and French!) for denying that animals are capable of suffering, simply because they are incapable of speaking or communicating on any recognizable human level. We've learned a lot about this since Descartes' day of circa 1645. Since then we humans have hepped bonobos on talkin' good English, done ASL with gorillas, and figured out how groundhogs alert each other as to what color shirt I've got on. Together we've come so far, and it is so good.

Linguistics aside, the Descartes/Jensen divide is one of ethics: how we treat other creatures defines how we treat our planet, our fellow humans, and yeah, ourselves. Is your little trip down Dream Street to the farmstand pointing at dietary/ethical choices in your awake life? And, by extension, do you query about the process by which said vittles arrive at mouth from merchant, from truck or trains or ocean trawler? And are them eats from farm or factory or some hybrid of the both? And what exactly went on in there—there, where your food sprung up from? Jakey, what are you eating and how did it get to you? Are you connected to that process and do you even want to be?

Perhaps your tale of gross skunk onion woe asks all of the above. Or perhaps it just beckons you to come on down to the farmers market on a nice spring day. There, a lady proffers up a mushroom, freshly picked from the dungheap. You examine it closely, and yes there's something (as many pronounce this next word) fur-miliar to you here. You can freak out and be overwhelmed by all circumstances that bring you and mushroom together in this moment. Or you can take a deep breath and then sigh the words, "It was only a dream."

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Waking Dream of Greater Vision

Last January I stopped dreaming.

Largely because I was so taken by the dreams of others.

So I gave up my job as a dream-reader. And now I'm on a mission to make you make yourself see better.

(If you like.)

For the past decade I've been studying and using techniques for improving the vision—the interface between the eyes and the brain that makes up our sense of sight and portions of our other senses as well.

I'm posting an "eye exercise" each day for this month, just as I did with your dreams last year. Come February these will be compiled into a publication, available at the 6th Annual Fun-A-Day exhibition in Philadelphia.

Click here to check your eyes into a new blog that hopes to multiply your vision 15-fold.

Friday, March 13, 2009

31 Dreamers: Live in Vermont

Yo Dreamers. While the blog takes a nap the dreams run rampant in the frozen wilds of the northeast. The 31 Dreams that saw the limelight of gallery life at Fun-A-Day 5 in Philly went at it again in a week-long residency at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. The connection: the dreams of Maggie, Trish, Jules and Bronwyn are the dreams of Goddard students and alums. Lindsay's dream was also featured as part of a public reading and received a whopping 9.6 on the laugh-o-meter. Thanks again to all 31 Dreamers for your participation.

Now, please send in your dreams for the next round of 31 Dreamers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

31 Dreamers at Fun-A-Day

Philadelphia's 5th annual Fun-A-Day show happened at Studio 34 in Philadelphia on February 14th, 2009 and lemme tell you, that jawn was PACKED! I rolled in around 8:00 p.m. and there were literally hundreds of people looking at everything. With over 70 contributing artists who'd made or documented one thing per day for 31 days, there were over 2,100 things to look at. 31 of those things were your dreams.

Transferring your dreams from the web and into a onto paper, I realized how long some of them were and that the interpretations were even longer. I ended up abridging most of them and printing them out on cards, which were folded in half and placed on a table for people to peruse. Here's Jason with his "Lazy Laaaazzzzz" dream, a personal favorite of mine. 

There were a lot of inquiries about whether or not 31 Dreamers would continue, and I told people, "As long as people interact act with the blog, the blog will interact back." That's a hint folks: leave your comments and send in your dreams! Maybe we're taking a little time off, but we can jump back into it with a little more 2-way traffic. Deal? Deal.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Dream of the Drop

Like the available flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins, 31 Dreamers began as a project to collect a dream a day from 31 different people around the world. 31 Dreamers had a time limit: the month of January 2009, and that time has expired. Your beloved dream-reader (that's me) is moving on to pen fables, carve blockprints, and tour with theatrical performances and workshops. Leave a comment here if you want info on any of this stuff, or if you want me to keep interpreting dreams. I cater to mob rule here.

It's time now for a re-cap of people's favorite dreams:

Top Readers' Picks

I agree, these were all great dreams, yet it's no surprise that your typical Net-surfer would ogle dreams about Obama, Madonna, Naruto, and Japanese girls wearing blackface. The hankering for Russian broccoli is a total mystery to me. My personal picks are below.

My Favorite Dreams You Sent In:

1. Choco Taco Thwarts Identity Theft
2. 2-for-1 Special
. This Is The Grassroots Work I'm Gonna Do With You
4. The Oaten Exorcist
5. Giraffic Park

But really, they were all pretty great. What was your favorite dream? Your favorite interpretation?  Leave a comment below and tell the world.

Hope to see some of you at Fun-A-Day events around the globe in the coming month. Until then, keep dreaming. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Mad Crapper

Dream dreamt in New Hampshire on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee by a final, unknown dreamer a few years back. Animation created by Darren Blondin. Interpretation embedded in video. Accompanying book of the day: The Humanure Handbook

Thanks to all the dreamers out there for making this blog a success. If you're in Philly on February 8th, come to the Fun-A-Day show to see this and dozens of other amazing projects in the flesh. And keep sending in your dreams for the new weekly version of 31 DREAMERS!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Trepidatious Trainhopping

We're down to the last two Dreamers on our daily oneirocritical excursion. So many of you have asked if 31 Dreamers will continue and the answer is yes, Beginning in February we switch to a weekly format. We might have to do some sort of Baskin Robbins promotional tie-in to justify the number "31" in the blog's name.

If you haven't checked out some of the other online Fun-A-Day antics, now's your chance. Round two of shout-outs goes to Karen's delectible Pie-A-Day, Timothy's economical Fake Poloroid-A-Day, P.Shaw's visionary Comic-A-Day (pictured here), Emma's toe-tapping 12-Bar-Blues Song-A-Day, Dee's frenetic Self-Portrait-A-Day, and Cait's do-it-yourself Batch of Vegan Muffins-A-Day (with recipes!) Acomplete list of other Fun-A-Day links can be found in the sidebar on the left.

Choosing today's dream has been a challenge (tomorrow's has been picked out for weeks...) So many of you have sent some really fabulous dreams, many of which are on file and may crop up on the new weekly version of this blog. The penultimate of these first 31 Dreamers (really 33 Dreamers, but we'll deal with that later), is fellow Fun-A-Day-ista Molly McIntyre, who dreamt thisin Oakland, California:
My friend Andrea and I were waiting for a train. We were waiting for a really long time. When the train finally came, I didn't have my stuff together. I grabbed my wallet and ran to the train, but the rest of my bags were still on the sidewalk. Andrea was already on the train, and I was holding on to the outside, like in a movie. I yelled, "I can't do it, I need to get my stuff!" and jumped off. Andrea jumped off too. Then we realized that we could get a ride from some people we knew, so it was okay that we didn't get the train.

Then I was sitting on a couch with this boy that I dated for a minute last fall. He was cracking jokes about something. His sister came in and she was beautiful. I thought to myself, "Damn, this guy is pretty weird looking, but his sister's so pretty—I bet we would've had really beautiful children—I should've hung onto him!"
Molly, are you the sort of person that's prepare the night before you embark on a trip? Or do you tend to be a maestrom of frantically teying to pull things together and throw them in bags right before it's time to head out the door? Regardless of how it is when you're awake, you're not ready, or even really willing, to take this train in this dream. You've been planning this trip with your friend for so long, but where is it going to take you? Maybe someplace permanent, some commitment ofr situation that you're not sure you're ready for. And then you have your Slumdog Millionaire moment, only the jerkface brother doesn't let go of your hand because Andrea isn't the jerkface brother—she's your friend and will stick by you no matter what you decide, so instead of letting you go, she goes with you.

Deciding to travel by car instead of by train means that you opt for more flexibility, both in deciding where you're headed and how long it takes you to get there. You visit one possible past-future—a prior abandoned train ride with "this boy." You question your decision to jump off of his train, thinking, "I could've just done this, gone further down the track with him, maybe to the very end." You see his sister and kinda wish he was his own sister (or that his sister were him), maybe finding more comfort and camaraderie in the company of females and wishing that the men in you life could be a little bit more like the women in your life. This boy would have never jumped off that train like Andrea did. He would've said, "What the fuck? Just get on the train!" and probably would've ended up going on without you. 

Honestly Molly, my first thought when I finished reading your dream was, "Why not have children with the sister?" I'm casting all biological assumptions aside here, but anything is possible in dreams anyway . . .
––––– –– ––– –––––
. . . Speaking of anyway, for those of you who might go into withdrawal from not having at least one dream to gape at every 24 hours, there are lots of books to ogle out there. Today I actually took a gander at David Fontana's The Secret Language of Dreams and it's not too bad. But yes, it's no substitute for 31 Dreamers.

Papercuts at the top and bottom of this post by today's dreamer, 
Molly McIntyre. See more art and stop-action moies on her 
wonderful website. Or tell her how awesome she is here.