Dream illustration

Part 2 Social Dreaming #3: Tuesday 24th January: Wellcome Collection Reading Room

Facilitation and write up: Eliat Aram and Matthew Gieve

The third Social Dreaming event for 2017 had

17 dreamers, 12 of whom stayed until the end of the session
9 dreams were presented
45 associations were made

The Matrix

9 Dreams told a story of Tuesday the 24th of January as follows:

Themes of both constriction and of being uncertain and overwhelmed emerged in the dreams: a newly bought two bedroom flat with no windows and no door: a feeling of being trapped. Once escaped the dreamer sought her brother in the housing development where they both lived, walking passed the open doors of the other flats, the cacophony of others’ lives spilling out and intoxicating her. On finding her brother he is aggressive and violent and reaches for a hammer to attack her, waking the dreamer from her sleep. The description of the cacophony from the open doors lead to thoughts of every blurring boundary between personal and public in the internet age.

Later a dream of a stiletto that at first wouldn’t fit despite the dreamers great desire for it to do so, and then once on, the realisation that the ceiling had begun to lower on the dreamers head. This dreamed spawned many association: to Cinderella and Alice in wonderland, to the Women’s March the weekend before, of the cost of femininity; to the glass ceiling that Hilary Clinton would have symbolically broken had she won the presidential contest. The glass slipper and glass ceiling?

Other dreams seems to reflect the opposite fear – that of too great an uncertainly, of too rapid a change – speaking to the simultaneous fear of loss of freedom and of perhaps too much freedom. A forest being razed to the ground by an earthquake, people shouting “Avalanche”, mature trees being uprooted and rolling down the hill, to form orderly piles of timber and fuel. This drew associations to the shifting political and ecological landscape but also more innocent thoughts of children rolling playfully down the hill.

Another dream conjured the image of two colleagues making the dreamer laugh with a performance of some kind – described as “magicians” and as interchangeable or hard to distinguish from one another – this attracted many associations and questions to do with magical thinking, what if we could just make things like we wanted them, what if the supreme court decision of that morning could reverse the referendum result. The image of the interchangeable magicians would later resurface along with the stiletto wearer’s conundrum to beg the questions what is the cost of difference and the cost of sameness – if we are all interchangeable then is everything banal?

The session ended with a flurry of dreams just remembered, two of driving and feeling out of control or being unable to make a car start and then a vivid dream by a dreamer who joined mid-way through the matrix of being in Lucien Freud’s house and finding the art he on his walls to be surprisingly and maybe disappointingly banal – a series of Hopperian pictures of alienated men.


The matrix ended with a connection between randomness and intention, how a series of coincidences led a man to attending the matrix. One member spoke of how they had enjoyed the periods of quiet in the matrix and said that this had given them room to think. Others said they had experienced the silence as more nerve-wracking.

Next Social Dreaming Matrix #4 will be held on Tuesday 7th February 3-4.15pm in the Wellcome Collection Reading Room.


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Events and engagement, Reflections and Practice