• Olly Jordan

Chapter 45 - Once Upon a Dream - Dreaming - Uni 3rd Year 2017/18


‘What Are Dreams? Dreams are basically stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. Dreams can be vivid. They can make you feel happy, sad, or scared. And they may seem confusing or perfectly rational. Dreams can occur anytime during sleep. But most vivid dreams occur during deep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, when the brain is most active. Some experts say we dream at least four to six times per night. Why Do We Dream? There are many theories about why we dream, but no one knows for sure. Some researchers say dreams have no purpose or meaning and are nonsensical activities of the sleeping brain. Others say dreams are necessary for mental, emotional, and physical health. Studies have shown the importance of dreams to our health and well-being. In one study, researchers woke subjects just as they were drifting off into REM sleep. They found that those who were not allowed to dream experienced: Increased tension Anxiety Depression Difficulty concentrating Lack of coordination Weight gain Tendency to hallucinate Many experts say that dreams exist to: Help solve problems in our lives Incorporate memories Process emotions If you go to bed with a troubling thought, you may wake with a solution, or at least feel better about the situation. Sigmund Freud believed dreams are a window into our subconscious. He believed they reveal a person's: Unconscious desires Thoughts Motivations Freud thought dreams were a way for people to satisfy urges and desires that were unacceptable to society. Perhaps there is merit with all these theories. Some dreams may help our brains process our thoughts and the events of the day. Others may just be the result of normal brain activity and mean very little, if anything. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly why we dream. What Do Dreams Mean? Just as there are varying opinions as to why we dream, there are also different views as to what dreams mean. Some experts say dreams have no connection to our real emotions or thoughts. They are just strange stories that don't relate to normal life. Others say our dreams may reflect our own underlying thoughts and feelings -- our deepest desires, fears, and concerns, especially recurring dreams. By interpreting our dreams, we may be able to gain insight into our lives and ourselves. Many people say they have come up with their best ideas while dreaming, so dreams may be a conduit of creativity. Often people report having similar dreams -- they are being chased, fall off a cliff, or appear in public naked. These types of dreams are likely caused by a hidden stress or anxiety. While the dreams may be similar, experts say the meaning behind the dream is unique to each person. Therefore, many experts say not to rely on books or "dream dictionaries," which give a specific meaning for a specific dream image or symbol. The particular reason behind your dream is unique to you. Although scientists can't say for sure what dreams mean and why we dream, many people find meaning in their dreams. Why Do Nightmares Occur? Nightmares, or bad dreams, are common in children and adults. Often nightmares are caused by: Stress, conflict, and fear Trauma Emotional problems Medication or drug use Illness If you have a recurring nightmare, your subconscious may be trying to tell you something. Listen to it. If you can't figure out why you are having bad dreams, and you continue to have them, talk to a qualified mental healthcare provider. They may be able to help you figure out what is causing your nightmares and provide tips to put you at ease. Keep in mind that no matter how scary a nightmare is, it is not real and most likely will not happen to you in real life. What Are Lucid Dreams? Have you ever had a dream where you knew you were dreaming during your dream? This is called a lucid dream. Research has shown that lucid dreaming is accompanied by an increased activation of parts of the brain that are normally suppressed during sleep. Lucid dreaming represents a brain state between REM sleep and being awake. Some people who are lucid dreamers are able to influence the direction of their dream, changing the story so to speak. While this may be a good tactic to take, especially during a nightmare, many dream experts say it is better to let your dreams occur naturally. Why Are Dreams Hard to Remember? Researchers don't know for sure why dreams are easily forgotten. Maybe we are designed to forget our dreams because if we remembered all our dreams, we might not be able to distinguish dreams from real memories. Also, it may be harder to remember dreams because during REM sleep our body may shut down systems in our brain responsible for creating memories. We may only remember dreams that occur just before we wake, when certain brain activities have been turned back on. Some say our minds don't actually forget dreams, we just don't know how to access them. Dreams may be stored in our memory, waiting to be recalled. This notion may explain why you may suddenly remember a dream later in the day -- something may have happened to trigger the memory.’ https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/dreaming-overview#1 Applying this kind of logic to Aurora, although yes she is a fictional character under a sleeping curse, it helps to humanise and flesh her out not just for me as an illustrator, but for the readers too. By being able to understand dreams and how people view them will help me to understand what messages will come across when I illustrate a book based on the theme of a dream. Aurora is essentially in a lucid dream, later in the book when she begins to understand and train her ‘magic’, she is able to make things appear before her. The first instance of this where she intentionally wishes for something and it appears, is a bowl of porridge. I would like to create some objects of significance to the story that will be involved in Aurora’s portrait somehow, but I am unsure as to whether that would convey the idea of being in a dream or just come across as looking abstract. ‘Dreams have long proved a fertile ground for human creativity and expression, and no less so than in the visual arts, giving rise to some of its most arresting images. In addition to the many and varied dreams so important to religion and myth there has emerged, in the last few centuries since the birth of Romanticism, an exploration of the more personal dream-world. Indeed, with its link to the unconscious, the form has perhaps proved the perfect vehicle for those artists looking to surface that which lies submerged – desire, guilt, fear, ambition – to bring to light the truth the waking mind keeps hid. No doubt, also, artists have been attracted to the challenge of giving form to something so visually intangible as a dream, a challenge taken up in many ways through the centuries. More often than not there appears the sleeping body itself, with the dream element incorporated in a variety of ways. Common is for the dream sequence to appear in a totally separate part of the image, as if projected on the walls of the sleeping mind: often in the midst of that familiar floating cloud, but also as emerging from nearby objects or events of the day (see the Toyokuni image below) . Also common, particularly in the depiction of nightmares, is for the figures of the dream to simply appear as though in the room with the sleeper, often directly upon the body itself (see the Fuseli below). With the advent of photography, and the potential of double exposures, we see also a different way of trying to capture that intangibility of the dream image. With both the Grandville and Redon images featured, and the work of the Surrealists they anticipate, we see a different approach entirely, one which looks past the sleeper to focus solely on the imagery of the dream itself, and in the process perhaps giving a more true impression of the strangeness and otherworldliness which so often characterises the dream experience.’ https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-art-of-dreams/

'The Jockey's Dream'

This artwork illustrates a dream in a way that is still quite commonly used today, within a cloud. This man and his horse are dreaming of more exciting times where he is winning a race. This kind of illustration where a cloud is used is most commonly associated with dreams nowadays I would say, so that maybe something to bare in mind when incorporating other objects into my portrait.

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