Collective Unconscious in Confinement

A series of six soundworks

COVID DREAMS: Collective Unconscious in Confinement

Soundworks ‧ 2020

Artist/Producer/Sound Mixer: Treasa O’Brien

Original Music: Irene Buckley

Final Mix: Paul Rowland

Dreamers: Njabulo Mnyandu, Brendan Egan, Diane O’Reilly, Emma Fleming, Tara Robinson, Derval McDonagh.

Recommended way to experience the soundworks:  Set up a decent speaker, turn it up, lie down, close your eyes, listen.

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Our dreams happen in the home of our unconscious – the messy unmade beds within our psyches.  We share similar fears, anxieties and desires that we are not always conscious of.  Our unconscious lives, try to deal with and express these emotions.  In ‘lockdown’, people are recalling their dreams more often and more vividly.  This may be due to having more time to sleep, more full REM cycles, more reflective time to remember the dreams, or to having more unconscious feelings that need processing and expression.

How does the collective situation of the pandemic and the accompanying state and police measures affect our unconscious minds?  What might be happening in the collective psyche in crisis, that is not iterated in the conscious thoughts and conversations we have? As governments around the world introduce measures to police social behaviour, how are we internalising the cops in our own heads?

Dreams are messy, tentacular nonlinear beings. We may awaken, haunted by the images and feelings we have experienced, but, if we don’t write it or tell it, it evaporates.  The narratives become containers to hold the dreams that so easily slip away. The dreamers whose voices we hear in these sound pieces are sculptors who grasp, shape and push multidimensional images and psychological feelings into a textual narrative form.  They try to pour the dream into a linear story, but it spills out, and some of it never gets in.  As the mind tries to recall the dream, and contain it within a story, we fabulate, and become creative in our effort to hold on, to contain the ephemeral.

The process of making these soundworks use the situation of lockdown; each collaborator contributes from physical isolation but the communication is carried by the vector of the acousmatic voice. The dreamers send me their dreams by voice message. I listen closely to these voices and the mood they carry. I edit, match, loop and mix them with the dreamy compositions of Irene Buckley’s music.  They become an intimate connection, crossing over from our isolation, and including you, dear listener.

There is an intimacy involved in listening to the dreamers speak their dreams. The voice is the container and carrier of the dream.  I have resisted visual representation for this series, to allow the affective sound of the voices, and their emotional inflection, with the music, to work on the listener.  By closing your eyes and listening, you may encounter an other’s psyche, and create your own dream visuals, consciously and unconsciously.

We come together in the encounter with the dreamer and the dream.  Dreaming together, could your dream become part of my unconsciousness?   Is my mind really my own, or is it part of a larger collective – do I do the dreaming or am I being dreamed by the dream?

There are 6 sound pieces in the COVID DREAMS series.
You can listen to them in one piece (17mins) or listen to each one individually, or revisit your favorite.

COVID DREAMS soundworks by Treasa O’Brien are featuring as part of the Glucksman Gallery’s online exhibition Home from Home: Irish Artists Respond to COVID-19 Restrictions
May-31 to August 2020.

Music by Irene Buckley

Sound Engineering by Paul Rowland

About Home from Home

Home from Home is intended as a way to provide insight into the extraordinary situation of being confined to home during the COVID 19 pandemic. The selected artists were due to present work in the Glucksman this April as part of the exhibition HOME which is now postponed until later this year.

Every Tuesday and Friday, we will share the response of a single artist and provide some additional information on their wider practice. The artists explore the shared challenges of being at home, the frustrations, boredom, anxiety, but also the capacity to reflect, create and connect.


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