Urban Dreamscape

Urban Dreamscape

I met Jennifer Dumpert during a trip to California in 2005. In a bar on Haight Street in San Francisco she outlined a dream practice she developed during a rough time in New York, a process of mapping dream content onto your local geography in order to foster bonds between the dream and waking worlds.

This sounded fantastic for the first Dreamflesh Journal, but unfortunately she didn’t find time to develop a piece on the subject (though Volume One did include her fascinating examination of how the sense of self-identity in dreams can seep into waking life).

Well, she’s just launched her Urban Dreamscape site which documents her experiments in mapping her dreams onto the streets near her San Francisco home. Two books she mentions as key inspirations will immediately clue in anyone who’s read them: The Art of Memory by Francis Yates and The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. The former seems most directly relevant, because instead of literally documenting dreams of local places, she takes the creative step of transposing dreams onto walls, windows, lampposts, shops and other features that aren’t associated with the dream content in any linear way. Situationist dérive tactics are the engine for latching dreams onto places, cumulatively layering dreamtime onto everyday geography in a way that seems to cannily draw on hunter-gatherer myth-making, Renaissance magic and modern art activism.

She’s also attempted to express own internal, imaginal palimpsest of dream-place minglings in digital form with a clickable map of her stomping grounds which fires off little impressionistic Flash and QuickTime experiments in depicting these mergings and juxtapositions of psyche and urban environments. These multimedia fragments are intriguing, playful indicators, pointing at the true riches that Jennifer also hints at: interactive, regional collaborations on the generation of local dreamscapes, crafted and intuited in the flesh, on the street…

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