My process for creating this project was straightforward, but at the same time presented many challenges and obstacles. I felt like I learned a great deal from the process, and it made me think in ways that I hadn’t been tasked with before. For this podcast, I needed the help of those around me, but I also needed to draw on the lessons that I had learned from my time in this class. When I asked those around me for help, I received a wide array of responses, from enthusiastic to flat refusal.
I don’t think this reflects directly on the person involved, because we all have our good days and our bad days, and sometimes a strange request for an interview is too much to handle. When you are put in a position of trying to work with a large group of people, and also to try to wrangle those people into your service, it can yield unexpected results. I learned a bit not only about the subject of dreams, but about the personalities of those around me from working on this project.
I chose the subject of dreams because I have always been interested in learning more about my own thoughts and how they relate to the world around me. One tool I’ve tried to pry into this world is lucid dreaming, the art of taking control of your dreams and unlocking the possibilities of your own mind. I wanted to find out if others felt the same way about their dreams and also what went on in their thoughts. The responses that I received from my set of questions was eye opening indeed, but it still made me feel an air of familiarity with the respondents.
I wanted to delve into the dreams of my subjects because I felt that it was one way to peek into their minds. While it’s true that dreams are just random misfirings and trying to find an overarching theme to these stories is a rabbit chase, it can’t be said that there aren’t a small number of truths uncovered in these dealings. Our fears, our hopes, our dreams and our knowledge are all buried in our minds, and dreams indiscriminately scour through to create a scenario that the front of our mind tries in vain to interpret. If we pay attention, we can find details about ourselves buried in our dreams, because we are living out our deepest subconscious impulses.
I used sound to tell this story by trying to convey the message of sleep. The audience is welcomed in with a subtle sound of snoring. The background audio is a stream of relaxing yet happy music. Originally I had a soft instrumental of a lullaby, but did not want my listeners to fall asleep. So I needed something slightly upbeat, yet relaxing to help set the tone. Dreams occur when we are sleeping, but the connection goes deeper than that. Dreams sneak up on us, they attack when we are most vulnerable, they strike when we aren’t expecting. The world of the sleeping is totally unexplored by our waking minds, and even to the extent that right now, the scientific community still doesn’t know why we need to sleep. We have a list of benefits and detriments to missing or getting our sleep, but the exact processes are still buried away.
My podcast aims to compare the different attitudes and processes that we cope with the aftermath of our dreams. What happens in the dream isn’t the real indicator of how it affects us, but what we should focus on is how we remember and integrate the dreams into our daily lives. If we dismiss and ignore our dreams we may be missing out on some insight into something that our mind has figured out without our conscious knowledge. But at the same time, if we put too much focus on our dreams, we may be assigning meaning to something that is purely random.
In creating interviews with my different subjects, I wanted to pay attention to the different ways that they reacted to the questions. It wasn’t just the words that they were saying, but the tone and manner that they were saying them in. I feel that the delivery of these answers relates to the medium that they are delivered in, and that in turn drastically alters their message. For example, if someone seems hesitant, that may show that they have a negative experience not only in their dreams, but perhaps also at night and with answering questions in general. I noticed that a number of people responding to the questions seems forced, or rehearsed. For example, the first person I interviewed (Allison) was laughing and being herself, but as soon as the voice recorder turned on, she became tense. She seemed to ease up a bit once it became more of a conversation as opposed to an interview. When I asked her about possible “naked dreams” she laughed and did not talk about it, but as soon as the recorder was off, she of course opened up. I think we have a natural need to act professional and put on our best face when we are being recorded, because any awkwardness can be played back over and over. However, this makes the subject nervous, and usually makes them more awkward than before.
It can be unsettling to focus on the subject of dreams, or on anything that makes us feel that we lose control. We don’t ask our brains to create a specific dream for us, we simply fall asleep and are taken into a surreal scenario against our will. This can create a bit of tension when trying to discuss the subject with people, because we have a natural desire to feel in control. And the loss of control is worse with dreams, because it’s our own minds taking the wheel from us. This can lead to many people attempting to find meaning where there simply is none, because after all, if you are the one creating these memories, it must be a message, right? Sometimes, the medium has no message.