Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dream Journal #5

Well this entry is not going to be very interesting. As I mentioned in my previous dream journal, most of my recent dreams have all been pretty much consisting of what my real life has been like recently. On Friday night I dreamt about trivia all night because it was going on downstairs in my house and I could feel and hear everything that was going on. Those only felt like partially asleep dreams. I've also been doing a lot of thinking about getting an off-campus job, most likely at a pub, sometime in the near future. In my dream last night I got a job working at the Viking Room (check out that badass old photo)... so I basically was just making drinks all night in my sleep. Apparently I can't even get a break from working in my dreams!

Here's to many interesting blog-worthy dreams in the next couple of days!


Abigail Disney- "Don't be a hero"

What stood out to me the most from Abigail Disney's convocation address at Lawrence University was her emphasis on the point that one should not try to be a hero, but rather should work together with others in order to really get things done. She said that in books and films, "the hero always ends up dying in the end." While I don't know that this is entirely true, I do agree that resolutions are best made when you find a group with similar interests and combine your forces.

It was really amazing hearing about the women in Liberia who were so dedicated to achieving peace who went to such great measures, always nonviolently. This got me thinking about the famous nonviolent movements that have gone on in the 20th century. It was refreshing to hear about these women in Liberia, because I tend to feel like people (at least in the United States) nowadays are so removed from the things that in the past would have caused an uproar. Things have definitely changed a lot, some for the better and some for the worse. I wish that people could be passionate enough about the things going on around them to be able to make a stand together and fight for something. It's true that some people do this, and I know that it might seem hypocritical me saying this but not really doing anything about it...

I guess I don't really have a solution right now (I don't think it's that easy though...) but the point of the rambly rant is that it makes me somewhat reassured to know that there are groups of people somewhere working together and actually making a change. These women were almost completely under the radar until Disney and her team made a film (Pray the Devil Back to Hellabout it, so it gives me hope that there are other people out there too who are achieving amazing things behind the scenes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Failed Dream Journal #4 and progress

I haven't been keeping up with my dream journal recently for a couple of reasons. One is that I haven't been waking up before class early enough to have the time to write them down and so I end up forgetting them by the time I actually am able to stop for a moment and write them down. It's so strange how some dreams will stay with you so vividly for a long time, years even, and other dreams vanish almost instantly when you wake up. Sometimes I'll tell someone my dream soon after waking up but then I have to ask them about it later. For some reason, even if I say my dream out loud, I can still forget it. Weird.

The other reason I haven't been keeping my dream journal recently is that the kinds I dreams I do remember having just seem to be either replays of whatever I've been doing that week, or a preview of what my day is going to be like. As far as I can tell, nothing really out of the ordinary happens, except that I seem to be even more stressed out in my dream. So I guess what I've got to do is chill out a bit... get more sleep... and make sure there's time for recording dreams.

On to my project... I'm finishing up interviews right now and working to find the right video filters in final cut express. By this time next week I'd like to be done the interviews and moving on to writing the screenplay for my film based on these interviews. Originally I wasn't going to use the interviews in my film at all, but I think I've figured out a way to do it in a non-lame way. I'm going to use short clips of everyone I've interviewed in the credits for the film. I think it's going to be sweet.

Here's an example of the kind of filter that I'm looking at using. I'm still playing around with it, but here's glimpse into what it may look like.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Progress report

I started my interviews this weekend, and so far I have had 6 victims. I have had about 10-15 more people who said they will do it. Before I do anymore interviews, I am going to review my footage in the computer lab to make sure that everything looks and sounds alright. I think that there is one interview that I'm going to have to redo because there seemed to be some sort of light balance thing off in the camera. The first interview I did using the same exact lighting looked a lot better, as did the the ones that followed. Overall I think it's gone pretty well so far.

I'm going to use these interviews as my stepping stone toward making a fictional film. I am going to use the information that they have given me about their dreams in order to make a short dream-like film. Even with only 5 people so far I've gotten a lot to work with. I've definitely seen trends between the 5 of them, and I recognize those same trends within my own dreams.

And now for something completely different ...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster is a name that one cannot forget. I am surprised that I had never heard his name until recently when I saw a documentary about him. I think that his most important invention was the dome house. In a time where the population is rising tremendously and there is growing concern about an eventual decrease in resources, the dome house which didn't use up much space or resources seemed like just what the world might need. I'm wondering why they did not catch on more. A couple of days ago I overheard some of my friends discussing dome houses and how there are a decent amount here in good old Wisconsin because they keep in a decent amount of heat and things... but they didn't mention who it was who is famous for popularizing this design of house. I say "popularizing" because Fuller was not the absolute first person ever to have the idea to make a building in dome shape, but he was the one who made it famous. The fact that my friends didn't mention the inventor of the dome house got me thinking about whether or not it's important to know where the everyday items you use come from. Would we see things differently if we could attach a story to them? Would we take things for granted less if we actually thought about all of the work that went into creating them?

The fact that Fuller's dome houses are not everywhere also got me thinking about other inventions that seem like they would really help the world but that don't actually get lasting recognition. The example that I'm thinking about in particular is the electric car. Watching the film Who Killed The Electric Car? really infuriated me. The fact that this technology exists and is not being utilized is really frustrating.

Laurie Anderson

I thought that it was very interesting what Anderson had to say about preserving her art. She talked a lot about how many of her performances were supposed to be "in the moment," and just effect the people who were there to witness it. There would be no record of the performance except in people's minds. The reason that she started documenting her performances had to do with people misinterpreting her art. Anderson got frustrated when people would talk about her performances and get her idea of what it was about wrong. This was something that I didn't particularly like about what she had to say. To me, a big part of all art forms is that they are open to interpretation. It might mean one thing to the artist and a completely different thing to someone else. In my opinion that is part of the beauty of art. The ability for one object, song, painting, etc. to have so many different possible meanings is so amazing to me. I think that the same piece of art can even mean different things to the same person depending on their mood or what is going on in their life at the time. This is my biggest beef with Anderson.

I had heard that Anderson did a project about dreams, and since I am doing my own dream related project I thought I would look into it. She had an exhibition called The Waters Reglitterized shown at a gallery in New York in 2005 where she recreated her dreams in art form. Click here to see a website about this exhibition. I think that looking into her project and how she interpreted her dreams will help me along with my project.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dream Journal #3

I can't stop thinking about the dream that I had last night. I had an 8:30 class this morning and I woke up naturally at 8:10... quite miraculously as I somehow forgot to set an alarm. I was very tempted to skip class so that I could sink back into my dream, but alas I did not. It wasn't that it was a particularly good dream, but for some reason parts of it were just very beautiful to me.

I was walking with a friend to a restaurant called the 10th Frame (the name of the bowling alley that we go to on Thursdays for free bowling). It had an amazing neon sign and it was surrounded by old buildings. It reminded me a lot of being in Dam Square in Amsterdam when there was a huge carnival going on-- the juxtaposition between the beautiful old buildings and the tacky, loud carnival. I was taking pictures of the neon sign and of the restaurant, but I stopped when the bouncer started questioning why on earth I would be interested in taking pictures of those silly things. We went inside of the restaurant with a group of people, and we had to walk down several flights of stairs and narrow hallways to get to the dining room. On the way I stopped to do some laundry, but I realized that I wouldn't be able to choose the items that I wanted to put in the dryer and which ones I wanted to air dry so they wouldn't shrink. It was very stressful at the time. The dining room was very familiar. I can see it so vividly in my mind, but at the same time I find it very hard to describe. I know there was a lot of deep red, it sort of seemed like it was on a boat, the ceiling wasn't very high, and it seemed somewhat cluttered but in an organized way.

It was night time when I went to the restaurant, but it was daylight as I was walking home. I lived on the beach in Scotland. It was beautiful. I've never seen anything so gorgeous in real life. The house was on a small cliff right on the beach, but instead of there being sand there were huge smooth rocks. I looked out over the water for a long time, several times throughout the dream. This is the part of the dream that I most wanted to revisit when I woke up. Even now, 3 hours later I can see the image so clearly in my mind as if I am still there.

I was standing out on the rocks with a friend (I wish I could remember who I was with) when I heard bagpipes. This is how I knew I was in Scotland. When I rounded a corner I saw a bunch of rugby or maybe soccer players. I think one team was British and the other was American. The American team had some really silly name and at the time, even though it wasn't really a dream where I was aware of the fact that I was asleep, I knew that that team didn't really exist. The traditional bagpipe music started morphing into something funkier and cool, but I remember being disappointed because I wanted to hear traditional music. The rugby/soccer players were having a sort of pep rally and they were about to do some sort of stunt with a lion.

I was transported from the beach to the Co-Op house where I live. The lion was inside too, but the rugby/soccer players were replaced by my friends. The lion was really scary to me, but not really to anyone else there it seemed. I thought that it was going to attack someone, but it was all a part of the stunt, and someone shot a tranquilizer dart at it, and it fell asleep on the stairs landing. I think that all of the people disappeared. I wanted to get out of the house before the lion woke up, and I also wanted to get outside to the beach again because it was so beautiful. I was having a lot of trouble finding my keys and finding clothes to wear. I can't remember if I ever found the keys, but I think that I did. I put on a pair of yellow cheerios socks. I don't even like cheerios. I was about to leave my house when I heard someone say "help me!" I think that it was the lion. He knew that he was waking up and that he might attack someone because it was in his nature, but he didn't want to, so he wanted me to give him a shot or something. I think the lion ended up running into the kitchen and disappearing. Then, I saw my friend Liam twitching on the ground. For some reason he was dying, or maybe someone had tranquilized him too. With his final breath he let out the word "home." Someone responded to this with "he misses his girlfriend."

I'm not really sure about the order of all of this, and it might have skipped around a bit. Also I know there was another bit where I was with a professor doing some research or something in a library. I think it might have been a real life job or something. I'm not really sure about that. This dream is going to be a bit harder to interpret, as there are so many elements to it... but I'll try to pick out the parts that seem most important.

Ocean/ beach: merging of conscious and subconscious; harmony; peace
Bagpipes: pleasant music means satisfaction and bad music means bad times are on the horizon
Soccer/rugby: mask your perspectives and beliefs regarding frightening sexual attitudes, watching a sports competition indicates that you are confronted with contradicting perspectives and rival thoughts.
Bowling: sexual triumph
Hallways:a sign of a changing aspect of your life
Stairs:implies a new beginning and development
Photography: a preoccupation to cherish and cling tightly to memorable images and events from the past
Laundry:You are conscious about how others perceive you and you wish to adjust to earn their approval
Restaurant: suggests a preference to seek emotional assistance from people outside your present social circle
Lion: you have many problems to solve
Keys: indicative of fearing the loss of seniority or rank in life, or even of losing self control
Death: you are missing certain traits that the person possesses
Home: It is a very special and private place to any person where one can be himself without any constraints

I was going to look for something similar to the beach that I saw in my dream on youtube, but as soon as I started looking, the image in my head faded a bit. I'm just going to try to hold on to that image for as long as I can. But here is a lovely clip of some good old bagpipe playing. And it just so happens that the setting of this clip is by the water. Woah, coincidence. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dream Journal #2

I had a very strange experience waking up this morning. I actually laughed myself awake. I confirmed with my roommate that I was actually laughing outloud, so I know that I didn't dream this. Before I woke myself up I was having a dream that took place in New York City, though it had elements of a lot of other cities and towns that I have been to including Appleton, Amsterdam, Appleton, and London. I was very aware of the fact that there was a subway system underground... I think that at times I may have been able to see it even though I was above ground the whole time. Somehow I learned of a sort of terrorist attack that was going to happen in the subway and I started trying to fly, or rather jump really long distances. I may have been trying to stop it or save people. I don't think I was just trying to run away. The next thing I remember is tying my shoes (sweet shoes that don't actually exist) with two of my friends hovering over my shoulders singing that silly Ting Tings song "That's Not My Name." For some reason this was hilarious to me and that is when I started laughing.

I had a lot more dreams last night, more than I usually remember having when I wake up, but this dream was the most vivid.

And now for the interpretation thanks to the internetz!!

City: community, closeness, a city in ruins means that you are afraid that a relationship is falling apart
terrorist attack: loss of control
subway: you are being impulsive
jumping: you need to take more risks
shoes: you are embarking on a journey to an unknown destination in your life

I think I'm getting better at paying attention to my dreams, so hopefully as the term goes on I will be able to remember my dreams even more clearly and have more control over them. I haven't had any lucid dreams that I remember in the past couple of nights... but I expect it to happen quite soon. We shall see!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dreams are neat!

I've always had an interest in dreams ever since I can remember. My first memory is actually a dream rather than something that really happened. When I was younger my mom and my friends at school would ask me almost everyday, "what did you dream about last night?" Sometimes I remember to keep a dream journal, but if I don't write about my dream right when I wake up I usually forget it. I've decided that now that I am a college senior that I should have some discipline, so I should be able to be dedicated and actually keep a dream journal for the next couple of months.

I'm going to look for trends in my dreams to see if certain themes, objects, or people show up multiple times. I'm also going to try to interpret them by doing some research. In addition, I'm going to see if I can influence my dreams. I read somewhere once that if you eat peanut butter before going to sleep that you are more likely to remember you dreams, or maybe they are more vivid when you do remember them. So... over a one or two week period sometime soon, I am going to eat a spoonful of peanut butter every night before going to sleep and see what happens. I'm going to do some research on other things I can do to influence my dreams or how well I remember them.

A lot of the time I am aware of the fact that I am dreaming and I am able to control things and do whatever I want to a certain extent though there are some limitations. The name for being aware of the fact that you are not awake in the real world is lucid dreaming. I've been doing some research about lucid dreaming and there are some exercises you can do to increase your ability to have lucid dreams. I'm going to do these exercises and see if I can get to the point where almost all of my dreams are ones that I can control.

I'm also going to be making some short films inspired by dreams that I will be including here. Here's an example of a film I made about dreams a couple of years ago.

And now for my first entry into my dream journal!!! This is a pretty short one because I can't remember much of my dream... if I had been able to wake up enough after the dream to write it down it would be way more detailed. All I can remember is the following:
I was in a slightly familiar house, it may have been my grandmothers, and everything was pretty light colored. I was looking through flowy light blue curtains outside at a really large black and red squirrel. Its colors were really beautiful. I watched the squirrel give birth to a small sheep like creature, but when I was telling people about it they told me that it was a pig.

And now for the interpretation: (I used this website
-blue: wanting to escape the pressures of your life
-window: considering an important decision and that I may need guidance on
-squirrel: collecting or accumulating something
-red: danger particularly in sex. A nudge for you to rethink your actions and avoid being impulsive.
-black: disapproval in a person or situation.
-birth: new start, anticipated occurrence
-pig: filthiness, stubbornness
-sheep:afraid to embark on innovative endeavors and experience new adventures.

When I combine all of this it's actually pretty relevant to what's going on in my life right now. Wow, so even if dreams seem super crazy and irrelevant, they can actually be applicable to one's life! Crazy stuff.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Thank you God for Les Paul"

The documentary film Les Paul: Changing Sound portrays a different kind of musician than the artists who belong to Fat Possum Records. This film about Les Paul shows a musician who enjoys and does almost anything to be able to be in the limelight. Les Paul started as a small time musician in small town Wisconsin, but he changed his style several times in order to fit the bill for what was needed.

Even though the film built up Les Paul tremendously and made him look like a jolly old man who made some of the most important innovations of the century, I thought that it was a little bit over the top. While the film continuously praised Les Paul's work, it also made it seem as if he never really knew what he was doing and that everything kind of just fell in to place for him at times. A lot of his successes seemed to be based upon luck. I also wish that they had gone more into depth about his actual inventions and how they came about.

I thought a lot of his songs were really silly, and the way that the older songs with Mary Ford were shot just served to reinforce gender stereotypes. The key example that I am thinking of was when Mary Ford was shown cooking in the kitchen while recording music. However, it was really nice to see an older man still enjoying what he was doing. Even though he seemed to be somewhat of a sellout at times, it seems that no matter what he loved making music, even if it was for a particular audience. This is something that is very refreshing to see.

Oh Les, you're so clever.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Forced Fame?

I recently watched the Film You See Me Laughin', a documentary about the label Fat Possum Records started by Matthew Johnson, with the most famous artist being R.L. Burnside. The film addresses several issues, most relating to culture and socioeconomic status.

While there are obvious differences portrayed in the film between the musicians and Matthew Johnson, the difference that struck me the most was the different values placed on fame and the importance of circulating music. This delves into a major issue in the art world: creating art for yourself versus creating art for an audience. The musicians in this documentary would be placed in the category where the music that they made was for themselves, because they loved what they did, and not because they wanted any sort of recognition for doing it. However, for some of the musicians, their values and morals were altered once money became an issue. For example, there was a remix done of RL Burnside's songs, which Burnside strongly disliked... that is until the money came rolling in. Even though it seems like Burnside and some of the other musicians may have compromised their values because of money, none of their lifestyles have seemed to really change since they started making money for doing what they love.

The question that this film made me ponder was whether or not it really matters if their music was released as soon as possible, or even at all, if its release didn't really seem to effect the musicians in any way. Johnson was very concerned with getting the artists' records into circulation during their lifetime so that they could get recognized before their deaths. The music of these artists would have been lost without Matthew Johnson, but do we need to know about it? Their art form was a new take on and an imitation of a pre-existing style that was fairly well known. So, would the musical world be very different if their music was never taken out of their hometown, and would they be happier? I guess we'll never know.