As Dawn and I were making the Djerassi version of our interactive, 3-D installation Dream Vortex, I also turned Barn Studio B into an installation about the creative process: It’s All The Real World. My dirty-work coveralls hung next to the door…
…the door covered with “find me” messages to Dawn, notes to keep our collaboration flowing.
In the rafters high above the door was a drawing of a sleeper, dreams dripping from her hair.
North of the door were objects showing how a dream becomes a Dream Vortex drawing: a scroll with dream stories collected from researchers at the Complexity Sciences Center and KeckCAVES at UC Davis, drawing boards, source photos, preliminary sketches, and a mop modeling for a dream drawing.
Dream drawings filled the walls on the other side of the door.
These drawings were flanked by panels with excerpts from key passages of Dream Vortex code. The code is part of the pulse of the dreams through different forms — they start as images in a mind’s eye, turn into texts (stories), turn back into images (drawings) and then texts (code) again, becoming mind pictures once again as you look at the Dream Vortex.
The installation’s centerpiece was an easel with a drawing in progress, standing on a ball-and-arrow diagram. On the little table by the easel were drawing materials and pages from the scientific paper for which the diagram was originally created. The paper talks about the way channels change the information that flows through them. Physicist and fellow resident Jim Crutchfield worked on it during our time at Djerassi; he understands the diagram as beautifully specific physics and mathematics. I understood it as a metaphor for what we were experiencing in the residency: DRAP channeling our creative energies together and thereby changing the way they flow.
Turning to the fourth wall, you see a silk print of a dream in which a physicist lectures to daisies, more drawings and raw materials…
And, completing the circle, a mangled toy lion considers the dream scroll. Perhaps he dreams of himself as a strong young lion, as in the yellow drawing on the wall opposite. Or perhaps he knows that his scars give him soul, and that in the dream world he is both young and old. Maybe he even knows that body, mind, and code — it’s all the real world.