Social Dreaming Event
13th December 2011 #30
When we arrive, there is confusion as the SD event isn’t on the organiser’s schedule. One of the organisers goes to some trouble to rectify the situation to enable the event to run. The Events tent is made ready. Parts of the tent are wet from the bad weather and a participant advises us where to sit so that we do not get wet.
At first nobody can think of a dream. There is a discussion about the dominance of advertising and cinema and in particular the number of Harry Potter films. A comment is made that maybe these kinds of collective dreams are replacing “real’ dreams.
A dream about an elderly woman who needs to move to a care home. She checks out options and finds that in Italy she can get into a very nice care home for less than the cost of care homes in the UK. She goes to Social Services to ask them if they would fund this as an alternative to going into a UK care home.
Associations: How nice it would be to live in Italy. Venice and several other Italian cities are mentioned as desirable places to go or live. In reality Italy may not be such a desirable place with the current economic situation and political administration made up of bankers and bureaucrats. A discussion follows about the real life situation for elderly people in the UK being actually very difficult. Not all people can fly (to another country) and not all people can dream. Images of people trying to grab hold of the bottom rung of the ladder and people being chewed up and spat out are shared. A link is made to the Occupy protest and that the protest stands for people who are disadvantaged by the current system. A comment is made about how welcoming the Occupy protest is to people who are homeless and other marginalised people in society. People on benefits are now criticised widely in the media and there is a lack of compassion for vulnerable people such as the homeless. This leads to an association to a group of intellectuals who went to live on the streets in the 1960-1970s in France who called themselves ‘closhards’ in solidarity with the homeless people. They were not a group in the sense of being organized and coordinated but this was a part of their individual political stance against the system.
A dream by a person who worked in a hospital and during breaks they were allowed to sleep for an hour. During this hour the dreamer dreamed that they were in Rome. In the dream it felt very real. They could see, feel and smell the place. The dream was told with great passion. It was a wonderful dream that made the dreamer feel great and when they woke up this good feeling and the vision of Rome remained with them for several hours afterwards.
Association: socialist regimes where people aren’t allowed to travel. They travelled instead, in their minds, to other places. It was like an inner migration as a response to not being allowed to migrate. Another association is made to a book called Reading Lolita in Tehran. The book was about a group of women in Iran who come together regularly to read and discuss books from the West, which are forbidden reading, as a way of dealing with the oppressive Iranian regime. The dream, it is suggested, could be seen as a kind of nourishment for dealing with a difficult situation.
An observation was made that both dreams include Italy as a place of desire but that on exploration something far from desirable becomes apparent. An association is made between Rome, romantic and a utopian dream. A comment is made that it can be dangerous to have a dream, that the third Reich had a dream that many people followed unquestioningly and that ended in the holocaust. This leads to a comment that what starts as a dream can turn into a nightmare. The protest had started like a beautiful dream, but as winter progresses and the weather gets worse many people leave, and the remaining protestors are in difficult conditions. The people who leave the protest are referred to as fair-weather friends. The difficulty of staying with the protest is discussed. The event ends with a comment about looking forward to the spring.
Facilitators: Aideen Lucey and Milena Stateva