Crumbs from nightmares in Second Life

How do we express our nightmares? What words would we chose, what lyrics would we consider suitable? What songs or images might we regard as reflecting those dark, frightening thoughts and dreams which pass through our tangled thoughts as we sleep?

Questions like these occupied Slatan Dryke as he developed Crumbs From My Nightmares, a personal look at the dreams which can trouble his sleeping hours.

“How could I express what a nightmare is with simple words? The breaking into the nights of unknown and disturbing elements, made visible by the Imaginary as a bearer of psychic content, free from the control of the principle of rationality?”

Using extracts from literature – M. R. James, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Lafcadio Hearn and Ambrose Bierce, together with 2D images, 3D art and phenakistoscope, to present a vision from within the realm of nightmares: beasts feeding on flesh, hearts beating, words to chill the heart, bodies reposed apparently in death, ghoulish cartoon images, all held under a haunting audio scape.

It’s a curious mixture; a rich tumbling of imagery in both form and words,  in places unsettling, in places familiar; sometimes edged in darkness, sometimes edged in the familiar or even the cartoonish. Just as we’d experience, perhaps, within a nightmare.

“The Imaginary is not real but true, messenger of a profound truth, therefore recognizable and unacceptable, Slatan continues, “The monsters represent the dark parts of the soul, in their various erotic, anxious or aggressive components. The Imaginary with its strange and disturbing images causes the turmoil that threatens the familiarity of the daily life.

How much are our nightmares a part of us?How do they shape is, inform our natures? These questions also run through this piece, with Slatan further adding food for thought. “The perturbation as a feeling of fear and repulsion, arises from the risk of revealing the ‘ghost’ of desire and how much strong is the wish to control it. The irresistible necessity of controlling, natural in mankind, produces that protective mechanism that has enhanced the existence with monsters, vampires and ghosts, not only in dreams and nightmares.”

Crumbs From My Nightmares is an installation wherein the artist’s liner notes play an important role in helping focus thoughts and responses to all that we’re seeing in the installation. But while he may not that these may be his nightmares, many may find the symbolism here familiar, giving them pause to ponder within the framework of thought he offers.

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