Illustrating your dreams: Watching the consolidation of memories during the night
Julia Lockheart is an artist. Mark Blagrove's research area is the relationship of dreams to waking life and to brain processes during sleep. Two important issues here are the memory sources that go into a dream, and the sleeper’s memory of and reaction to the dream. One source of data gathering is having detailed interviews about someone’s recent dream. Julia Lockheart draws with black and coloured inks during the interview an illustration of the person’s dream. She draws the illustration onto one or two pages of Freud's major book, The Interpretation of Dreams. Using a paperback version the pages are then detached and mounted on card and framed as an artwork. The discussion and simultaneous illustration are also a performance, as an overhead visualiser and screen are used to show the drawing process to the wider audience and to people waiting for their turn for discussion and illustration. Part of the aim is that some words of each printed page show through the artwork, these will be words that are relevant to the dream that is told to me and discussed.
We sit at a large table with the person who wishes to discuss their dream. The audience stands and can listen and also see the drawing live on the screen. The individual starts to describe their dream. Julia uses the index of Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams to choose an appropriate page or two, these are removed from the book and she draws on them in ink, sometimes incorporating words on the page into the illustration. This takes about 20 minutes. The artwork is then fixed onto card and can be framed.