Dream Storyboards: Stranded in London (Episode 1)

Pubblished by Umberto Prunotto on Dream Research Storyboard Series
September 4, 2012

We all dream, but we don’t always remember our dreams. When, in a certain period of my life, everything that seemed solid and safe became fragile and open to question, I began to dream vividly, frequently, and in great detail. To be honest, it was quite annoying as the dreams disturbed my sleep. I was also worried about all the things that happened in the dreams. The first question I asked myself was “why now?”

I began to study dreams, and after going around to various universities and experts from various schools of thought, commissioning studies and research projects, I became convinced that simplifying things in this field would lead nowhere, and intuition should not be the only resource. I needed to find a way to treat oneiric information and make it usable, integrated with conscious thought.

That is how I began to concentrate on Raymond Duval’s studies and the concept of a “register of semiotic and noetic representation” of information, which he applied to the didactics of mathematics. After defining an initial working protocol based on the oneiric image (basically, a storyboard guided by a model) defined by various types of information (what is perceived, represented, and the interpretation) and then consciously inferred using specific techniques, I recruited some people to act as target, the sample group on which I would test the method.

The first thing we observed was that issues present in a waking state are represented in a different way in dreams. The indicators found in dreams allow us to read these issues through semiotic and noetic registers which, compared to those typical of the conscious state, are different and complimentary. Dreams are information and the result of a free and personal reaction to one’s socio-cultural system. In dreams there is no risk – we can simulate and make mistakes – and, like in a game, we can learn.

By tracking and analyzing these indicators, we gained entry to a dimension of great freedom and representation. This dimension, unlike our mere conscious perception of reality, let us use dreams as a creative learning tool, bringing us closer to full awareness of our needs.

At this point, I began to understand the usefulness of dreams, and of play, in a process of “simulated”, creative, and risk-free learning. Consequently I began to consider the conscious and unconscious as “registers” with different degrees of freedom to represent reality. In this perspective I noticed that changing the cognitive register also changed the representation, but that I could change the representation without changing register. Art, in the waking state, presents us with noetic and semiotic registers that are kindred with the unconscious, just as the register of lucid dreams is kindred with the conscious. In other words, what changes in the registers is the relationship between the “conceptual comprehension” (noetics) and the “representation with signs” (semiotics). Drawing on Raymond Duval’s studies on the didactics of mathematics, I tried to formalize the “conversion” and the “integration” of registers through the “recognition” of representation, the “re-examination” of their narration, and the “transformation” that converts things from a “regulated and constrained” register to one that is “de-regulated and free”, and vice versa. The result of this process is an “efficient and effective creativity”.

What follows is one of the “storyboard visualization” experiments that we conducted to extract the perceivedrepresented, and interpreted information from one of our early subject’s dreams. The illustration are the oneiric image, while the “represented” narrative is the text that follows and the “interpreted” narrative is the text in square parenthesis. With this series, I’d like to offer a look into the process of developing a concept of what would eventually become the Dreamboard dream journaling application.

Welcome to the first episode of “Stranded in London”.

Umberto Prunotto, CEO


Dream Storyboards: Stranded in London image 1

“I’m alone on the street in a big city. Leaden. Joyless.”

Dream Storyboards: Stranded in London image 2

“I feel oppressed, bitter and sad. It feels dark even though it is daytime. I am afraid because I feel no tenderness or warmth. I have no home.”

Dream Storyboards: Stranded in London image 3

“I feel certain I’m in London, with its palaces of power and delicate beauty. Self reliance feels like foolish arrogance. The monarchs are respected yet feared. A contradiction.”

The man finds himself in a large city, in no way perceived as a positive meeting place: the atmosphere that prevails is leaden and the absence of joy is palpable. This place, where light seems forbidden, gives him a profound sense of oppression and a bitter, hopeless sadness. He has the perception of being in London, capital of a Kingdom in which the Monarchs are dutifully revered and loved, but also necessarily kept at a distance and feared. On the horizon rise the majestic and sumptuous palaces of power.

[The man finds himself in a large city, in no way perceived as a positive meeting place: the atmosphere that prevails is leaden and the absence of joy is palpable. This place – where light has been banished, absorbed by the dark fears that inhabit the mind – gives the individual a sense of profound oppression and a bitter, hopeless sadness. There is no possibility for tenderness, love, non-self-interest, or warmth. No “home” is possible. An “intimate place”, the result of the union of Ethos and Eros, is replaced by the sumptuous palaces of power, where delicate beauty and the rarefied significance of relationships are obscured by the vulgar obscenity and the arrogant omnipotence of a presumed “self-reliance”, a foolish self-sufficiency. He is barred from all spontaneity here. He has the perception of being in London, capital of a Kingdom in which the Monarchs are dutifully revered and respected, loved, and at the same time feared: this is, essentially, the contradiction.]

This post is part 1 of a 5-post series:

Illustrations by Giulia Francesca Massaglia for Dreamboard
Text semiotic structuring by Antonella Palumbo
Translation by Matthew Furfine for Dreamboard

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