“Dreams in the days of coronavirus” (by Efi Zerva, published in ert.gr on 12/05/2020)
“It was as if the world no longer contained any certainty.
There was only unstable evidence. Everything was cut off
and sailed freely…”
Paul Bowles could describe the days of Covid-19, with certainties having been withdrawn from our lives. How will this period be recorded in history? What can people around the world dream of? What would they dream about at the time of great epidemics?
People have been interested in dreams and their interpretation for a long time. From the divinations of antiquity, the folk seers and the dreams-omens up to Freud, they have been trying to understand why we dream, what dreams are, what they have to do with reality, what they reveal, how we can be helped by dreams, which make up about a third of our lives.
For decades, various scientists have systematically been creating databases with dreams.
Today, experiencing the conditions of the pandemic, DRAUMAR – The Anthropocene Age of Dreams invites us to become our dream collectors. @Akira Kusaka
DRAUMAR was launched in Greece at the end of April by visual anthropologist Alessandra D’Onofrio and journalist Daphni Scaglioni. It is a collection of dreams that is already “in progress” in Italy, at the initiative of the anthropologist at the University of Palermo Matteo Meschiari and the author Antonio Vena, recording them during the transitional period we are experiencing.
In Icelandic draumar means dreams, but there appears also to be a link between the words dream and trauma.
How could we ignore self-isolation, removal from each other, fear of the other? How can we not be frightened by the future that is coming and which, financially at least, portends ominously? It’s the first truly great collective trauma of the Anthropocene Era**.
If during the day we feel fears and insecurities, at night our subconscious processes and produces dreams and narratives. People dream differently. Even if they don’t see the dangers of infection or masks everywhere, something has changed in the way, in the time, in the intensity of dreams.
It is important to record all this, such as at the time of Charlotte Beradt in the 1930s, who recorded people’s dreams during the Third Reich. Her book left a trace of the trauma that the authoritarian regime created in the German people.
Today we come close to the secrets of our dreams. We will look into what happens to us at night, and into information about ourselves and our times.
Write down your dreams
“It was like being in a French cabaret in the 1930s, when everyone got scared and we started running out… It was night, it was raining and it was blowing like hell. A hurricane carried me up. I got hold of a pillar, I managed to get down a few steps and hide in a basement. It was the boiler room of a building. Not only did I find shelter, but I was happy! It was a low-ceilinged room with heat from the boiler and light from its flames! Suddenly the door opened and lots of people came in… I was scared… I thought we’d all fight over who’s going to stay and who’s going to leave, but in a magical way everyone respected each other and with a smile we squeezed close to each other! When we went out it was still night, but there was a bright moon, calmness, a beautiful smell of freshness from the rain and laughing people everywhere.” [One of the dreams received by the dream bank Draumar]
If you too want to explore your night experiences and help enrich Draumar’s dream bank, you can do the following: Take a notebook and leave it near the bed. If you have a dream, write it down as soon as you wake up. Tell it in the simplest way. If you want, make a drawing. Do not write a literary work. Write down your dreams, your children’s dreams, ask the elderly and your friends to tell you theirs. Draw your dreams, collect your children’s drawings.
If you have the habit of recording your dreams, check out your last few weeks notes and share them with Draumar.
If you still think you don’t have dreams, collect what’s in the books of people who dreamed of a collective trauma. Or just write your thoughts on all this. The dream bank has opened and is waiting for your contribution to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the principle of anonymity applies. The data of those who send dreams are strictly confidential.
For more information, follow Draumar on facebook:
*Paul Bowles, Up Above the World, translated by Hilda Papadimitriou, published by Apopeira, 2009
** The term “Anthropocene Age” was introduced in 2000 by the Nobel prize chemist Paul J. Crutzen to describe the geological period we are in, during which humans exert a decisive influence on the planet.
Text editor: Betty Sabourdou