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Dreaming Together: An Interview With Claudia Six

Welcome dreamer! Have you ever noticed what curious things dreams are? Dreams are windows to other lands, so distant from our own. They are born from our memories, experiences, thoughts and feelings. They seek to comfort us, to scare us, to allow our minds to wander all from the comfort of one’s own bed. Dreams are infinite possibilities and universes built and destroyed in a matter of seconds all from the confines of the mind. Some may consider dreams to be intangible things, mere concepts and functions of the mind. But Claudia Six makes dreams become a collective reality.

On 10th May 2023, Claudia Six set out to create ‘Connective Dreaming’, a project like no other. Her goal? To create a shared dream experience between herself and many others across the globe. ‘Connective Dreaming’ was built in the hopes of many strangers being able to meet and connect in the nowhere land of dreams. This ambitious project transformed Claudia’s mixed media talents into a highly interactive and meditative practice creating an immersive experience for participants. So how did it all work?

Alongside an installation in Vienna, Claudia broke down the project into various chapters that could be followed over the course of the project. Participants engaged in rituals to guide them on their dream journey. Rituals included creating a Dream Companion and Dream Puppet to sleep with, nightly breathing exercises and noting down words associated with their dreams. Claudia Six was then able to craft the perfect bedtime story using the topics and prompts noted down from participants. Finally, after many rituals and her Goodnight Story firmly in place, Claudia and her many dream lovers were able to begin their final journey of dreaming together. Let’s chat with Claudia to learn more about the project!

[Connective Dreaming] was inspired by science but the project itself was really artistic. But when I collected the final dreams, I found the same topics appearing over and over again. Different dreams but similar stories

Interview with Claudia Six

Connective Dreaming is one of the most unique projects I’ve ever come across and I’d love to hear more about how this idea came about. What inspired you to do this project and where did this idea come from?

Thank you so much <3  I actually carried this project with me for quite a while. My first inspiration came during the Corona lockdowns in Vienna, when I read a quote somewhere from C.G Jung. In this quote he said (or at least that’s how I understood it) that the moment we close our eyes we are no longer an individual but we are one dreaming collective. We are connected through the language of symbols and there are no barriers between us anymore. That sounded inspiring in so many ways. I love finding ways to feel connected to others without actually having to go somewhere. I met so many people online who I will probably never meet IRL and finding connections that way sounded like a wonderful idea to me. And also, with the lockdowns, the idea became even better.

I then started listening to podcasts and did a bit of research on dreams (the new approach to them, since C.G. Jung might not be up to date anymore) and in one podcast I heard from Adam Haar Horowitz, who was at that time a PHD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was researching dreams. His approach was so creative and interesting, since he was researching dream infusion or dream hacking, which means that you can control your dreams. I got in contact, asking him if he would help me work on that project and then I started to apply for funding, which I never got. And one day I decided to do it anyway.

Connective Dreaming feels like a very spiritual and mindful project with the rituals involved. Were these themes something you had in mind whilst planning the project?

I think the mindfulness came to this project quite naturally. But the reason is that everything that I am using, like breathwork and rituals, is actually science based. The only way to synch a group that will never meet in real life, is through rituals and trying to get them to do almost the same things at the same time. And repetition works. It works in the brain and that’s a fact. Interestingly enough the spiritual world and science world fit so perfectly together for this one.

Participants have a Dream Companion and are encouraged to make their own Dream Puppet to aid them on this journey. I’d love to learn a bit more about the Dream Companion and what this little guy is all about both as a character and how they guided those who participated in this project.

The Dream Companion is something like your guardian who will accompany you through this project. I think everyone needs something different when we think of someone who is by our side. I have a companion who I call on for strength, and one who is by my side when I need to feel excitement over fear. I gave them a face, so I have, like, a group of imaginary friends and I have them with me all the time. The Dream Companion is a start so to say. In this case it was also meant to be a reminder, the participants were asked to have it somewhere close to their bed, so that they will see it and remember to use their dream journal. And in the evenings to remind them of the breathwork.

The Dream Puppet should add a playful element. I mean, I could go on for ever about what puppets mean in so many different cultures and how loaded they are with meaning. So it was a bit of both. Playfulness and adding meaning and commitment to your journey.

Part of the project involved writing a Goodnight Story using the dreams and ideas shared by participants. How did you find the process of writing Goodnight Story and building a collective piece of written art?

INSANELY HARD :D I wanted to add all the key words that I found in the dreams people sent me but also needed to follow one storyline. I wanted the story to be a real goodnight story and not a surreal spooky one. So it was quite a challenge. But it was also nice to have an outcome I was happy with and so interesting to see how the words and experiences from peoples dreams become something new and one collective thing.

I love finding ways to feel connected to others without actually having to go somewhere. I met so many people online who I will probably never meet IRL and finding connections that way sounded like a wonderful idea to me.

What do you feel you have learnt/gained from working on this project?

What was really interesting was that I had the feeling it really worked. I mean, it might sound strange that it was a surprise to me but I knew that we couldn’t put people in an environment where we could really study their dreams. So it was inspired by science but the project itself was really artistic. But when I collected the final dreams, I found the same topics appearing over and over again. Different dreams but similar stories. I mean, that’s still no science at all and it’s also very likely to happen I guess. But I still enjoyed putting all the dreams in relation to each other and then send the “twin” dream to the other person. That was the last step of the project. People would get real life snail mail with a little dream from another person that was connected to their own dream. So the collective experience did happen, at least for me. I think for the participants the following was the most enjoyable part. For people in Vienna there even was an installation they could visit and I placed dream companions everywhere around the city to find.

For me, I definitely want to continue working more in this creative direction. Immersive, online, real life mixtures.

Claudia Six Social Media

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