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© johannn ryno de wet
© johannn ryno de wet
© sannah kvist © sannah kvist © sannah kvist
© johannn ryno de wet
© johannn ryno de wet © johannn ryno de wet
© johannn ryno de wet
© sannah kvist
© johannn ryno de wet

In this series I attempt to explore my preoccupation with mortality by depicting it as it manifested in a series of reoccurring dreams I had of a dystopic near future. I also explore the connection between my dreams and my reality.

According to Freud the psyche can be split into three parts. The ID; the deep unconscious part of our personality, responsible for our biological and instinctual drives. The Super-ego; responsible for our ideals and values learned from society. The Ego; responsible for managing the id and the super-ego. We are not consciously aware of these different parts of our psyche because it is held in check by our ego. In Freud's view, the purpose of dreams is to allow us to satisfy in fantasies the instinctual urges the super-ego judges to be unacceptable in some way. During the dream state the ego is only partially present. However, the ego still censors the unconscious from expressing itself clearly by distorting the true meaning of the dream, which is why dreams are often filled with symbolization.

During his research Freud found that there is a connection between some part of every dream and some detail of the dreamer’s life during the previous waking state. About two or three years ago I started thinking about mortality a lot. During the same time I started having a series of dreams that had a common theme which became a founding concept for my work. Most of these dreams were of a wasteland almost completely devoid of life and filled with unknown dangers. In some I’m in a city shrouded in smoke and ash. In others I roam the landscape looking for food and water. In one I witnessed an asteroid collide with the earth. There are other people, but they are a threat to me and in some dreams I am being chased by them. Although these people are invisible in my images there are signs or their presence. I believe that these dreams symbolize my fear of death and fear of the unknown. My hypothesis is that dreams reveal desires and fears that we’re not consciously aware of, but play an important part in consciously or subconsciously resolving issues in real life.

My methodology for creating these images starts with writing down the events of the dream in detail as soon as I’ve woken up. Sometimes I’ll make sketches to help me remember particular visual details. I use this information to look for subject matter in my environment that has elements matching those of the environment of the dreams. I combine images of different elements using digital manipulation in order to create the environments and the atmosphere I experienced in the dreams. The materializing of these dreams into images has been a process which helped me to understand myself better. My aim was not to show images as a direct manifestation of the subconscious, like the surrealists did, but to show the images manipulated by the ego disguising the true meaning of dreams.

We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping and yet studies have shown that we get very little physical benefit from sleeping. When we become tired of receiving and responding to stimuli from our environment, we want to fall asleep, withdrawing from reality into a state where unconscious content pushes into consciousness in the form of dreams. It could be argued that dreams are signals from our subconscious guiding us in the right direction.

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