3. In sleep
present to them
Documentation of installation at Collective Gallery by Tom Nolan
In sleep it made itself present to them (2021) was an immersive installation that explored what it might mean to dream together. Composed of sculptural objects and a sound work, the environment created a dreamscape of ritual sites, moments of rupture and social dreaming. The work was conceived as a stage set; centring sculptural objects, colour and sound, and suffused with theatrical light to create a sense of the breaking dawn; a period of transition; a time for renewal.
Modular pillars referenced the ancient site of Persepolis in modern day Iran, serving as seating and plinths for stylised props that draw from archival research around artefacts, folklore and family histories. Persepolis was ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and while the function of the site is contested, it is probable that it was built as a ceremonial complex to celebrate the spring equinox: the dawn of a new season.
Working collaboratively with sound artist Claude Nouk, the audio work reconstructed fragments of a conversation with my mother Hamideh Heydari-Waite, a psychotherapist based in London. Our discussion looped around practices of social dreaming. In contrast to Western culture, where psychoanalysis’s dominance has rendered dreams as almost solely reflecting an individual’s inner life, many cultures incorporate dreams into the fabric of their waking realities, recognising their potential for communal revelation. In sleep it made itself present to them is a translation of the Farsi phrase tou khaab behesh zaher shod referenced in the sound piece, referring to collective, revelatory aspects of dreaming in some Muslim and Zoroastrian cultures. Listen to an excerpt of the sound work below.
In sleep it made itself present to them was commissioned and exhibited as part of Collective Gallery’s Satellites Programme as a solo exhibition at Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and then again as part of group show The Age of the Dreamers is Over at Grand Union Gallery, Birmingham.
Documentation of installation at Grand Union, Birmingham as part of The Age of The Dreamers is Over by Patrick Dandy