Dream Vision: Film and Theatre of the Mind

Film and Dreamscreen

 Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
- Dante, The Divine Comedy

We can think of dreams as internal movies, with images projected onto a dreamscreen within the theatre of the mind. As with literary narratives or screenplays, themes or subjects of dreams can be categorized into genres. Dream research provides access to individual and national dreamscreens and their dream visions, myths and fictions.

The International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) website is organized to evoke a virtual drive-in theatre, where the movies we are watching are the very stuff our dreams are made.

It is meant to be seen as a descendant of the allegory of Plato's cave; our dreams, our shared texts and the site itself are all "virtual reality" - just like the shadow images on the cave wall. But how we view the movies, and the discussions we have about them, and the dreams we dream about them, tell us much about who we are.

The Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye in Educated Imagination observes that "Art according to Plato, is a dream for awakened minds, a work of imagination withdrawn from ordinary life, dominated by the same forces that dominate the dream, and yet giving us a perspective and dimension on reality that we don't get from any other approach to reality.... This is the myth-making power of the human mind, which throws up and dissolves one civilization after another."

The website is designed as a mythopoetic labyrinthine road, an oneiric (dream) journey into the darkness in search of the light which is the central guiding metaphor of all western literature, life writing and dreaming. The story of history begins with humanities fall from plenitude , and whose shattered fragments generate humanities need for narrative and interpretation. The quest for the centre is analogous to entering into a literary labyrinth. The allegorical centre represents the need to find ones' way back to the poetic spirit and the garden. Following this poetic train of thought one finds in Christian mythology the labyrinth can be decerned in the narrative of Percival's search for the grail. Judaism (ie via the Kabbalah) and Islam believe that dream vision provides a stairway to heaven.

The IIDR has attempted to trace the outlines of this poetic cosmological labyrinth and the allegory of the human journey from darkness to light. The dream makes visible and audible the allegorical codes of cultural inheritance and production of meaning and life writing, specifically romance, comedy, tragedy and satire. As a hypertext (nodes, linkages) the dream interpretations section is intended to bring into focus the rites of passage and communicative pathways of the allegorical production of meaning within the cultural stages of everyday life. The Dream Visions found in the interpretations section represent and reflect the communal poetic currents of enchantment and disenchantment.

When the theatric spell of enchantment of communal living fails, disillusionment with social reality is the result. Disillusionment and alienation effects are unconsciously acted out on the communal dreamscreen and more consciously expressed through psychopathology, poetry, theatre and film. In the archive of dreams the IIDR has collected there is a growing multitude of national social problems found in dreams which include; rape, abuse, addictions, violence, crime, corruption, fear, prejudice, conflict of right to life versus freedom of choice, pornography, hate crimes, conspicuous consumption, alienation, militarism, cultural and media imperialism etc.

So you are invited to enter the variety of theatres of the dream and dream visions and find in them a sublime and transcendental experience which allows you to go beyond the limits and confines of cultural imaginations allowing you to affirm your own creative dream vision. 


The IIDR website as the dream is designed as a virtual art form. Some literature that provides background to the artistic concepts employed for the website are provided below.

  • R G Collingwood, "Principles of Art"
  • Susanne Langer, "Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling"
  • Elisabeth Lenk, "Die Unbebwusste Gesellschaft" (The Unconscious Society)
  • Otto Rank, "Art and the Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development"
  • Erich Neumann, "Art and the Creative Unconscious"
  • Walter Benjamin, "The Origin of German Tragic Drama"
  • A Boal, "The Theatre of the Oppressed"
  • M Bahktin, "The Dialogical Imagination"
  • Roland Barthes, "Mythologies"
  • Martin Buber, "I and Thou"
  • George Steiner, "After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation"
  • Nancy M Malone, "Walking a Literary Labyrinth: A Spirituality of Reading"
  • Umberto Eco, "The Search for the Perfect Language"
  • Hugh Dalziel Duncan, "Communication and Social Order"
  • Robert T. Eberwein, "Film and the Dream Screen"
  • August Strindberg, "A Dream Play"
  • Pedro Calderon, "Life is a Dream"
All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.