Home from Home
Irish artists respond to COVID 19 restrictions

Treasa O'Brien


Artist Response

Recommended way to experience the soundworks:  Set up a decent speaker, turn it up, lie down, close your eyes, listen. 

Our dreams are the messy unmade beds within our psyches. In ‘lockdown’, people are recalling their dreams more often and more vividly.  This may be due to having more time to sleep, more full REM cycles, more reflective time to remember the dreams, or having more unconscious feelings that need processing and expression. 

How does the collective situation of the pandemic and the accompanying state and police measures affect our unconscious minds?  What might be happening in the collective psyche, that is not iterated in the conscious thoughts and conversations we have? As governments around the world introduce measures to police social behaviour, how are we internalising the cops in our own heads? 

Dreams are messy, tentacular nonlinear beings. We may awaken, haunted by the images and feelings we have experienced, but, if we don’t write it or tell it, it evaporates. The dreamers whose voices we hear in these sound pieces are sculptors who grasp, shape and push multidimensional images and psychological feelings into a textual narrative form. They try to pour the dream into a linear story, but it spills out, and some of it never gets in.  As the mind tries to recall the dream, we fabulate, and become creative in our effort to hold on, to contain the ephemeral.  

The dreamers send me their dreams by voice message. I listen closely to these voices and the mood they carry. I edit, match, loop and mix them with the dreamy compositions of Irene Buckley’s music.  They become an intimate connection, crossing over from our isolation, and including you, dear listener.  

The process of making these soundworks engages with the situation of lockdown; each collaborator contributes from physical isolation and the vector of the acousmatic voice carries the communication.  By closing your eyes and listening, you may encounter an other’s psyche, and create your own dream visuals, consciously and unconsciously. 

We come together in the encounter with the dreamer and the dream, the storyteller and the listener.  Dreaming together, could your dream become part of my unconsciousness?  Is my mind really my own, or is it part of a larger collective – do I do the dreaming or am I being dreamed by the dream? 

The artist wishes to thank those who collaborated and participated in dreaming these soundworks into being: 

Original Music: Irene Buckley 
Final Mix: Paul Rowland
Dreamers: Njabulo Mnyandu, Diane O’Reilly, Emma Fleming, Tara Robinson, Derval McDonagh, Brendan Egan 

About the Artist

Treasa O’Brien is an artist, filmmaker, writer and educator.  She has made several experimental moving image works exploring the themes of home and belonging, working as a solo author and in collaboration with others.  She studied sculpture in LSAD, then fiction film directing in Goldsmiths and later did a PhD on experimental documentary practice, exploring documentary as a performative act.  Her work has been shown in film festivals, cinemas, galleries and alternative social spaces internationally. 

Some of her previous artworks have explored dreams and memories such as The Art of Dreaming(performance series 2003-4), Turnip Story (super-8 film, 2010) and Town of Strangers (feature film 2019).