Conditioned by Dreams in Bergslagen

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Artists and filmmakers Per Huttner, Van Che and Fabien Guillermont will create an interdisciplinary film workshop at Teatermaskinen in Riddarhyttan September 5-11, 2022. The workshop will lead to the production of a documentary film. During the workshop seven people will live and make short film sequences based on the dreams that they dream during the workshop.

In the group, we are curious to see how working practically with filming their dreams influence their nightly lives. What kind of feedback loops between sleeping and waking lives become visible? Together we use the film medium and dreams to make invisible values visible – values that are so fundamental to us that we are unable to see them.

Each of the seven days of the workshop repeats the same pattern and process:
⁃The group members share breakfast together. They present and discuss their dreams of the night.
⁃ They agree on one of the dreams to film during the day. ⁃ They write a script, organise props and costume and other practical details they need to film the selected sequence.
⁃ They shoot the film in the theatre (which will provide them with lights, projections and other tools that enable them to visualise their dreams. But it will also put into play film’s historical relationship to theatre.)
⁃The sequence is edited quickly (while the group takes a break).
⁃ The group has dinner together discussing the day’s activities.
⁃ They watch what they have filmed during the day in the theatre.
⁃They go to bed.

A Documentary Film
The processes at the workshop will form the foundation for the documentary film. The film mixes two kinds of images: The first kind are fictional and are created by the participants of the workshop. The second kind depict the process of creating this fiction.

So, which is the narrative that unfolds in the documentary? Some days we wake up and there is a bad feeling in our bodies. This bad feeling usually leads to unfortunate actions. We might spill our morning coffee, argue with a family member and miss the bus to work. It is as if nothing that we do that day goes right. Other days we wake up happy. And then the whole world smiles towards us. No matter what we do, everything seems to go right. The way we wake up somehow seems to define our day.

The story told in the film revolves around what happens at night and that makes us wake up in a specific mood. Collectively we investigate when and how these changes take place while we sleep. Is it only when you sleep badly that or when you feel worried or haunted during the night that you wake up equally badly? And the opposite, what is it that makes you wake up with a smile? Does it depend on your dreams or some other internal processes? Do the dreams support our well-being? Can they influence the rest of our day? If dreams reflect, or are influenced by our daily activities, is it possible to influence them in such a so we are more likely to wake up with a smile

The project develops a better understanding of how external influences condition us to think and act in certain ways. Conditioning has both positive and negative aspects. Conditioning supports us in the process of becoming who we want to be. (Like certain teachers influence and shape our lives.) Conditioning can also be a way for an outside agent (e.g. social, political or economic interests) to influence people to act in certain ways. (Like propaganda influences our lives).

The project is aesthetic in nature and therefore the team is especially interested in how artistic expressions (film, music and theatre) condition and influence human actions. We will try to see if talking, writing, filming and editing movies, alter the course of the participants’ dreams. The result will be directly understandable while watching the final documentary. If an element from the previous sequence appears in the next one, it means it has been directly taken in by the dreamer’s unconscious, and then expressed during the following night.  Secondly, by directing and editing the sequences together, we are looking for connections. We are interested in understanding the potential parallels between films and dreams. It has often been noted that there are many similarities between the film cut and the logic of dreams. In both dreams and the film cut, the dreamer or narrator can easily move from one setting to another with great ease. By turning one’s gaze, walking through a door or a similar “gate”, the person can move from a well-known domestic setting into a desert, deep forest or a maritime scene. These changes or cuts are both invisible, we do not notice them during the dream or the film. We will use the film media to recreate this shape, highlight and question this moments and their logic.


Berit Engman
Toan Van Che
Fabien Guillermont
William Becker
Jonas Engman
Frederique Roy
Josefin Arnell
Leila Anna Christina Salvesen
Per Hüttner

The project is supported by The Swedish Arts Council, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and Region Västmanland.