The ONEIROSCOPE

The ONEIROSCOPE is an interactive Twitter project that reflects my obsession with dreams and their disquieting poetry. Initially I invited people to request single-tweet dreams by replying to me with the word, “sleep.” I tried to provide tweets that would resonate with the recipients, by reading their bios and some of their tweets first, if I didn’t already know them. I got some very favourable responses from those who had requested dreams; I was touching some sort of mental nerve! Here are some examples of customised dreams:

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @monster_soup. You’re swimming under water. Impossible creatures surround you, sing to you. A star falls into the sea.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @DianaProbst. A renowned man of letters cycles past you, his academic gown agitating behind him like black wings.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @coffee_offline. The man of your dreams appears: mocha hair, espresso eyes, latte complexion. His mood: dark, bitter.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @jeffnoon. A man called Geoff Moon is masquerading as you, writing books. His silver face vanishes in daylight.

I also tweeted a lot of dreams from the imaginary (and vast) ONEIROSCOPE catalogue, addressed to no one in particular. This was quite a good way of creating interest in the ONEIROSCOPE before it caught on and I started getting inundated with dream requests. Here are a few of my favourites from the catalogue:

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 141. Days after your execution by guillotine, your head sprouts wings and flaps giddily towards the sun. Birds shriek.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 55. Total darkness. No sound. Just this: a hand, smooth, firm, caressing your cheek.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 204. You have mislaid your penis. This proves inconvenient.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 541. You wake from a nightmare, nauseous, hot. A shoal of rotten fish swims past and you thrash, suffocating, helpless.

As you can see, the tone of the dreams varies enormously, from the playful to the perplexing, from delight to horror. Many dreams are disturbing. Indeed, for a short time the ONEIROSCOPE transmitted only nightmares:

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @minafiction. The Coral Men are scratching at your door. Small fish pour from your nose and mouth.

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @TheBinkyAnnexe. Everything is weightless. Your body floats helplessly as you struggle to grab a bannister.

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @badbadpoet. The Bird King’s coffin is merely a cocoon. He punches his way out, radiantly rotten.

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @DianaProbst. You’re aboard a galleon with its beak-nosed captain. The sea is a broiling mass of blue rose petals.

You will notice from the above that even the creator of the ONEIROSCOPE is not exempt from its more unpleasant transmissions!

After a while, as the project gained momentum and popularity, I thought the ONEIROSCOPE would be more fun (and more of a challenge for me) if people could specify up to three words to be included in a dream. Here is an example:

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I have also created some ONEIROSCOPE artwork, in which I use bits of my dream tweets. I’ll say nothing about the pictures; you can see them for yourself, below.

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If you like what you see here, follow me on Twitter and ask for your own customised dream. Be warned, though: occasionally the ONEIROSCOPE transmits unsolicited dreams and, as you have seen, nightmares…

All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

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