Final project: Idea of inventing things within dreams

In relation to the theme of dreams and how the dream world could influence reality, I have chosen to conduct some research into how useful inventions which have maybe changed the world, were created from the inventors  dreams.

Some of the well known inventions created from dreams are;

The Sewing machine:

Elias Howe’s lock-stitch sewing machine was invented from a violent murder dream where by he dreamt that he got stabbed.

The Terminator Movie:

James Cameron Had a vivid dream while he was ill. He dreamt there was an explosion, and coming out of it was a robot, cut in half,  crawling toward a fleeing girl. He created a rough sketch of a robot from this dream and created a draft which developed in to the well known ‘Terminator’.

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity:

Apparently Einstein dreamt about cows getting electrocuted by and electric fence. Within his dream he saw the cows jumping back from th fence all at once, however when he asked the farmer what he saw, the farmer said he seen the cows jumping one by one. From this bizarre dream Einstein discovered how things appear different depending on where you are standing(The theory of Relativity).


Some of these examples are interesting to look at when comparing how such a bizarre dream can influence such a powerful idea or invention. It is also interesting how the minds of these creators work when in a dreamlike state. The unconscious mind is something that could be very intriguing to look into or even use as part of the narrative for my film.


London Trip

When beginning to make my two final pieces for the subject module I thought that it would be most beneficial for me to go on one of the London trips that the fine art department had to offer. I wanted to get some inspiration from some of the works of art in the Tate Modern and Tate Britain. I decided to have a good look around and photograph some of the works that I felt could influence my two final pieces in some way.


This piece by Louise Nevelson depicts a assemblage of wooden boxes with found objects placed inside each of them. The most interesting thing about this piece is that it is all painted matte black. According to the description Nevelson suggests that ‘the desparate elements are unified by being painted black, a coulour which will make any material look more distinguished’.

Based on this idea I have began to experiment with painting my sculptures all black or all one colour to make them look more distinguished.





James Turrell

The artist that has mostly informed my second final piece is American light artist James Turrell. I first came across this artist while looking at artists who use light in their work within the ‘indoor suns material project’. James Turrell again came up in a power point within the field module which I then decided to look more into the artist. I have created a previous post looking at the work of James Turrell here:

I have based the idea of my final piece based on these artworks

STUFE (WHITE) (1967)

The reason i have chosen to look into this artist is because of his large light installations. These installations are described as a surreal experience and almost dreamlike. For this reason i have decided to use the theme of light within my final piece. I planned on using simular techniques to create an intriguing light source in which I could use in my video.

Influenced by this artists work my idea was to make a dreamlike light source that could be positioned in untouched landscapes. In my video the light I used was a soft orb light which was adapted to work with a bright LED torch. This resulted in a soft bright light source I could use in my video.




Phyllida Barlow

I first came across the artist Phyllida Barlow when watching her interview/documentary on the BBC iPlayer. Here is a short summary on the documentary which I have taken from the iPlayer website.

Phyllida Barlow’s sculptures are massive and appear precarious. For decades, she has worked on a monumental scale with the most unmonumental materials. After many years of being ignored by curators and collectors, and against all odds, Barlow has only recently secured art-world acclaim. This year, she will represent Britain at the 57th Venice International Art Biennale in 2017.

Journalist Lynn Barber describes her sculptures as massive and precarious. The idea of the sculptures appearing as if they are not held securely is particularly interesting because when use with the large scale phyllida works with it presents the viewer a sense of fear and makes you question how the sculptures are structurally possible. It is this aspect of her work that has inspired me to look into her work further and explore how I could use this technique within my own artwork. I also like the use of everyday material Phyllida uses within he sculptures such as scrap wood and cement. These materials for me bring back memories of some kind of urban space.

Untitled:Upturned house, 2 (2015)
Untitled: Stack (2015)
Untitled: Screestage, (2013)

Phyllida Barlow’s work has informed the way I have designed and constructed my final piece. For example the different layers of the city are precarious like the work of this artist. I wanted to use this to give the feeling of the structure falling apart in a moment similar to the way you would wake up within a dream. The artworks below demonstrate where I gathered the inspiration toward making my final piece.

I have also used a similar techniques to construct the concrete blocks in the artwork. Phyllida uses polystyrene pieces covered in cement to make them appear as heavy cast concrete. This allows her to exagerate the preceriousness of her work. I have tried using this technique within my final piece to play on the feeling of a surreal urban space. These urban like materials present the viewer with memories of an urban environment, which is what I want my final piece to convey.



Giorgio De Chirico

Giorgio De Chirico (10 July 1888 – 20 November 1978) was an italian writer and artist who founded the scuola metafisica art movement.


I first came across this artist whilst reading through my formative assessment feedback where artists were advised for me to look into. I was instantly drawn to the work Giorgio De Chirico because I felt it had aspects that I am trying to achieve within my own work. For example,the cityscapes he depicts are not ones I would view as having everyday activity but rather haunted cities with little life.Within these mysterious cityscapes it seems as if the small towns or cities are almost similar to the places I would visualise within dreams. Therefore this artists work is a perfect example to look at when trying to create dreamlike cities or utopias, which is a key idea for my project.

The Great Metaphisician-1917

Another aspect of De Chirico’s work that inspires me is the way he uses human figures that merge into the mysterious cities. From this painting of The Great Meta-physician you can see that the figure on top clearly has no facial features, which plays on the idea of the subject having no identity. The idea of having no is really interesting because within dreams, identifying people and remembering faces sometimes proves difficult. The painting also depicts shapes, objects and buildings. These may be symbolic of the things you would see within dreams. It is interesting how De Chirico presents these symbols as one pile, similar to a still life rather than trying to visualise images of a dream like the way Salvador Dali would. This pile looks as if its being supported by somethings which suggests that they would fall otherwise.



Tim Noble and Sue Webster in relation to my final outcome

The artists that have inspired me towards creating my final piece of artwork are Tim Noble and Sue Webster, I have previously looked at these artist because of their work with light/shadows. Their work has inspired me to use the projection of shadows in my piece. I am drawn to this technique because I feel I can link it to my outside/inside project of ‘Dreams’. I thought about using the shadow to create a figure of a person sleeping, the shadow would also emphasise the dreamy atmosphere and the feeling of being asleep.

Here is some of their work that has inspired the design of my final outcome.

These artworks are assemblages of found objects. This gives the artwork meaning in relations to the shadow being projected. However in my piece I plan to create some kind of sculpture or small scale installation to shine light onto.

Victor Vasarely

I came across this artist while completing the ‘Light is colour’ Field hub. When looking at colour and the use of complementary colours in artwork this artist stood out the most for me. I also really the way his art creates optical illusions with the use of shape and colour.

‘Banya’, 1964

This piece is very interesting too look at, The geometric coloured shapes play tricks on my mind and I visualise the artwork in different ways. The use of colour in this piece is very clever as he uses complementary colours next to each other to create a visual illusion. The manufactured black on the outskirts of the piece create a strong contrast with the complementary colours.

In relation towards the ‘Light is colour’ Hub I want to try and use similar techniques to experiment with colour and shape.