Dreamweaving: A Singing Mask Ceremony


The basic concept of DreamWeaving is simple:

The accompanying soundscape for the presentation of DreamWeaving consists of recordings of over 50 dreams submitted to Ione's Dream Festival Dream Sack and to the Pauline Oliveros Foundation Deep Listening listserv, together with recordings made of birds in a woods in western New York State. The recordings were processed in various ways, sometimes rendering the sense of the words unintelligible in order to focus on their sounds. The bird song, with a prominent wood thrush, was dropped an octave in pitch and slowed down.

The audience was invited to contribute dreams at any time during the live presentation, with suggestion that they could do so in any of several ways: just by being present, silently, whispered, spoken aloud, sung, sitting at a live microphone so recitation would be amplified, or however else they might imagine.

The Singing Masks sound along with this tapestry of communal dreaming, guiding and translating the dreamscape into their language of ceremonial dreamtime.

While DreamWeaving was conceived in the spring of 2001 and much thought was given to it throughout the summer months, I didn't have the chance to start realizing the soundscape and recordings of the dreams until mid-September, after the infamous destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Almost immediately after that event, members of the Deep Listening community began posting dreams that they'd had just prior to 9/11 which were eerily prescient, along with dreams following the attack which were darkly reflective of the times. It was impossible for me to proceed with DreamWeaving without taking these dreams into account, so several of them were woven in and the ceremony presented for Ione's 6th Annual Dream Festival on October 6, 2001 became a memorial to not only all those killed in the towers, but also throughout the world by way of all the conditions which have generated anger and hatred. It was also presented as a prayer for peace, though within days the United States had begun its bombing of Afghanistan.

Because violence continues as an ostensible means to solve differences, I encourage listening to this work with thoughts of peace and compassion in the hope that our deepest dreaming selves may one day bring us together.

-Norman Lowrey, December 2, 2001

Presented again for Ione's 7th Annual Dream Festival, October, 2003.