Climbing Mount Everest on the back of a shark. Raising the baby alien that just popped out of her chest. Baby Jedi wizards doing back-flips around the grocery store.
These are just some of the peculiar dreams people have had while in isolation during the pandemic.
Two Toronto filmmakers are illustrating images from all those intense dreams for a collection they’re posting on social media. At end of April, almost a month after physical distancing rules were put into effect in Canada due to COVID-19, Hanna Jovin and Adrian Morphy put a call-out on Instagram: Have you been having pandemic related dreams?
“We’d hear anecdotally about people having crazy dreams. We were having them, and then we started to talk to our friends, our family and realized that a lot of people were starting to have these much more vivid dreams that usual,” Morphy said.
According to experts, our dreams are likely going into overdrive because of increased stress and anxiety in our waking life. Even our worst nightmares serve to help process the emotions we feel during the day, and thanks to the new coronavirus pandemic, there’s a lot to process.
“Because the virus is such an invisible thing,” Jovin said,“I think a lot of us are dreaming up these scary visuals. Sometimes they’re animals, sometimes they’re natural disasters, to kind of visualize the threat.”
Both Jovin and Morphy went from working full-time to being unemployed because of the pandemic and wanted a creative outlet during their time in isolation.
They chose purple, blue and pink pastels for their colour palette, using the hues to create surreal, dream-like imagery based on submissions.
“There’s something really interesting about making the sky pink,” Jovin said. “If we were going to draw a tree, we wanted the tree to be purple, and we wanted it to feel really weird.”
They add a crumpled bed sheet texture over top the images to help the vignettes pop and come to life.
For each submission, they discuss with the dreamer what they think is the most striking scene and try to include all the most bizarre elements. They also try to get a full understanding of what led to the dream before they start to illustrate by backtracking through the person’s day or their thoughts before they went to sleep.
One submission, for example, was from a women who watched the movie Alien before bed. In her dream, aliens trying to “infect” her were chasing her on a spaceship. Another submission came from a woman who hadn’t shaved her legs in weeks. After watching a cooking show, she dreamed the hair on her legs turned into asparagus.
The pair has gotten more than 100 submissions so far and hope that once they get back to work, they’ll be able to create an animated documentary inspired by the dreams people are sharing with them.
“By illustrating them you can bring a lot of humour to them, and kind of make us laugh at our own thoughts,” Morphy said.
“It’s just another way of connecting with people, and feeling less alone,” Jovin said about the project. “It turned into something a lot more meaningful.”
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