A sculpture I made based on a dream image.

We imagine we’ve lost the power of ritual. The old ceremonies, where symbolic actions had the power to change reality. Now when we talk about the rituals of modern life, we think of breakfast routines and cleaning the car on the weekend. But it’s not true at all. Our thinking is as magical as it ever was.

Advertisers know all about it. When we hear things like “L’Oréal. Because you’re worth it”, or “Be a rebel: give your bank the flick and choose a low interest rate of …”, those are invitations to ritual. They’re invitations to send a symbolic…

We begin to see that this over-familiar life, which has forgone all its symbols, is not life in its entirety. And it’s a wonderful time, right now, for sorcerers and saints, more wonderful than ever before.
Antonin Artaud, ‘Sorcery and Cinema’ (1928)¹

Video still, Possum (2008). Me sitting in my front yard.

Some Surrealist artists and writers claimed film and photography to be inherently surreal media. Writing in 1925, Jean Goudal wrote that “The cinema… constitutes a conscious hallucination” and that “surreality presents a domain actually indicated to cinema by its very technique”.²

To select part of the world, and frame it within the eye of the camera, leads…

Full moon over Katoomba station

I dreamt that I was late for the train again. I’ve been dreaming about that a lot lately. Sometimes I manage to stop time or recall the train by sheer force of will, other times the train is late as well, so I often catch it. It’s an effort though. I run the the station, I fly, I fight past obstacles on the way.

Usually I’m in Katoomba, my home town, heading down to Sydney. I’ve spent a lot of time at that station over the years, commuting to school, uni and work. Katoomba is where I sit in the…

Attempt to visualise my high school dream diary

The term “Quantified Self” was coined by Wired Magazine Editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in 2007. Wolf’s 2010 New York Times Magazine cover article is still seen as the defining “manifesto” of the Quantified Self movement. According to Kelly and Wolf’s website, http://quantifiedself.com, “Quantified Self is a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in gaining self knowledge through self-tracking”. The typical examples are devices like Fitbits, or the the daily step data measured by your watch.

Part of me always recoiled at the idea of defining myself in terms of quantifiable data points — there’s…

This is the second dream I ever wrote in my dream diary, when I was eleven or twelve:

“I drempt it was the holidays but we had all been called back to school to go to a fun park. On the bus there I was the last one on, and all except a couple of seats were taken. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Emma wink at me and pat the seat next to her then quickly turn away and look out the window.

I sat next to her and we started talking like we used…

Maybe they never told you that you could fly.

That somewhere, in a faraway land, you’re part of a story. Just like in the books.

But somehow, you always knew it was true. Maybe you saw the secret door once, in the park behind the bushes. But when you went back, it was gone. You are meant to find the way. Just pay attention to the signs (follow the footsteps in the grass).

I’m not sure what your land looks like, I’ve never seen it. There could be a castle, or maybe a little house. …

Alvy Ray Smith: Photo by Kathleen King

Alvy Ray Smith was the quintessential 1970s dropout. A native of New Mexico, he had been a New York University computer professor until abandoning his promising academic career to drive a white Ford Torino cross-country in pursuit of the muse of abstract art.

(Michael A. Hiltzik: Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age)

Alvy Ray Smith is best known as the cofounder (with Ed Catmull) of Pixar, and for his pioneering early computer graphics work. I first heard about him when I read Michael Hiltzik’s book ‘Dealers of Lightning’, about the history of Xerox PARC…


Oneironaut, programmer, artist of sorts. Likes to illustrate posts with ancient relics from behance.net/dannykennedy. Other things at dannykennedy.co

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