Saturday, June 04, 2005

Deep Duck

I am constantly plagued by weird dreams. There are a few in particular that continue to linger and bother me. I know everybody has weird dreams from time to time. Normally you forget your dreams as soon as you wake. Or at most they lose their power a few minutes after you wake. What’s so unusual is that these dreams, while they make absolutely no sense whatsoever, continue to bother me for days, even weeks after I’ve had them. Take my duck dream for instance:
There’s a short man in a white minivan who has a white duck with a bright yellow bill. He’s attached a small camera to the duck’s head. Actually it’s just a little flash-bulb that floats over the head of the duck, but in the logic that only exists in dreams; I understand this bulb to be an actual camera that the man has fastened to the duck’s head. I sense the duck is somewhat unhappy about this arrangement, and I wonder, “Why the hell did this guy put a camera on a duck’s head?” Well, the man releases the duck, which wildly flaps and flys about, and at random intervals the bulb flashes as the camera takes a picture of whatever the duck’s head just happens to be pointed at. After a few minutes of this the man recaptures the duck (which can never seem to get away from the man) goes into his minivan and develops the pictures.

This is where it gets weird. When he comes out he’s looking at the pictures and oohing and ahhing over the deep mystical wisdom of the wondrous duck who apparently has taken some profoundly meaningful photographs. When I look at the pictures, I see (as you might expect) a bunch of out-of focus, poorly cropped, images of mundane things that were randomly photographed from a duck’s-eye-view. But when I explain this to the man he gets upset and insists the duck is a great and wise duck and the photos are amazing works of art. And suddenly a crowd of people are there oohing and ahhing over the photos – and paying homage to the great and wise duck.

I tell them all they are nuts and that the man should leave the duck alone, but no one will listen, so I leave. Except that whenever the man releases the duck – the duck follows me – so I never get away from the madness. I think the duck followed me because it knew I was the only one who would be willing rid him of the stupid camera. But I never do, and the man always recaptures the reluctant duck and develops more photos and gathers a greater crowd of duck-fans. There was something else going on when the duck happened to fly into a building, but this is where I woke up so it’s all unclear.
As strange as this dream is, what’s stranger is that I am STILL PISSED-OFF about what the man was doing to the duck, and the fact everyone insisted the photographs were profoundly meaningful. It’s been almost two weeks since I had the dream, and I’m still thinking about it. The dream seemed so important when I woke, I just lay there forever trying to get back into the dream - hoping to find some resolution or understanding. What is it that makes such a surreal experience so compelling to me?

This is worse than when I had that dream where I had sent myself a message from the future telling me it was vitally important I build a time machine:
What sucked was there were no instructions in the message as to how to actually build the time machine, and I was deeply disturbed as to why I might have done this to myself. In the dream, I had my father and a team of highly trained accountants working on the problem, but we were getting nowhere. (I have no idea why they were accountants but such are my dreams.) At one point, I was yelling at the accountants, overcome with a sense of urgency – “Damn it men! I needed this thing built YESTERDAY!” and then one of the accountants, appropriately clad in think rimmed ‘birth-control’ glasses, a white shirt complete with pocket-protector, black tie, and high-water pants (actually he looked a lot like Michael Douglas from Falling Down) - Anyways he tells me, “Actually sir, once we complete the project, we will have it yesterday – it’s a Time Machine after all!”
“Oh, yeah” I realized, suddenly calm, and then I woke up.
But for some reason, even after I woke I remained disturbed as to why I would send such a message without instructions. Ridiculous I know. Still, somewhere deep down I’m convinced that these dreams are somehow important and I’m a fool for not understanding.


Blogger TwistedNoggin said...

Art with a gimick and someone pretentious enough to convince everyone it is profound goes a long way.
Subtlety and anything truly profound can never be widely reccognized as such because masses want obvious crap.

I could paint a big, bare, butt and call it a statement on our socialogical decline rendedered in garbage with the juxtoposition of this with that and the crowds would eat it up.

The duck dream makes me think of that.
Then again, perhaps the duck was profound and he followed you to make a statement.

6/06/2005 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6/06/2005 8:43 PM  
Blogger Dædalux said...

Maybe you're both right. I think it's interesting to assume the duck was really profound, or at least that there was something to be found in the pictures by those willing to look hard enough. 'Beauty in the eye of the beholder' and all that rot. Still I think it was something to do with not being so ridiculously open-ended that you don't search for beauty and meaning for yourself. It was as if we all expect these things to come to us prepackaged for our comsumption - to the point everyone's lost all perspective.

But seriously, I need to stop taking my dreams so seriously. They're just dreams - and they're not wrought with any more meaning than I'm willing to ascribe to them. Maybe if I worked harder to make my life as interesting as my dreams I wouldn't need them so much.

6/07/2005 11:46 PM  
Blogger Steve Ranson said...

This is, without a doubt, the best blog posting I ever read!

6/08/2005 11:49 PM  
Blogger The Grey Ghost said...

Artists who promote their work as profound, but never offer any public insights as to why it might be profound, certainly belongs under a degree of scrutiny. Yet, interpretation works on an individual basis. Whether an artist provided a profound meaning for a work or not, a viewer might recognize and interpret some profound statement from the canvas (having never needed the arist or anyone else to tell him there was something there to see in the first place). The power of suggestion aside, people will see what they will - and that's the endless beauty of sharing creative work. Someone will always see something, and who are any of us to say that it's not really there?

Sometimes, life works this way.

6/13/2005 1:01 PM  
Blogger Aanen said...

Why not get a duck, train it to wear a camera on it's head and put it on a lake?

6/13/2005 2:49 PM  
Blogger Amie said...

Here's my favorite part:
"This is where it gets weird"

I think all of the above is likely true... who decides what is profound? Profound means deep meaning, right? So if it means nothing to you but blurry pictures... then it's not profound. We don't get to decide what is deep to the rest of the world, only to what strikes ourselves that way. (this was my biggest problem with high school English classes - don't tell me what the author meant to tell me, tell me what it meant to the author and then let me decide what it means to me)

6/14/2005 6:38 PM  

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