Mert Akbal: Dream as Visual Expression


The alternation between dream and awake states creates a contemplative fictional life as an intermediate position. Dreams are subjective and volatile worlds of thought, which can be experienced as non-intersubjective and immersive. There are many analogies between non-mimetic forms of artistic expression and dreams. And indeed there are artistic possibilities of depictions of dream experience (Kreuzer 2014). Van de Castle pointed on the similarity between the dreams and films as follows. He stated that dreams and films have many features in common such as moving visual images, changes in settings and characters, spoken conversations, perceptual distortions, temporal discontinuities or flashbacks. (Van de Castle 2011, p.12).

This talk will explore the expressive nature of dreams related to visual arts. Humans -and other mammals- usually have an auditory organ of perception (ears), an auditory organ of expression (vocal tract) and a visual organ of perception (eyes). However, we lack a visual organ of expression, which can be compared to a monitor. My theory links visual mental imagery in general and dreams in particular with this missing visual expression organ. In my opinion this organ is still in evolution. Because dreams and visual arts resemble each other in many ways, such as creating imaginative worlds using a visual language with dramatic presentations, symbols, allusions and ironies, I propose that visual arts have emerged as a prosthesis for this missing visual expression organ.