Burning Man: exorcising personal histories through animating a dream

Oneirisms are dream-like experiences or qualities; often implying strange, waking reveries or hallucinations. They are not to be confused with onanism, which means something else entirely.

So, oneirism is the theme of the artist Eddie Plex’s new lo-fi short film Burning Man, created in collaboration with musician Sands. The video uses a mixture of different techniques to delineate a five-month journey into "memory training", aiming to remember a lucid dream the artist had when he was just five years old, back in 1997.

The dream he had was experienced on falling asleep after the young Plex’s aunt told him a story about a kid who fell in a well in 1978, who was never rescued. He describes his first lucid dream as "the most paralysing experience of my life," adding, "what I saw that night tormented me for the following months to progressively fade away in the end."

Last year, however, Plex read an article about long-term memory training – weirdly, this was 2018, exactly 40 years since the well incident. "I took it as a sign and began a five-month training process to go back into that dream and eventually some of those terrifying images (for a kid, at least) started to come back," he says.

"This video is me trying to exorcise such a pivotal moment in my personal history by making it real. All the elements in this experiment have a direct correlation with that dream – and most scenes are actually a carbon copy of what I saw in that late summer night, at the end of the last century."