karen elaine spencer : dream listener

August 14, 2006

dream as private property

My Dream
by Ogden Nash

This is my dream,
It is my own dream,
I dreamt it.
I dreamt that my hair was kempt.
Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.

homelessness and dreams
Dreams are invisible to others. a wholly private, personal world that the dreamer “owns”, as ogden nash writes—it is my own dream, I dreamt it. as such dreams are a personal resource that, in the terms of the market, are scarce. no dream is identical to your dream, your dream cannot be reproduced and only you can tell it. (choosing to not tell the dream can be as powerful as choosing to tell the dream.) your dream is yours, no-one can take your dream away from you, the dream is your very own private property with but one witness…you. here, you are the expert, the dream is yours.

This fact, of complete ownership, of complete privacy, means that the dreamer has something no-one else possesses. the dream is wholly bound within the dreamer…her intellectual property.

dream listener ethics

  1. dream listener honors and respects the person of the dreamer as well as the dream itself.
  2. dream listener listens to dreams. dream listener does not analyse, interpret, or engage in “dreamwork.”
  3. dream listener honors a dreamer’s decision to share or not to share a dream. privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed, unless waived.
  4. dream listener recognizes the dreamer as the “owner” of the dream.

Underpinning dream listener is the fact that anyone can invest in the act of dream listening—no special talent, training, or experience is necessary—the idea of dream listener is open to anyone. My own engagement in the project is both to nurture the idea/values of dream listener within the community through the involvement of the CRUM and homeless nation, while at the same time performing my own practice of dream listening (i.e., the long term one-on-one engagement of listening to the dreams of the participants.)
— karen elaine spencer

A version of dream listener, votre reve dans mon oreille will take place in october of this year (2006) at le lobe in Chicoutimi. The project for le lobe is a one month residency, and will result in a performance/installation at the gallery. Through le lobe karen elaine spencer will be engaging in a material experiential “field study” of dream listening thus gaining experience upon which future research in Montreal will be based. As part of le lobe residency she will be speaking about dream listener to school children.


The dream listener project is now associated with the Centre de recherche urabaine de montreal . The organization will function as an ongoing supportive structure for the dream listening project.

Daniel Cross, is the founder of homeless nation, a non-profit, national organization that hosts a web page at homelessnation.org. The relationship between dream listener and homeless nation may be one of a simple means of accessing a self-identified community of homeless persons through the web and through the team of homeless nation. Implicit in the partnership is the understanding that the project dream listener could be expanded, appropriated or even subverted by the homeless community.

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