Dreaming of Places You’ve Never Been To Before
I took the Piccadilly line to South Kensington station searching for the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. Once I realized the premeditated dream task was taking place I slowed down and allowed myself to immerse completely in my surroundings. In the distance I saw Buckingham Palace with tourists outside its gates. A small park with men and women sleeping on their backs. It was gloomy, but the sleepers seemed peaceful under the gray clouds.
Out of interest I willed a map of London into my hands to test whether I could read it. I couldn’t read the street names, but large landmarks were easy to spot. I was close to the gallery, but I wanted to take my time. The stability of the dream was serene, smooth and would remain that way as long as I didn’t overexert myself.
A group of teens were huddled outside a Pret, the eldest a tall girl with extremely long legs smoking a cigarette. I let the wind carry away the map and approached them.
“Do you know where I can find Saatchi Gallery?” I asked, interrupting what appeared to be a very good joke.
A young boy came out of the group and said, “We’re goin’ that way in a minute. You can follow us if you like.”
I walked beside this crowd of giddy teens growing increasingly curious about this new exhibition called Newspeak: British Art Now I’d read about on Sunday morning. Although the article didn’t contain any images to spark my interest, the idea of new group of rebellious Brit artists seemed intriguing. If I managed to keep the dream from shifting I would be able to see the exhibition before I’d actually seen it.
“Nearly there,” said the boy.
We reached a busy corner where the boy’s father was waiting. The other teens left without a word.
“Two more traffic lights and make a right,” said the father, smiling. He continued to speak, but my body was already following his instructions.
The building resembled The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square with large columns progressing along the front. But the entrance was missing. While I searched for another form of access I smelled the familiar scent of platanos cooking in oil. I passed a window and saw my mother. I found the door that lead into her old kitchen.
“You’re just in time,” she said. “I don’t have any cream, but I do have sugar.”
“I’ll be right back,” I said. My mother was happy. But I was aware that this memory was interfering with the immediate task.
When I exited the kitchen I found an enormous unfinished room. I removed a delicate panel covering the entrance to a chamber; it lead to empty space with a single brown door without a knob. I continued until I was inside an immense gallery. I saw people hanging upside down from the ceiling. A painting that reminded me of Che Guevera. Surrealists paintings that played with my perception. Were the figures moving? A sculpture of a woman’s face and a ghostly expression that caused me to look over my shoulder.
I was alone. A few feet ahead a door opened for me. I welcomed the guidance and entered a vast room with a long maple table in the center. A woman called Mary dressed like the Queen skipped toward me and placed charcoal, pens, crayons, and acrylic materials in my hands. I couldn’t hold them all so they dropped on the floor.
“Well, what are you doing?” she asked. “You are here to create. Create, create, create!” she continued, hopping about like a crazed kangaroo.
A group of women came in with a purple sofa. They placed papers and empty canvases at my feet.
“There’s no excuse,” they sang. Creepy synchronization. “You must stay here until we fill the room with these,” they continued, holding up dozens of cards and books filled with odd illustrations. “As many as you can!”
On my knees I hovered over a large canvas and painted a map of my journey to this place. Soon the room was filled with the sound of charcoal snapping and bony fingers spreading paint onto the walls. After noticing how the room quickly crammed with our artwork I mumbled something under my breath and escaped getting fresh paint on my palms. I found my way back to my mother’s kitchen and sat down embracing the memory of sweet childhood.