Anna Rackard

Inspired by Francisco De Goya’s painting titled El Sueño (The Dream) c.1800, ‘Under into Somewhere’ takes the form of a series of large format photographic portraits of sleeping figures, accompanied by a sound piece inspired by the dreams the sleepers experienced, during their participation in the project.

Goya’s painting is beautiful, but unsettling, the subject is asleep, but she could just as easily be dead. The title is also ambiguous, is it a dream the sleeper is having or is she a figure from one of Goya’s own dreams?

Sleeping and dreaming are fundamental experiences we all share. We do most of our dreaming during REM sleep, at which time our brains are as active as when we are awake, and our bodies are largely paralyzed, a condition known as REM atonia. For many thousands of years people have speculated on the purpose of dreams, they were believed to be a way of communicating with the dead, they acted as warnings or messages from the gods, a way of predicting the future, in the 17th century ‘spectral evidence’, testimonies based on dreams of visions of the witness, were allowed in court during the European witch hunts. In his book The Interpretation of Dreams published in 1899, Freud believed that dreams were the royal road to the unconscious. Over 100 years later, despite advanced research and many new theories; why we dream still remains a deep mystery.

The photographs were taken at night while people slept in their own beds. I was not there when the photograph was taken, the sleepers opened the shutter before they dropped off to sleep and closed it again when they woke in the morning. While they slept, a light came on during the night and exposed the film. The sleepers had no control over how they were posed or appeared in the photographs. I had no control over where they were in the frame and whether they were in focus.