A magazine article about a small scale manufacturer of an edible product called acrylic butter. The article shows two images. One top left shows a woman in jeans and shirt with sleeve rolled up and Wellington boots. She stands near some trees in what looks like a farm. Other image is moving. Bottom right of the page there is a narrative voive over describing and showing how she is mixing some orange/red food colouring into a large vat of creamy coloured ‘butter’ which also seems to contain other ingredients like herbs, olives and sun dried tomatoes.
The thoughts occur as I read the article ‘why she feels the need to add extra colouring to the butter when it already looks good’ and ‘wow this is an interesting new product which is so small scale! Well done her’

Implied knowledge:
The butter is made from some production process involving some kind of insect but not dairy. It feels overall like a new product but not unfamiliar in the dream context. She seems relaxed and the setting is a ‘natural one’

Thoughts on waking:
Acrylic butter???? Acrylic is plastic isn’t it? What was that then?
How is that ok? Or natural?
Made me think about a few things

Thing 1:
Dreams are interesting particularly when they reveal named things. In this case the label for the product which was memorably called ‘acrylic butter’. The fact that they become labelled in the dream somehow makes them more meaningful.

Dreams presented through a media format – in this case the magazine article seem also more meaningful and the presentation of the magazine or tv screen acts to remove you, the dreamer from the direct experience of the content. So objectifying it through the medium. The magazine article format allows me to look at the subject with a kind of detached subjectivity and critical mind. Of course I know on waking that my mind has generated this format but my persona in the dream is defined as ‘reader’

Thing 3:
Relating to the subject ‘acrylic butter’ there is a line of thought that leads me to consider modern vegans. Of synthetically produced food that doesn’t offend the moral sensibilities of vegans or people who prefer to live a ‘natural’ life with ‘synthetic products’ vegan leather, quorn etc… Because in this article the setting was very homely, cottage industry style, the result seemed somehow even more natural although the name clearly alluded to something plastic and artificial. As if the dream is trying to make it clear that we should not be confused by the two things.

Potential inspiration for dream:
Yesterday Sam and Neil from fortunecats showed the Ma DMA group a video presentation of their work. One piece was particularly interesting. At first the film showed footage if people being filmed quite close up talking into or near the camera, doing things, walking in the rain and kids moving around, in this way there was something dark and eerie about the presentation. The screen filled edge to edge with images with uncomfortable viewing angles. The feeling as viewer was of uncomfortable immersion in the film.

Then we cut to a scene of a white tiled room where at the far wall the same film was projected. I noticed immediately the change in viewing perspective I was experiencing. Now I didn’t feel the intensity of the film directly. Instead I was placed in the shoes of the gallery visitor entering the room and viewing the screen. Thinking about it now I see that the viewer must have experienced what I had also experienced but just pulling back allowed me to review the interaction of viewer with artwork from the ‘outside’ removed emotionally from the work and safe.

So the dream of reading the magazine was effectively doing the same thing. As an outsider to the acrylic butter production story I was able to digest the ‘idea’ of it whilst not experiencing the emotional intensity of the experience. How different would it have been if I had instead been the lady in the farm? If it was my butter? If I was the photographer or reporter? But I was none of these. I was the reader. What I was able to think about in the dream was in relation to the context of the dream reality where products like ‘acrylic butter’ were innovative new products in line with a new wave if food production which put the latest genetic, chemical, biological, synthetic food technology into the hands of small businesses and ‘natural’ health and lifestyle conscious producers. As if this was as common as organic Sussex Brie.
Today we see the hacker/maker culture reaching into a DIY culture of online how-to’s on just about everything. All available on demand vis youtube, instructables and countless Apps, all ready for any small time entrepreneur to turn these ideas into their livelihood.
Can dreams offer and inspire critical thinking and ideas which leaf to questions about what we consider ‘norms’ ?

Acrylic Butter

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