Dreamscaping in End of Life Care

A new creative practice, Dreamscaping, is addressing the needs of End-of-Life families at home and in vigil by offering the patient and family members “a picture of a memory you have, or wish you had.”  In the Interview/Brainstorming Phase, a memory artist teases out long-forgotten joys and regrets. In the Creation Phase, magical thinking – by all present and willing – produces a storytelling narrative that is jotted down, and then later, visualized by the memory artist (in Photoshop as a digital photomontage). This involves re-contextualizing family photos into a physical dreamscape – which pre- or post-loss can be shared in campaigns (virtually in Facebook/email, or literally, say, imprinted on a T-shirt).  Designed to re-energize the patient and the bereaved, dreamscapes fill us with newfound purpose, hope and a call to action. The case studies shown here each reflect the original photos (provided by the family or patient) and the Dreamscape made for siblings, parents, children, partners, or in the last two, for the patients themselves.

DREAMSCAPE: Fred was incapable of procuring a photo of his wife, Phyllis, so we used strappy sandals as a stand-in, and wove a story around her frequent reminder to Fred to “put some grease on your hands: your hands are ashy.” Her favorite brand of hand cream is center stage on their favorite beach. Fred remarked, “She’s out there. I can see her forever drifting.”