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: Phyllis reimagined at her writing desk, with Klumpy (who stars in her radio play), sitting in her lap. Of the process, son Mark says, "How we got to the Dreamscape didn’t feel fabricated. It brings out a type of magic realism, blurring the difference between past and present so that you get all these fantastical things that aren't normally there. After loss, there’s a certain amount of grief we all have, and I believe the Dreamscape desensitizes it."