Cloud Control: Excavating Memory and Dream Synthesis

Intro Image 2
DREAM DOME at Art Week 2019: Urban Art Village

CLOUD CONTROL explores the relationship between architecture and the dreamscape. The project uses the seminal texts 'The Interpretation of Dreams' by Sigmund Freud and 'Dreams, Memories, Reflections' by Carl Jung as academic footings to explore the significance of dreams through the lens of architecture.

This project seeks to find a middle ground between two disparate worlds, with the intangible nature of dreams problematic within the tangible practice of architecture.  

CLOUD CONTROL explores the maker’s own recount of her dreamscape through an analytical process of making. The project explores the dream through all avenues of making as it is translated across all perceivable dimensions: 1-D, 2-D and 3-D. The project is divided into two parts: EXCAVATING MEMORY and DREAM SYNTHESIS. 

EXCAVATING MEMORY is an exploration of the maker’s own memories and her dreamscape. Meanwhile, DREAM SYNTHESIS forces the intangible proposition into the tangible public sphere of an art event in the city.




The first encounter of the dream experience occurs during sleep. Often our memory of the dream is fragmented as it excels in turning thoughts into images. According to Sigmund Freud, relatively primitive images are used as forms of expression like proverbs, jokes and songs suggesting a symbolistic value to the images presented before us inside a dream.1 Excavating Memory is an exploration process of ideas and imagery produced by the maker’s personal dream experiences.

Each step is written as a subchapter which represents a new method of making that critiques and builds from the previous one. Meanwhile, a new dimension represents a new method as the dream evolves from its starting point.

The methods of this segment range from writing, drawing, and model making. The nature of which these processes react to space form a diagrammatic representation of our spatial dimensions; 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D which are typically spoken of in terms of mathematical spaces; it is a numerised and categorised type of space which we often work with, as architects.

  1. Robinson, 'Introduction', xiv.

D-2: Language and its images

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Ink drawing with Hanzi

The chosen method of drawing responds to the frustration and the disparity between the written recollections and the visual intensity experienced in the actual dream. Although the English written language of dreams hold symbolic value to the maker, these drawings instead look towards the maker’s mother tongue and makes use of the Chinese writing system, Hanzi.

From the maker’s personal experiences of growing up in a Chinese household, words were often taught through storytelling. Each symbol or word is imbued with a story often in correlation to the characters around it. Learning a language and its images becomes a process of making sense of the material world which feeds into the maker’s dreams.

Ink drawing with Hanzi

D-3: Landscape of Memory

Mt T 3
Mt. Taranaki digital contour

This leg of the project explores the role of architecture within the dream environment through model-making and focuses on bringing the dreamworld closer to architecture. As the dreamscape is brought into three-dimensional space, model-making speculates the role of the landscape and the spaces that dwell within it. The mountain places a location in the maker’s memories. While the built forms that dwell create a fragmented relationship between background and foreground. The model begins with an inspection of the landscape. While the mountain infiltrates a majority of the maker’s waking memories, Mount Taranaki too has a place within the dreamscape, existing as an excavated form.

The fabricated site is an inverse of Mount Taranaki’s waking form, where dreams and memories reside.

Model Spread
3-D model of dream recollections

The models are a three-dimensional form of recollection which uses drawing in a form that differs from the pervious exercises. To construct a model, precise measurements and careful considerations are taken in order to create an assemblage of planes and materiality. The model is a fragile structure where little materiality is shown, except where it matters. It only expresses the hyper-important details which appear in dreams that we often fixate on unconsciously during our waking lives.

Each recollection is pinned down to the foam model with thin music wire, as if the memories were to dissolve or float away if they were not captured and pinned down to the earth.

“The dream rises up from the ground of our inner life, as it were, and floats in our psychical space like a cloud in the sky, which any fresh breeze will quickly blow away.”2

  1. Freud, 'The Interpretation of Dreams', 10
  2. Freud, 40
Model Spread 2
3-D model of dream recollections


Based on a recollection of a dream, DREAM DOME is a temporal microcosm that will appear in the city centre for one night only during Artweek as a part of Urban Art Village. The installation is a construction of 38 umbrellas which forms the prosthesis organ for dreaming in response to the maker’s dream of rain. A series of animated images of the dream will be projected onto the structure to create a new synthetic experience of the natural phenomenon. The project aims to highlight the nature of everyday life where dreams, emotions and memories are often projected onto aspects of our everyday environment, such as an umbrella arises from the maker’s fear of rain.
Digital model and drawings for fabrication

Artweek presented an opportunity to force an intangible proposition such as a dream into the physical and public realm. The aim of the proposal was to take an image from a dream recollection in the previous model and fabricate it into the real world, in a real city. 

In order to test the boundary between dreams and reality, this part of the project went beyond a mere representation of the maker’s dream, and placed it in real-time allowing the public to interact with the installation. It addressed the restraints of model making, where the immersive effect of a dream was absent and therefore less successful in portraying motion and human interaction. 

Instead, the models were presented as motionless mute objects capturing moments lost in the past. Up until this point, the thesis project had been an investigation of memory. However, it is not enough to present our dreams solely as objects of the past. This Artweek project used memory as a design tool in the real world and addressed the real life constraints of time, budget, and labour. As the event was hosted in real-time, so were the preparations leading up to it. The design and fabrication process was also enacted in real-time with a working timeline towards the deadline of the project. A high degree of planning and orchestration of events leading up to the event was required to carry out the project. 

Artboard 1