The year 2020 emerged as a pivotal moment in modern history, in many overlapping and mutually reinforced ways. 2020 Dreams: Toward a New Understanding of the Dreaming-Waking Continuum is an interactive digital project that illuminates the dramatic and epochal events of that year as witnessed from the vantage of collective dreaming.
Using innovative tools of digital analysis, 2020 Dreams follows the 2000+ dreams of ten avid dreamers and interweaves the data presented in their journals with thousands of survey responses gathered over the course of the year. The dreams—about environmental problems, the COVID-19 outbreak, racial justice protests, the immigration crisis, economic upheaval, social media anxieties, US electoral politics, and more—reflect people's shared emotional experiences during a year of immense social turmoil. Many of the dreams are nightmares, some are strangely amusing, and others offer creative visions of hope for a future beyond the dire challenges of the present.
The project invites readers into an analytic dreamscape, reflecting the multiple dimensions of dream meaning through multilinear navigational paths and interactive data visualizations. Integrating digital methodologies with digital presentation, 2020 Dreams advances a new era of improved dream research methodology, and invites a wider range of people to participate in the field of dream analysis.
About the authors
Maja Gutman Mušič was a Fulbright Visiting Scientist at UCLA in 2021; she is currently a researcher at the Institute of Philosophical and Religious Studies and a lecturer in Media Studies and Humanities at Alma Mater Europaea, Slovenia.
Kelly Bulkeley is Director of The Sleep and Dream Database and Senior Editor of Dreaming: The Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams.
Sheldon Juncker is a dream researcher and software engineer focusing on creating open, analytical tools for the study of dream data, and cofounder of Elsewhere dream journal.
Dan Kennedy is cofounder of Elsewhere dream journal, freelance programmer, and linguist working with Australian Aboriginal languages.
Gez Quinn is a software developer committed to advancing the understanding dreams through the use of technology, and cofounder of Elsewhere dream journal.
Jennifer Lane is a dream research assistant, chiropractor, and alumni of Stanford University with a degree in Medical Anthropology and Anthropological Genetics.
"Combining daily news with nighttime dreams in a rare combination of ideas, 2020 Dreams makes an important contribution to our understanding of how our dreams help us process information about the state of our world. The digital presentation format is also useful for the reader, allowing different depths of exploration of the topic."
—Jayne Gackenbach Snyder
"A fascinating and widely engaging study of the impact of the social and political world on the content and processes of dreaming. Especially notable are the novel methods used to analyze and represent the relationships between dreams and worlds, and a sample of dreams that far exceeds those used in most previous studies."
—Douglas Hollan, University of California, Los Angeles
"Sixteen thousand participants, two sources of cryptic symbolism (dreams and the nightly news), and one year (2020). The brilliance of this unique digital project is matched only by its friendly and visually stunning design. If you're curious how the narratives in our personal dreams and our collective stories dance together, 2020 Dreams awaits you."
—Ryan Hurd, author of Lucid Talisman: Forgotten Lore