Photo credit: Peter MacCallum

Oneiric: of or relating to dreams or dreaming. [GK oneiros dream] OED

“In the Unconscious, nothing is brought to an end, nothing is past or forgotten.”
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams

“Just as ‘the metropolis’ itself does not exist, and can only be understood through its various manifestations, so too there can never be any exhaustive method of ‘knowing’ any metropolis. All there can be are a series of strategies or tactics, engaging with different examples of the metropolis at different levels, pursuing a range of theoretical models.”
Neil Leach, ‘Introduction,’ The Hieroglyphics of Space

“At least one moment of passage, one it will hurt to lose, ought to be found for every street […] finding it, learning to cherish what was lost, mightn’t we find some way back?”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

“But is not this, too, the city: the strip of light under the bedroom door on evenings when we were ‘entertaining’.”
Walter Benjamin, ‘A Berlin Chronicle,’ Reflections

“When you start pulling your subject matter from your own unconscious, it hits coincidental bells in other peoples’ unconscious that you don’t know you’re going to hit, and that they don’t know you’re going to hit either.”
Michael Anderson, Documentary Interview

OM: the oneiric metropolis represents a convergence of three of the more dominant tropes of the 20th century: the dream, the city, and the archive. It is a meditation on the interpenetration of life, dream and memory, as mediated through the photographic image, and the interplay between the unconscious, the traumas of urban existence, and our relentless documentation of every facet of our everyday lives.
an apparatus for containment

OM contains every city
an archival device
OM archives without distinctions
nocturnal terrain of liminal inhabitation
OM is the space of supine wandering

OM is an ongoing project. Originally intended as a single archival box of text and images, it has continued to grow in both scope and definition. It is an imaginary city constructed out of bits and pieces, the litter and the letter of that vast cosmopolitan metropolis of the globe that we carry around in our heads. The project for YYZ presents a projection of selected images from two boxes of the archive : Box 2, shadow cities; and Box 10, annotated cities.

shadow cities
There are shadows and shadows of shadows. There are captured apparitions who continue to circulate through our lives and dreams. One day they were going
somewhere and suddenly someone imprisoned them in a postcard city. We don’t know who they were or where they were going, or what they were feeling or wishing or thinking. A man was crossing a bridge. A girl was waiting for a bus. Someone was riding a bicycle. The next thing they knew, they were in shadowland. Their only hope of escape is in irretrievable destruction. Until then, they wait, silent and frozen, occasionally making a surprise cameo appearance in someone else’s dream.

annotated cities
They are envoys from unknown cities of the past –
anonymous agents who abandoned the message in a
bottle in favour of notations on a shadow. The information may be anecdotal or redundant, mundane or poignant, enigmatic or prophetic, but it demands to be read. You will answer them in your dreams, even as you find yourself scrawling cryptic messages across your own desperate photographs…

DONALD RANCE works as a librarian in the research library of the Art Gallery of Ontario. His bookworks and multiples represent an ongoing investigation and documentation of the poetry of evanescence in the private and public rituals of everyday life. He collects discarded photographs and floaty pens.

SHANNON ANDERSON is the curatorial assistant/registrar at Oakville Galleries and board member of YYZ Artists’ Outlet. She has curated a number of projects for Oakville Galleries, including their 25th anniversary party, Soft Passages.