Onira – A Research Paper from Marta Garcia Cadena

Note: Sopranist Marta Garcia Cadena asked to publish this paper in lieu of being a live speaker at the 2017 Dream Your World into Being conference. During the conference – October 25 – 28, 2017 – we will show her performance piece trailer that came from this dream project.

Marta Garcia Cadena

There have always been two great passions in my life: music and dreams. Music has easily found the channel to fulfill itself: a choir to sing in from very young age, teachers who helped me to develop myself in singing, piano and directing, universities where I could study, and finally, an artistic profession. However, I lived the dreams from intimacy and personal curiosity. I always paid them attention, and I wrote them very often. 7 or 8 years ago, after listening to a radio show and watching a program in television of Catalonia about dreams, I wanted to satisfy this curiosity looking for the person who was at the forefront of that, Jordi Borràs, a psychologist specialized in dreams, based in Barcelona. Since then, I began learning through workshops, individual sessions or circles of dreams, that now still stimulate me.

Last year I finished a BA in Performance of Singing Early Music at the ESMUC (Catalonia Superior School of Music) with the project Oniria, a concert-spectacle where I decided to unite these two interests: music and dreams.

The project consisted of a written work and a concert. The written work was divided into three parts: a brief research about the impact of the world of dreams on another artists, a comparative study of a survey conducted in 454 people from all around the world about their musical education – which would deserve a separate article- , and a description of the spectacle Oniria, where I would use dreams as a creative tool to present my concert. In this article, I will focus on describing the third part, that is to sy, my artistic experience.

I am absolutely convinced that dreams can be a highly powerful creative tool, and Oniria is a try of using them as a main issue, in an experimental way, accompanied by a team of professionals excited about the whole idea. Jordi Pérez (stage director), Eloy Calvo, Eloy Bernal, Santi Molina (video art) and –Francesc Guzmán (composer) plus a small chamber group (violin, oboe, harpsichord and viola da gamba) and myself as a soprano-actress.

I started from the premise to accept the lack of storyline or an obvious connection between the different elements (text, music, video), since dreams are often an example of an obvious lack of sense, and this doesn’t make them less inspirational or evocative. In this way, I freed myself from the burden of giving sense to a series of musical pieces selected by myself.

With no need of controlling anything, I draw from trusting and giving total freedom to the people who I decided to collaborate with, allowing each one to reflect their art or experiment without many limits other than free inspiration from selected materials. It is worth saying that all of them were professionals of their fields, who, without a special contact with the world of dreams, found the idea of getting involved very attractive.

An audiovisual project

With the intention to create a concert more attractive to the audience and to play with another artistic field, I thought of collaborating with people from the world of video art, with which I was eager to work long time ago.

I suggested them the idea of getting inspired by the material I gave them in order to unite my interests. This material was the music they should accompany with images, with their content and textual meaning. On the other hand, here is the most experimental part, the oneiric result of my incubation based on these works.

The incubation experiment was carried out based on three pieces, but I will only describe the one I conducted with the baroque piece of the italian Seicento “Che si può fare” by Barbara Strozzi. For the incubation, I simply decided to work intensively with the piece one day in particular, meditating and thinking about the sense of its text, singing it and feeling it with maximum consciousness, and going to sleep with the melody and its meaning with the intention of observing and using the dreams of that night, in order to send them to responsible for the video. So that, he could also use them as an inspirational material and/or to provide me with material to use in the spectacle of creation.

Santi Molina from Namek Studio was responsible for illustrating this piece visually. The aria is part of a cantata from the book dedicated to Altezza sereníssima Madame Sofia, duchess of Bransvich and Luneburg, born princess of the Palatinate (Eight volume), dated on MDCLXIIII (1664) in Venice.

The text is about the emotion of the torment of unrequited love from the perspective of the victim who suffers it and the stars against him. The reiteration of the question enhances the characters’ desperation.


Che si può fare? Che? Che? Che? What can be done? What? What? What?
Che si può fare? What can be done?
Le stelle rubelle non hanno pietà, pieta, The rebel stars are merciless
Non hanno, non hanno pieta? Are they merciless?
Che si può fare? Che? Che? Che? What can be done? What? What? What?
S’el cielo non d’a =dà un influsso di pace If heaven doesn’t give a breath of peace
Un influsso di pace al mio penare. A breath of peace for my sorrow
Che si può fare? Che? Che? Che? What can be done? What? What? What?

Che si può dire? Che? Che? Che? What can be said? What? What? What?
Che si può dire? What can be said?
D’agl’astri dis’astri mi piovano ogn’hor. Disasters rain on me every hour
Che si può dire? Che? Che? Che? What can be said? What? What? What?
Se pérfido amor un respiro diniega If a perfidious love a breath denies
un respiro diniega al mio martire denies a breath to my agony
al mio martire un respiro diniega denies a breath to my agony
un respiro diniega al mio martire. denies a breath to my agony
Che si può dire? Che? Che? Che? What can be said? What? What? What?
Che si può dire? What can be said?

People who know me in the oneiric area, know that I use to remember my dreams very often, and I have long detailed stories and juicy scenes to tell.

During this work I have realized how counterproductive the will can sometimes be, and at least in my experience, can create a pressure in the oneiric world, far from achieving the objective desired, what it really does is to cause some kind of block. The way to obtain fruits from the unconscious is very sensible and subtle, and shows itself permeable when there is balance between focusing and unconcern for the results. In my case, to meet deadlines and academic requirements didn’t favor my experiment. It seems relevant to explain that during the ten months when I tried to obtain artistic material from my lucid dreams, I had none, and the day I decided to abandon my objective, an focus on ordinary dreams, I had a lucid one spontaneously.

For all that, the day after the incubation, I was a little disappointed with the material I had, which appeared to be uninteresting. In my case, I thought I had to use that little I had, and also focus on the sensation and thoughts I was having, so close to the dream state.

Therefore, that night I awoke at 6:00 and consciously, I went back to sleep singing the piece internally. When I awoke again, and as I didn’t have a long story to tell, I had a word in mind above anything else: the word Specter. In that moment of half consciousness, I didn’t clearly know the meaning of Specter, and beyond that meaning, all the ideas I had in that moment were also worthy of being considered.

I looked up Specter/Spectrum in the dictionary and its definition says:

1. Specter:
1. a visible but bodiless spirit, esp. one of a terrifying nature;
a ghost.
2. some object or source of terror or dread.

2. Spectrum
– an array of entities, as light waves or particles, ordered in accordance with the magnitudes of a common physical property, as wavelength or mass: often the band of colors produced when sunlight is passed through a prism, comprising red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
– this band or series of colors together with extensions at the ends that are not visible to the eye, but that can be studied by means of photography, heat effects, etc., and that are produced by the dispersion of radiant energy other than ordinary light rays. Cf. band spectrum, electromagnetic spectrum, mass spectrum.
2. a broad range of varied but related ideas or objects, the individual features of which tend to overlap so as to form a continuous series or sequence.

The first definition was the one which resounded me the most and connected me with death, los and pain.
However, at the same time, that meaning was very stained by my morning thoughts related to my change of perspective. I rarely remembered the idea of observing the same thing from different points of view and the idea of relativizing. The idea of a kaleidoscope came to my mind, looking through a hole, turning it, and watching colored stones creating beautiful geometric shapes, new and different every time.

Those little colored stones which create beautiful and changing images related to the definition of specter, were full of optimism and willingness of extracting the most constructive from the experience.
You can watch the resulting video on youtube: Che si può fare. Barbara Strozzi. Marta Garcia Cadena, soprano.

Santi Molina, starting from all this material, wanted to represent the idea of a Universe etched on the skin, a destination where “The stars were merciless” marked on the body of the girl who suffers all the consequences in her skin. I founded the idea beautiful and full of sensitivity. Naturally, the imagination of the audience can be enriched with many others limitless images, and that means, in the world of art like in the world of dreams, there is not only one interpretation, neither it evokes only one idea.


The concert-spectacle Oniria was planned to be represented in the chapel capella de l’Esperança in the gothic district of Barcelona.

With the intention of breaking the idea we have about the majority of churches, where the benches are placed facing the altar separated by a narrow aisle, Jordi Pérez, the director, wanted to place the benches laterally on both sides, facing the center of the nave. In this way, the expectations of the audience were changed putting them in a different and new situation, creating a central space which becomes the stage, avoiding focusing on religious symbols that usually can be found at the altar.

Regarding the objects, we used the beautiful furniture of the church, and the rest was collected through relatives and friends. Some tables, a carpet, a rocker, an oil lamp, candles, and my own dreams notebooks gave a special magic to the space, and they became the attrezzo of the spectacle.

Regarding the audiovisuals projections lanned, we needed a screen. Jordi Pérez imagined it hanging from the chorus of the church, in a way that the audience would walk below it. We thought about using a white sheet, because of the obvious connections with the world of the night, but, finally, we decided to use a regular screen and not losing quality of the projections at all.


Since I’ve been writing my dreams for many years, we decided that the text of the spectacle was a choice of personal dreams, with the idea of alternating them with the musical pieces. The truth was they were very suggestive and they could give a lot of scope, thus, they became the main text of the spectacle.

I simply wrote some other fragments in a thoughtful and personal way about what the night meant to me, the moment of going to sleep or the dreams. We added them to the final script, giving unity to the whole.

The rehearsals of the dream scenes were managed by three of us and it was one of the most beautiful parts of the process: the director leading on one hand, and the violinist Francesc Guzmán on the other, improvising all type of sounds with his violin, creating an atmosphere suited for the emotional tone of the dream. We created a movement and a game between us from the synthetic text.

The work was very smooth. The fact was that the dreams suggested us movements and actions, simple but clear, and things were organized and gained meaning as we played and tried things.

The role of Francesc Guzmán, the violinist-composer, was very important in creating atmospheres and changing the musical tone of the concert, and it became an interesting character to play with. He reacted with the sounds of his violin while I was staging my dreams and reciting the text, so he helped to create the imagery that allowed the audience to visualize and transport themselves to another dimension, the oneiric one. He also, on a theatrical level, seemed to come to life as a provoking character of my dreaming state, where he observed without being seen by me, like Puck in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

The process became a work of three, where the communication and improvisation between us was the most interesting. To work simultaneously and discover what each text demanded from us was the key to create the different sound universes of each dream, and the truth is that the imagination surprisingly emerged in a smooth way.

The spectacle begins with J.S.Bach’s Goldberg variations aria for harpsichord, which was ordered by Count Hermann Carl von Keyserlingk of Dresde for his own harpsichord Player, Bach’s pupil, to entertain him during his nights of insomnia, so I founded a suitable piece to begin with.

I was very happy to collaborate with my friends from the circle of dreams, who participated in the spectacle, reciting a poem when nobody expected it, becoming a voiceover speaking to me, and indirectly, to the audience.

I really enjoyed preparing this deeply personal concert, where I pretended to blur the lines between the waking world and the dream world. They merged with each other.

I loved to take care of all the details; the hand program, besides of informing about the repertory, also included an image from a dream, which I used in a collage years ago. I also wanted the audience to have a little something to remember the experience, so I prepared little flasks with some seashells in them, and containing a message in form of a question, intended to awake an interest for dreaming, who knows whether lucidity or critical sense about their wakefulness. When leaving the church, someone would ask them: Are you dreaming?

Don’t miss the teaser on Youtube: Oniria. Dreams as a creative tool.

Marta Garcia Cadena.

“Dolly Babe” Shoes for Girls, “Leader” for Boys – ?!?!?!!!

Clarks shoes released their new fall school wear line with boys shoes named “Leader” and girls shoes named “Dolly Babe”. After receiving much criticism, they responded by pulling the Dolly Babe shoes from the shelves. For many, this responded to the criticism. However … it’s not enough.

Dolly Babe is definitely, blatantly, crossing a line. But remaining on the shelves are still “subtle” gender demarkations. For example, boys shoes named “Tiny Aspire” and their girl equivalent “Softly Hen”. As the author of one blog states, these names are written on the boxes that made their way into the homes of thousands of 3-4 year old boys and girls, planting seeds of “how things are” with respect to gender and position differences. To be fair, Clarks does have a girls sports shoe named “Azon Hero Fst”, however, it is part of their “Binky” line, and is decorated with bunny ears and a tail; the boys equivalent are sporty and rugged.

The same referenced blog calls out another worthwhile question: We cry out at the RESULT of actions – the name that makes it on the shelf – but what about the accumulation of decisions made by adults that presumably included both male and female employees, that led to these product differentiations in the first place? The problem does not rest in the final result – it is necessary to step back to the design process and conference rooms, the corporate and societal culture, that made this seem like a viable product name/branding choice.

Making change involves making choices at every step along the way – not just in the purchase (or refusal to purchase). So often we are on a committee to plan an event, or in an group creating organizational structure, and these differences sneak in, hiding in places like “that would sell well” or “this is how it’s always done”. A good question to ask is: Am I noticing something at school or work and not saying anything? And if so, can I speak up?

We are the change! #dreamyourworld

Stepping Outside “Story”

“It had not occurred to me that anyone in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were. So that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything BUT poor.” – Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What happens when we get stuck in “Story”? Ourselves, and others? Ourselves – we put ourselves in old stories, repeating them day after day, like old scripts: “I”m not capable”, “Girls can’t do that”, “Don’t be too successful or men won’t like you”.

We do the same with others, seeing them as “poor”, “female”, “male”, “other”.

What if we were to step out of story and see ourselves as different? What if we were to write a new story for ourselves and others, setting free our capabilities and possibilities, opening the door to talents and abilities we had locked up because they didn’t fit in the box we wrote for ourselves?

Check out this great Ted Talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and learn more about writing a new story for yourself.

Girl Scouts USA introduces 23 new badges focused on science, technology, engineering, math and the outdoors

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America recently introduced 23 new badges to better reflect the interests of modern girls.  Many new badges focus on math, science, technology and engineering.  Read more here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/girl-scouts-offer-new-badges-science-technology-engineering-math-n786226






Girl on Girl – Photography of Women by Women

How do women see other women?

Check out this link: http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/9704/how-ten-women-photographers-are-reconfiguring-the-gaze

” (…) I interviewed 40 women from 17 different countries about their work, and these artists now feature in a book, Girl on Girl. Whether working in fashion, advertising, photojournalism, or art, I learned that women photograph women differently to men, and that women see far more than a female body when they point their camera on one…”

Charlotte Jensen

Story Time for All Ages

Animal Communicator Anna Breytenbach has collaborated with author Andrew Newman to make an illustrated children’s book of one of her real-life case studies working with an animal:  the great black panther named Spirit.

Not only is this a moving story that reminds us that in the dream field we are all connected, this important children’s book (useful for all of us, no matter what age!) includes instructions for “Snuggle Time Breathing” to help us clear the space for our intuition, and a step by step instruction of how to communicate with animals as Anna did with Spirit.  In fact, these are dreaming steps!

Seeking to mend the rift between humans and nature, and bring us back to our bodies and our connection with all life, Anna is a powerful teacher and healer.  You can find even more about her and other useful bedtime stories at:

The Conscious Stories Bedtime Club

Anna Breytenbach’s website

Teaching Great Dreamers starts early …  the more we foster intuition rather than dismissing it, the more we develop strong cores of Truth.

Happy Dreaming!


Summit Institute

One of the things we like to do here on our blog is post interesting links – making our blog a resource library as much as a place for reporting important stories, updates, and thoughts.

Today’s resource is the Summit Institute.

Summit looks to create world solutions in creative ways, bringing in leaders from a variety of fields, and using large-scale conservation projects and the arts.  One of our founders has participated in their yearly conference and speaks highly of their mission and how they are carrying it out.

Enjoy, and pass it on!

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