Dreams and nightmares are so deeply rooted in our living experience that we often use these words to describe the events, goals, fears, and possibilities of our lives. In order to explore the unique symbolic language of dreams, artists, shamans and scientists often refer to the various layers of dream interpretation by differentiating between manifest and latent content. Whereas the manifest content of a dream may be interpreted as the literal narrative recalled by the dreamer, latent content is the deeper symbolic meaning and underlying purpose of the phenomenal experience. Latent content analysis is then the attempt to de-cypher or translate these deeper symbolic meanings.
Artists and have often utilized this form of analysis to explore both dream states and consciousness through symbolic metaphor, visual analogy and dream imagery. Psychologists describe this research as “dream work“. A presupposition of dream work is the argument that each person has his or her own unique dream “language”, based on the subjective experiences of their upbringing and ongoing lives. Any given place, person, object or symbol within the manifest content of a dream, differs in its latent content analysis from dreamer to dreamer.
As dream workers, artists manifest objects and images that may have surface interpretations disguising deeper objective meaning or are designed to trigger uniquely alternate states of consciousness in each individual. In this way the artists featured in Latent Content Analysis, present us with the opportunity to challenge our subconscious levels of awareness and enjoy both the outer world of our shared experiences and the mysterious inner world of our own symbolic language.