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Dreampunk Profile: Carin Jaeger
From an online interview on February 5 through 15, 2020
First off, tell us a little about yourself. What is it that you do exactly?
I’m working across all sorts of disciplines mainly related to art, science, and technology, and I write/perform/experiment in the context of research projects.
Speculative fiction was always something I wanted to do. Here’s an example of previous work from 2016, which imagines dancing crowds as a way of collective resistance against the sellout of culture.
I’ve continued to play around with poetry and microfiction as part of the roleplay game I was making last year. To complete the storytelling, I’ve used visual and digital means like drawings, physical objects, and coding and embedded everything on a platform for software development. I’ve created the texts as free blueprints for other gamers, which they can stick with and develop further or start over again.
When you talk about “gamers” here, I get the sense that you mean other coders and/or content creators. Is that right? How does a game like this work?
My target group are rather hackers and artists. Because success in the game relies not on the reproduction of already available code or content but on creative innovation. There is no manual, nor rules, and I guess that’s not for everyone. The game simply works by interaction—intellectual engagement with the texts will do for a start—before proceeding with character development and world building.
From what I’ve seen of your work, it kind of defies description. You’re obviously an original thinker, but I’m curious… Who would you consider to be your biggest influences?
Thank you, I resist the temptation to rehash my work for a larger audience.
I get inspired by daily life and choose and remix what I like as I move along with my projects. At the moment I’m mainly influenced by the artist Suzanne Treister, filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, and writer Simon Sellars. Of the many philosophical thinkers I read, my favorite one is Friedrich Nietzsche, whom I admire for his soulfulness and his rants against hypocrisy.
Over the last year I’ve started to read much more poetry and fiction, and most interesting stuff I found on Twitter. Generally, I take much pleasure in Western pop and pulp culture, which shaped me and my work as well.
Where did you first encounter the term “dreampunk,” and what does it mean to you personally?
I’ve spotted it within the SF community, which led me directly to your site.
I wanted to know more and get involved, as I’ve identified with punk from an early age when feeling alien in a small town. I’ve used to listen to the Sex Pistols, the great art project that has spread virally to millions of unsuspecting households across the world.
I believe that daydreaming is one of the most precious abilities humans possess as it is the driving force behind the relationship between thought and reality.
In the context of “dreampunk,” what would you say constitutes a “dream”? Would a mystic vision count? A psychedelic trip? A system of delusions that distorts the waking world?
Dreampunk uses mental power to recall imaginary events that will never happen or haven’t happened in this way. Its dreams of future and past shape the present, which in reach, logically doesn’t constitute a dream anymore. I’d say a dream is nothing but life, and dreampunk is the hunter of the ever-escaping dream.
Sure, brief feelings of emotional depth, loss of control, and a stark disconnection from mundane reality count as dreams too. By sharing such personal dreams, they become embedded in the collective unconscious. And yes, those systems aim for healing by self-destruction, a natural process, which is probably the only and ultimate doctrine of punk.
That’s a very succinct take on the punk ethos. Interesting. To what degree would you call yourself “punk”?
A punk is probably a more instinct-led animal, who despises indoctrinated and thus false morality. It is not conforming to the norm, disliking mental boundaries and poor mass production. There is probably much more to it and everyone is different, but that describes some of my traits and attitude quite well.
If you could point to a few TV series or movies that more-or-less capture the sort of aesthetic you’re going for in your work, what would they be?
I’m currently working on a new project, that will be also partly web-based but much more performance-oriented than the game before.
I’m adhering to the DIY ethic, as was practiced in the past, and doing the coding or other contents as much as possible on my own and aiming to convey the topics of the future work (namely sex, horror, and SF) with a mixture of elegance and trash.
Sounds about right for dreampunk. What sort of dream-related technology would you like to see developed in your lifetime?
The Singularity, although deemed to be quasi-impossible, I firmly believe, everything that can be imagined will be realized at and to some point.
The myth of immortality is perhaps as old as mankind itself, but the afterlife will probably look very different than previously conceptualized in cults and religions. I like the fuzzy Catholic idea of the Purgatory though, except there is not one but many possible worlds beyond Heaven or Hell.
Do you see an overlap then between technology, psychology, and spirituality? What is driving what?
Totally, psychology is a technology to get an understanding of spirituality, or better said, a broader view on what it could be. At the same time, the study and appropriation of such technologies is affecting spirituality. They feed on each other, not in a sense of a self-repeating closed loop, but rather push and pull each other in a forward accelerating spiral. Spirituality is the driver, but how, from or to what point, one cannot say.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work, and how can we help you get there? Do you have anything for sale?
I want to produce quality work, but it’s primarily me who needs to be satisfied with the outcome. Getting more work exhibited and published, making cash, and reaching a wider audience is my goal for 2020; a positive side effect would be to inspire others.
The game is free to download. Donations and purchases can be made on Patreon.