FETAL DREAMS

REM sleep patterns have been observed in fetuses 27 weeks gestation and older. The content of fetal dreaming is hotly contested among scientists and medical professionals, as well as philosophers. Some scientists believe that the purpose of dreaming in humans (including fetuses) is to simulate dangerous situations as “practice;” for example common dreams of being chased and feeling fear of being chased could be an evolutionary artifact from our hunter gatherer ancestors, who frequently had to outrun predators. Children are likely to have more nightmares than good dreams; as they age nightmares decrease in frequency.

 

Scientists largely agree that if dreams of fetuses have any content at all, it is extremely superficial and minimal, since dreams are based on our perceptions of reality. Fetuses obviously have no experience in the world. A fetus’s waking life has no language, no images, no past experience. So, could it be that pure sensory information is the only content of fetal dreams? We have no way to know. This work is an imagining of what fetal dreams may be like, taking into consideration these theories as well as some spiritual ideas dealing with reincarnation and collective consciousness. 

Pendulous, 2019
Paper collage, acrylic paint on canvas

Black Bear, 2019
Paper collage and spraypaint

Ribcage, 2019
Archival inkjet print

King Fisher, 2019
Paper collage, spraypaint

Circuit Jungle, 2019
Paper collage and acrylic paint on canvas

Pheasant, 2019
Paper collage and spraypaint

© Leah Swenson 2020