Dreaming in the Woods
Dreaming in the Woods
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Dreaming in the Woods

Usdan's summer 2017 session will include the first stage of an ambitious three-year art commission from internationally exhibited artist and Duke University professor, Pedro Lasch. The project, entitled “Dreaming in the Woods,” launches this spring with a series of email prompts to students called Art in your inbox. Once camp begins this summer, these interactions will kick off a highly collaborative on-campus engagement between Lasch, Usdan students, faculty and staff.

Envisioning the camp itself as an art medium, participants will combine traditional techniques with socially engaged practices that resonate with the most contemporary forms of art production. Beyond introducing interested students across majors and minors to these new art forms, “Dreaming in the Woods” encourages all to treat the people, grounds, and resources at Usdan as inspiration for the creation of new works that will be exhibited and presented elsewhere.

The participating young artists will gain first-hand experience in making art for contemporary art contexts. They will learn to think of unconventional and everyday settings as fruitful sites for artistic experience and expression, and will be listed as co-authors and collaborators of the project's various segments.The foundation for all collaborations of

“Dreaming in the Woods” is a short story of the same title that artist Pedro Lasch wrote specifically for Usdan. In preparation for the 2017 session, Art in your inbox released the story in eleven weekly segments, accompanied by original artwork inspired by the camp. 


Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Cover, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


Most of us are young in the woods of Usdan.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #1, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


Recently, our dreams have begun to shift form, spreading beyond the forest,
smuggling imaginary friends in and out of the camp each night.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #2, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


The yellow buses that bring us here are changing, too, even if no one outside them seems to notice.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #3, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


It all started when a book appeared in a hollow tree, The History of Dreams and Its Techniques.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #4, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


Older people had hidden from us the fact that dreaming, like any other art form, can be cultivated by love, passion, and training.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #5, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


One by one, walking from hut to hut, we would read the book by day, so we could practice its teachings at night.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #6, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


Some of us got better at some techniques than others.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #7, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


Being able to see and greet each other in our dreams was our first magical experience.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #8, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


Not long after, we learned to change the objects, sounds, and lighting in someone else’s dreams.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #9, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches


But little did we know that we would soon all have the same dream: that day was night and night was day, and Usdan and the world were one.

Image: Dreaming in the Woods: Painting #10, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches