They Dream in My Bones
They Dream in My Bones
Digital creation

10 min

They Dream in My Bones, a VR film by Faye Formisano

They Dream in My Bones is an ambitious installation-fiction that mixes virtual reality and textiles. It plunges us into the inner worlds of Roderick Norman, a researcher who has managed to extract dreams from our skeletons. 

© Faye Formisano

Fabric and movement

Born in 1984, Faye Formisano trained at the Duperré school, where she developed a practice combining dance and textiles in 2007. In parallel with her activities in the world of haute couture, as part of the NANÜK Anima studio with Elsa Caux she creates dance performances in which bodies are articulated with textile universes. These are also available as videos: El Grito de la Montana (2011) and Beach noise (2017). During her residency at Le Fresnoy, from 2018 to 2020, she pursued her research into the world of experimental film with the help of Bertrand Mandico. With Insemnopedy I: The Dream of Victor F. (2019), then Insemnopedy II: They Dream in My Bones, she thus begins a series featuring the dreams of fictional characters from 19th and early 20th century literature. 


Extracting dreams from our bones

Insemnopedy II: They Dream in My Bones is a VR experience that combines a textile installation, which forms a sail where large skeletons are projected, and an immersive fiction consisting of 3D renderings, drawings, and scenes filmed using a more traditional process. This ambitious installation tells the story of Roderick Norman, a researcher in onirogenetics, a science that he founded and that allows the extraction of dreams from an unknown skeleton. Faye Formisano's work is also inspired by Virginia Woolf's Orlando (1928) and its character who experiments with different gender identities through their dreams. 


German Expressionism

Insemnopedy II: They Dream in My Bones s’articule avec une recherche au long cours menée par Faye Formisano sur les nouvelles possibilités narratives offertes par la VR. La réalisatrice souhaitait en particulier expérimenter autour du mélange entre anciennes et nouvelles technologies. Elle a donc travaillé à partir d’un matériau filmique inspiré du cinéma expressionniste en noir et blanc, qu’elle a mis au point en studio grâce à des techniques de prise de vue traditionnelles. Projetés sur des voiles, ces scènes issues de l’imaginaire de Roderick Norman résonnent ainsi avec les chefs d'œuvres du cinéma allemand, comme Le Cabinet du Docteur Caligari (1920). 


Experimenting with the old and the new

Faye Formisano uses black and white and fabrics to make films that are designed as theatrical performances, for which she often uses performers who have trained as dancers. She also conducted this research as part of a joint PhD in creation with the University of Lille 3, entitled Draper l'image : usages et fonctions du voile comme manifestation des identités troubles dans le cinéma fantastique. This work fed into Insemnopedy II: They Dream in My Bones is produced by Le Fresnoy - Studio National des Arts Contemporains, and was recently selected at the DOK in Leipzig in the Extended Reality category, and in the New Frontier selection at the Sundance Film Festival. 

The Institut français and the work

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