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Nathan T. Dean's Oneiriad Inspirations

“A select few visual works that inspire our counter-cultural, fringe-peripheral multi-magnum opus”
words – nathan t. dean
location – sê wealds, albion

The Oneiriad is beyond a writerly style; it is a manifesto for collaboration. It comes with a fountain of inspirations, from the insight of my fellow writers [and the cornucopia of works they draw upon] to shows from my childhood, to present day. These combine to form the bedrock of our anti-copyright, autowritten, anti-fascist, metamodern fractal body of work. What began as idle Tumblr chapters written by an inebriated, chain smoking wannabe bon vivant evolved into this beautiful collaborative sandbox. I thank those who write with me, and below are a select few visual works that inspire our counter-cultural, fringe-peripheral multi-magnum opus.


01_Bande à part

The passing of Jean-Luc Godard felt as entwined with his artistic style as it did his way of life, electing to depart a world, indeed a system, that no longer served him. Studying screenwriting at the University of Lincoln, I learnt an exceptional amount concerning structure, genre and format from Marcella Forster and Ewen Glass – but what I really wanted to do was break these moulds. I specialised in narratology under Nigel Morris, who introduced French New Wave to his students as if we were ready for it. Discovering ‘Bande à part’ – that iconic dance, the anti-Hollywoodian shots, the plethora of tales spun from that dash through the museum – taught me that the right way is an illusion; there is only the true way. 


02_Twin Peaks

How can I not mention David Lynch within this list? ‘Twin Peaks’ – from the ‘90s soap-opera-cum-murder-mystery-cum-Tibetan-conjuration, to the dangerously mind-altering movie ‘Fire Walk With Me,’ to the televisual redefining ‘The Return’ – taught me the courage to go out on a limb with what can be manifested as art. For example, take the long sequence in ‘The Return’ of a man sweeping the floor. Now, countless films and TV shows emulate the opportunity to let the audience be still for a moment. Lynch’s ‘Masterclass’ has a wonderful section on transcendental meditation, and our ability to fish for ideas deep from within collective consciousnesses. Even the humblest, indefinable dream can be drawn up from the depths and taken to the page, comprehensible or otherwise. 


03_Mona The Vampire

One particular episode of ‘Mona The Vampire,’ where salmonella became two evil dinner ladies Sam and Ella, has been of huge importance to my writing. I’ve carried that delectable pun from my childhood to now. Each episode of ‘Mona The Vampire’ ended with an ambiguous ending: did Mona really experience the strange, the bizarre, the alien, or had it been a game all along? For the first time I was taught not everything is what it seems, so I count this Canadian cartoon amongst the crème de la crème of influential works. Without Mona, an oneiriad of multiverses would not have been born. 


04_Neon Genesis Evangelion

Up until university, I believed anime to be dross, but Hideaki Anno proved how naïve and ignorant I was. Evolving the narrative of giant robots fighting Angelic monsters, ‘Neon Genesis’ dove into the bleak pits of distant father figures, coming-of-age fears and relinquishing our hold on boyhood. What really hit me, however, is the now mythologically named Gainax Ending. With funding cut to the original series, Anno improvised. Learning that the uncontrollable can shape the fabric of our art became a crucial part of my own work. Not everything has to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. We have to let the work breathe in its own rhythm.


05_Doctor Who

Nothing has changed my consciousness more than ‘Doctor Who.’ Watching Eccleston portray this war-bedraggled lover of humankind – literally regenerating away from his trauma, hopping from world to world avenging an indifferent cosmos – gave me hope in something I didn’t know I required it for. As I’ve grown from angry alcoholic to hopeful green tea sipping house-husband, I return to this show about friendship, family and rebirth often. No matter whether I love the episodes or loathe them, I keep them close to my heart[s], knowing that if there is a season I dislike, it’s not for me, but for someone else. Learning that not everything is about me, by accepting I won’t love every incarnation of this fairytale time traveller, is a crucial part of letting go of the writer’s ego. Not everyone is going to love what I write, but I will write it nonetheless. 


06_The Greasy Strangler

‘The Greasy Strangler’ shook out the cobwebs when I believed the realm of cinema would only comprise crisp explosive superheroics forever more. Here came a director pushing the fringe to the foremost; that which is usually regarded as too baffling to be loved had the mirror reversed, where the uncomfortable fringe became that deserving of the audience’s sympathy. Hosking reminded me that, even in the face of four billion Captain Nazis and The Infinity Buckets, people were still creating art from a place of bizarre sincerity.


07_Duke of Burgundy

One sequence from ‘Duke of Burgundy’ haunts me to this day: countless moths attack the screen for what feels like an eternity. Strickland, as well as exploring a BDSM relationship with grace and dignity, created an ineffable sensation I could never put into words. There is often something in a film, or a book, or an oneiriad, that conjures emotion, feeling and fervour. In-and-of-itself, it proves impossible to analyse. Strickland’s enigmatic body of ungraspable horror is exactly such. This is the stuff from which nightmares are made, the ones that make you laugh until you realise you’re crying.


08_Jet Li’s The One

Paving the way for ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once,’ with its incredible Asian lead, exploration of multiversal theory and what it means to be kind and just in the face of the infinite, is the campy, martial arts action flick ‘The One.’ James Wong’s work sees Jet Li, Highlander-style, hunted by an evil version of himself across countless infinite worlds. Alan Moore and Grant Morrison would take up the mantle when I began to learn the intricacies of multi-cosmologies from a spiritual perspective, but as a writer it was this incredibly fun flick that opened my formative mind to the possibility of… well, possibilities.


09_Waking Life

You may know him for the ‘Before Trilogy’ [soon to be quadrilogy] or ‘School of Rock,’ but Richard Linklater’s lesser known ‘Waking Life’ exploded something deep within me. The film where he developed his now infamous rotoscoping technique that he’d go on to use in ‘A Scanner Darkly,’ ‘Waking Life’ is part documentary, part fiction. When close to death, the lead character meets various philosophers, freethinkers, counter culturalists and scientists to discuss the nature of dreaming and reality. As faces literally melt into clouds, Linklater does more than simply teach you that reality is flimsy as wet tissue paper; he forces you to confront it before your very eyes. The blurring of fiction and documentary, the bricolage of science and spirit and the paint-like edifice on each and every shot is truly incredible.


10_Sex & The City/And Just Like That…

I used to believe the idea of watching something for fun was as futile as cutting off my own legs; art must be a deeply serious business, intellectual, otherwise you were squandering existence. Now, shedding these layers of arrogance, I am opening myself to shows I would never have conceived of watching in the past. My fiancée introduced me to these two shows; how wrong I was to misogynistically discard them so quickly. To align with a metamodern sincerity I wish to inject into my work, what better way of learning this than through Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw? 

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