The communal body of images, words, sounds, memories and other sensory perceptions that are shared by a particular culture in a specific historical period and from which individuals draw imagery for their own dreams.

Los Angeles Times (July 9, 1978)
MK essay, “Are Movies Poisoning Our Dreams?”

“Current brain research reveals that the average person devotes 90 minutes every night to dreaming—five years in a lifetime. This may be an evolutionary mechanism that mediates between genetic programming and cultural imprinting, generating new possibilities for the future. The basic rhythm and form of dreams are controlled by the primitive part of the brain, but the more highly developed forebrain determines dream content, selecting and recombining images from the reservoir of memories that have been shaped by the culture in which the dreamer lives. If our dreams become polluted by destructive images, we might get “stuck” in stagnant visions—and lose our powers of growth like Roeg’s alien.

Our advanced technology has transformed our dreams as much as our waking lives. We are bombarded daily by thousands of prefabricated images that can be incorporated almost directly into our dreams. The sheer increase in images probably has accelerated the rate of change by which we reprogram our consciousness....

In many primitive societies, the sacred task of generating and interpreting the Great Dreams that direct the future of the culture are entrusted to a shaman or priest. In our world, it is handed over to a profane industry that exploits the visions of artists for the commercial interests of large corporations. Just as these same interests are responsible for polluting our rivers and oceans, they also are poisoning our cultural dreampool.

Dreamworks (Spring 1980)
MK’s essay, “The Adaptation of Cinematic Dreams”

p. 54, “Many dreamers report seeing newsreels, animation, fades, dissolves, superimpositions, freezes, and instant replays in their dreams. Some of these techniques may have appeared in dreams before being developed in the media; perhaps they even contributed to their invention. Whatever their genesis, the media have made these techniques commonplace within our cultural dreampool.”

Film Quarterly (Fall 1984)
MK essay, “Music Video and the Spectator: Television, Ideology and Dream””

p. 11, “The TV spectator has a dual role: first, as an individual viewer/listener absorbing images and sounds into one’s own consciousness and memory, usually in the privacy of one’s own home or bed; and second, as a member of a mass audience or community (McLuhan’s “global village”) who share common associations, desires and ideological assumptions. In unifying private and public identities, this dual role facilitates the integrated functioning of two complementary actions—both of which are well illustrated in the specific video clips already discussed: 1) the internalizing of TV images into one’s own fantasy life, incorporating them into a private reservoir of dream images; 2) the positioning of the spectator in the public marketplace where one becomes an active consumer purchasing products one has been trained by television to desire, thereby contributing to the capitalist economy. Because of advertising’s control over television, the private action is made to serve the public goal of internalizing consumerist desires. Nowhere is this co-option more apparent than on MTV.

p. 12, “Speculations on the Dream Connection”

“The most compelling dream models that have emerged from recent neuro-physiological and psychological studies suggest that dreams are an evolutionary medium that mediates between biological programming and cultural imprinting. More specifically, the Hobson-McCarley Activation-Synthesis model assumes that the rapid firing of giant cells in the primitive brainstem activates the dream by generating signals within the brain; the rhythm, frequency and duration of the dream are biologically determined. The forebrain then selects images from the memory to “fit” the internally generated random signals; this synthetic process (about which little is known) is probably a function of the right-brain hemisphere (that takes a synthetic or gestalt approach rather than an analytic one of problem solving) and also the site for the psychological level of the dream. The images selected from the memory and recombined in new ways carry the cultural imprinting.

This model has significant implications for the study of television and movies since these two mass media play a key role in the imprinting process, supplementing the dreamer’s ordinary experience with thousands of pre-fabricated moving visual images that are directly absorbed into the cultural dreampool and influencing both the form and content of dream texts.

Interactive Frictions (1999)
MK essay, “Doors to the Labyrinth”

“Drawing imagery from O’Neill’s The Decay of Fiction (a film-in-progress), this project explores Los Angeles’s historic Hotel Ambassador which was built in 1920 and may soon be demolished. The goal is archeological in nature: unearthing the traces of history and cultural meaning that are embedded within this structure. Functioning like a cultural dreampool, the world presents a complex array of multi-layered images and sounds drawn from diverse databases....”