The Wanderer – Dancing While Dreaming

Yichan Wang is an MFA in Design & Technology from the Parsons School of Design. She communicates intangible ideas through visual design. Her work spans visual identity design, UI design, web design, motion design, and print media. For her thesis, she created The Wanderer, an animated short film in which people can dance while they are dreaming.

When she began this project, people had been in quarantine for half a year. Life exclusively indoors made her aware of how stagnation amassed in her body. She sat at my desk all day, in essentially the same posture. She went to cook and eat. She laid down in bed, fell asleep. When she woke up, her sluggish muscles and joints were stirred by a rush of memory from the dreams that just left. Their momentum lingered for a while, and in this time, she pondered the dissonance between her body and mind. Her dreams were so vivid, yet they resided in her body so inertly, for when people dream, their bodies become temporarily paralyzed to protect them from acting out their dreams. What if dreams could express themselves through bodies? How would people move then?

In The Wanderer, Yichan is fantasizing about people dancing while they dream. She wanted to explore how the poetic state of dreaming can be expressed physically and cinematographically. Dance is movement that ignores efficiency or utility, just like dreams are suspended time that negates productivity. The dream dance exists in tension with everyday life, where most of peoples’ movements serve functional purposes. The Wanderer was created with motion capture and Cinema 4D. The Wanderer explores what dance can break free from mundanity’s confines.