1.Introduction of Paprika;

Paprika is a 2006 Japanese Science Fiction anime film co-written and directed by Satoshi Kon, which adapted from the novel with the same name. It talks about a story a new psychotherapy treatment called dream therapy. It is achieved by a device called “DC mini” which allows therapists to cure patients by entering their dreams. However, this device was stolen and many people’s dreams have been invaded and even the line between reality and dream has blurred. Paprika is a visually rich film with various socio-cultural symbolism, presenting deep ideas with feminism and technology, and exposing problems of Japanese society at that time.

 

In the dream world, the insane parade of animals, living cars, statues machines, refrigerators, and weird dolls always attracts attention. Kon applied Japan’s Shinto tradition to the parade that giving souls to all things including those inanimate subjects. This parade is the center which ties everything together inside the dream. Its show-up means the normal dream has already turned into an insanity. At the end, it even breaks the barrier between dreams and the real world. Kon designed many symbols to the parade subjects especially in the final scene to reflect hidden social problems of Japanese society, such as the great pressure of Japan’s working class, overdeveloped porn industry and the loss of belief.

 

This film also discusses the relationship among human beings, society and technology. DC mini was designed to help people, but once used by a madman, it was seen as a tool of power and became uncontrollable. With the device, people can do anything they want in the dream and experience those they cannot do in reality. Paprika has a line saying that “Don’t you think the Internet is similar to the dream?” In a way, the Internet is a parallel for the dream world. We can create different identities and be “anyone” online, like Chiba created her alter-ego Paprika.The characteristic of anonymity of Internet relieves most people. Without considering too much about the responsibility, people get “freedom”. How to limit the use of technology, or more exactly the internet, and not make the consequence in the film happen is the question left to audiences.

 

The feminism idea is obvious in the film since Kon used women as protagonists. In addition to the stories around two leading women Chiba and Paprika, the most representative scene is the new-born woman finally saved the disordered world. Even the character Paprika herself showed a woman power. She is just a alter-ego of Chiba at the beginning, but she seems create her own life: protecting Chiba in dreams and real world, and making decision independently. Kon presented females’ smart, sexy, emotional and empathized image to the maximum and designed the whole plot framework in a hetrosexual perspective.

 

2. Justification for “Dreamer”;

Dream is always a heated topic for dream astrologers, psychologists, and neurobiologists to explore. Dream can be seen as a reflection of the reality. For individual, dream contents originally come from the actual life where the emotional entanglement in dreams is most closely related to reality. For society, the data of collective dreams actually reflects the society’s common concerns. However, its importance is overshadowed by its unreal and fantastic characteristics. People don’t consider dreams seriously and may feel ashamed to share those seemingly weird and ridiculous stories in daily life because everything may happen in dreams. Another reason is people tend to forget dreams quickly and easily.

 

Inspired by the film plots, I want to create a dream archive app called “Dreamer”. “Dreamer” hope to create a “dream culture” as a subculture. The mobile app basically has three modules: dream archive, dream recreation and dream script experience. The basic blog function allows users to record their dream stories, and choose going “public” or “private”. The public story will directly show up in the archive module and every users can access and comment on it. The app will release quarterly dream reports including keyword and hashtag statistics and the list of most-clicked stories.

 

Dream recreation is a space for users to create derivative work based on dream stories in archive, such as novel, cartoon and microfilm. Creators can upload anything with preferred hashtags. These two modules above provide helpful materials for writers and filmmakers, and also encourage potential creator.

 

The last module aims to increase interaction among users. The dreamers can’t see most of the dreams because they are too familiar with their daily life. The detective Konakawa is a suitable example that he dreamt the same dream repeatedly but spent lots of time to realize why he dreamt about it. Sometimes people may question “why I dreamed of these things?” towards dreams of past events or “predicable future which are detailed and real”. How about arranging another person in your dream to see his/her reactions and decisions? In this module, each user writes his/her own dream script and exchange. Two in pairs become a therapist for each other to analyze and give suggestions. I want to make this module more visualized into a gamification, but it seems very difficult to achieve.

 

3.Theoretical perspectives;

For the original work Paprika, as I mentioned, it covers a strong sense of feminism, so feminist theory works. It also takes a different perspective to reflect on media and technology. DC mini is an immersive technology to mediate dreams. It is similar to “VR” and other technologies to mediate “the virtual window”. However, the situation finally got out of control that those objects of representation in dreams have self-presented themselves even without DC mini, which cause a harmful consequence. It covers a dystopia idea about the relationship between humans and technology. For my new version app, I think many psychological theories can be applied, but I haven’t found the detailed theory.

 

4.Work plan for the project;

In the following weeks, I decide to read and watch more SF work about dreams to see if there is any interesting feature to add to my app. Also, I will make a list of the applications that I may refer to, refine and adapt functions to “Dreamer”, and use Photoshop to design my app interface. I will continually work out for the gamification of the third module.