A journey of reckoning and renewal, this story of family history and future dreams is an examination of the individual imagination as a catalyst for social change
Whatever the ideological slant of our information feeds, nowadays we all share a sense of binge-watching the apocalypse. Facing so much uncertainty, we need a language for thinking about the unknown not simply as a threat but also as a space of fertile possibility. George Prochnik has chosen to reflect on these urgent themes through the lens of a personal narrative: an account of his own family’s decision to leave the United States.
I Dream with Open Eyes begins with an exploration of Prochnik’s ancestral past: the pilgrimage of his mother’s family, who were among the first English settlers in the New World. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, a parallel migration unfolds as Prochnik, along with his wife and their son, makes the decision to uproot their lives in New York to move to England.
A deep critique of this current moment, Prochnik takes the words of nineteenth-century poet Heinrich Heine, “I dream with open eyes, and my eyes see,” as an inspiration to ask how, as a society, we might use art and literature to refract and expand our vision of the future, while simultaneously generating a new focus on present realities.