“He begins to emit smoke, changing into someone else.”

Age: 44
Date: August 6, 2014
Title: Metaphysical Deli Epiphany

I am with my family in a grocery store. I step away from them for a moment, and when I come back I notice my wife looking concerned while talking to a disheveled  Rasputin-looking fellow, seated in the deli. I sit down with him, freeing her to go shop, and he begins to tell a sad tale. I give him a few bucks and he begins to emit smoke, changing into someone else with an equally sad story. Solving the new problem, I realize I am not dealing with a person as he changes into someone else. I realize I may be stuck, I may become just another face with another sad story, part of this mass of suffering.  I wave my family to move on, as I realize I don't want them to see me like this, hoping they don't come back. Sadness overwhelms me.

“No problem, people have been emerging from this ventilation system all morning.”

Age: 49
Date: April 15, 2016
Title: Nearest Exit Please?

At a work meeting I decide to to slip out early. I depart the nearest exit and a long corridor stretches before me followed by a flight of stairs that end abruptly at an open elevator shaft. With no other options, I decide to climb into the dark shaft but soon become fearful an elevator will emerge from the darkness and crush me. I pry open a nearby vent in building’s maze-like ventilation system and get inside. On my belly I crawl through endless ductwork. The shafts become tighter and smaller as I move lower in the building.  I become claustrophobic and constricted - almost completely stuck in the ductwork. I spot a nearby vent, pop it open, and look out - surprised to see a large dining hall of people enjoying themselves far below. I call for help from overhead and almost immediately a hydraulic bucket lift operator appears next to me (dressed similarly to a telephone repairperson). I climb into the lift bucket and apologize for my disturbance. He says, "No problem, people have been emerging from this ventilation system all morning." As I touch down everyone welcomes me and returns to their conversations.

“I took a shower—I had no pulse, the water beat heavy on my chest...”

Age: —
Date: June 12, 2016
Title: Leaving and Returning

I was in my garden pulling weeds by hand when I felt empty
I sat on the deck—that was not enough
I took a shower—I had no pulse, the water beat heavy on my chest
The medics told me my heart was blocked
We flew down the streets, Death riding on the bumper
I rolled into Harborview’s  ED—the young people said we are your doctors
I lay on the gurney watching the white cloud in the corner
The surgeon said watch the heart video monitor
Later I was inside my head all my music  being removed from my house
A nurse woke me up and said I needed to breath, so I returned
Alive, with an open and beating heart, the music resumed playing my life

“I am building or engineering some kind of small piece of construct.”

Initials: MM
Age: —
Date: June 13, 2016
Title: Work in Progress

For the past few months I've had a perplexing and recurring dream. I am building or engineering some kind of small piece of construct or machinery. It has springs, gears, and parts that slide. As I write this I realize the scale of my build is larger in waking time. It's big, complex, and very exciting. I think it represents work I'm doing to rebuild my life.

“I often dream of various objects flying in the air...”

Initials: FCM
Age: 55
Date: June 14, 2016
Title: Flying Objects

I often dream of various objects flying in the air. I am always on the ground looking up. The flying objects are usually vehicles but vehicles that don't generally fly, like open air buses and bicycles. I have a feeling of fear seeing these objects. They are moving slowly and are tilting down but not falling. I can almost recreate the feeling of these dreams by gazing up at low flying jets.

“After they flicked marbles the objects didn't seem to behave normally...”

Initials: —
Age: 49
Date: June 14, 2016
Title: Magic Marbles

I was walking down the hall at Harborview and two small kids were sitting on a bench in front of me. They were talking but seemed to be watching things on the floor. Occasionally they would quickly flick their hands near to the ground and watch intently. As I got closer to them I saw that they were playing some kind of game with marbles. After they flicked marbles the objects didn't seem to behave normally. They accelerated and bounced all over the hall and floor defying gravity. People started to slip and slide all over the hall and then all at once the marbles disappeared. Everyone seemed to be relieved they were able to walk freely again and went back to work.

“The sun was hot, the waves were gentle; the sea was bright and blue...”

Initials: K
Age: 43
Date: June 14, 2016
Title: Last Night

Last night I dreamt about the weekend. A long weekend. Not anything specific that day but dreamed of having a pancake breakfast and taking the dog, the kids, and the hubby out to a sandy beach. The sun was hot, the waves were gentle; the sea was bright and blue. I didn't think on the piles of work at the office but dreamed of a simple day where we were together and outside. No one got sunburned and no one arguing or demanding my time. It was a good dream last night.

“But when I woke up nothing had changed...”

Date: June 14, 2016
Title: Job Opportunity

I was taking classes—taking English classes and other training. In my dream I got the job I was dreaming for. I was successful and got everything because of my training. Everything was o.k. But when I woke up nothing had changed.

“I slid down the slide and it seemed to last forever...”

Initials: WG
Date: June 14, 2016
Title: Underground Party

It was late at night and dark and I was walking to an underground party. When I arrived I found a subterranean waterslide. All of my old friends were there and the party was raging. I slid down the slide and it seemed to last forever. Twisting, winding, flipping. I got to the bottom and a wide opening poured me into a sea of shifting Tupperware plates and containers. After I got out the party was over and empty. I left and found a $11 on the street. A homeless man asked me if I had any change to spare. I gave him the $11 and he robbed me for my phone and my wallet. I woke up feeling like it was real.

“I was hanging on the wing of a 747 and then I let go...”

Initials: DG
Age: 62
Date: June 14, 2016
The Astral Plane

I was hanging on the wing of a 747 and then I let go and I was going faster than Mach 1. I was going 900 miles per hour. I had 90 seconds of exhilaration. Then I was on the Astral Plane! My flying dreams are the very best! They are awesome. I've had them since I was a kid.

“I’ll be right with you… I’ll be right with you… I’ll be right with you…”

Initials: —
Age: —
Date: —
Title: Service

Years ago I used to wait tables and it was not uncommon to have a dream in which I was walking by endless tables of customers. There were so many tables, so many customers, that I found myself repeatedly saying “I’ll be right with you… I’ll be right with you… I’ll be right with you… I’ll be right with you…” but there was no time to stop and help them.  Recently I had a similar dream where I couldn’t get to a patient to help them—for similar reasons.

“… although feeling puzzled at being there, I’m not anxious. …”

Initials: —
Age: —
Date: —
Title: Empty Buildings

In my dream I’m walking through empty buildings and I feel very tired like I’ve been working all night. The buildings are brightly lit. It is odd but although feeling puzzled at being there, I’m not anxious. I just feel very tired. When I have this dream I feel as though I would rather not dream at all.

“… I looked in the rearview mirror and out the windows. …”

Initials: JL
Age: 46
Date: June 14, 2016
Title: Bright Eyes

While driving, my friends and I were enjoying blue water reflections of a tunnel we passed through. I looked in the rearview mirror and out the windows, when suddenly our faces turned into the bright light coming from the tunnel. Faces of light. The brightness woke me with happy thoughts.

“I haven’t remembered a dream in a long time but last night …”

Initials: JW
Age: —
Date: June 14, 2016
Title: On The River Again

I haven't remembered a dream in a long time but last night I dreamed I was back working on a tugboat on the Mississippi River near New Orleans again. I was working again with old friends I have not seen in years.

“...my struggle to keep my arms around the chaos...”

Initials: L.K.
Age: —
Date: Reoccurring Dream (varied dates)
Title: Barely Controlled Chaos

I worked in the ER at Harborview for 10 years. I still dream at least once a week of how overwhelmingly busy it is and my struggle to keep my arms around the chaos and keep everyone o.k. In the dream I am in the old ER with the glass cage in the middle with no room to sit down. This dream is real and lucid like I am there again. As Charge Nurse I am making sure everyone has what they need and directing everyone to where they need to be. When I wake up I feel a relief that I don't have that responsibility anymore but a sense of pride that I was a part of that era at Harborview.

“... she is always running and playing...”

Initials: —
Age: —
Date: —
Title: Brussel Griffon

I have a reoccurring dream about a dog I used to have. It was a Brussel Griffon breed and disappeared one day and I never saw her again. I loved that dog. In the dream she is always running and playing and she lets me know everything is o.k. They say that's a good sign. I think an eagle or a hawk might have gotten her. She was a small. I really loved that dog.

“There were holes in the road of the bridge and a boy was pulling fish out...”

Initials: B
Age: 61
Date: June 15, 2016
Title: The Bridge

I dreamed I was on a bridge (the I5 between Portland and Vancouver). I was driving a little bumper car back-and-forth in both directions. There were holes in the road of the bridge and a boy was pulling fish out of the holes. The fish seemed to disappear. There was traffic but it didn't seem to matter to me and my bumper car.

“I dreamed that I was swimming through the halls of Harborview...”

Initials: —
Age: —
Date: —
Title: Swimming dream overheard in hall at Harborview

I dreamed that I was swimming through the halls of Harborview...

“The car hit me going 75 MPH...”

Initials: MJ
Age: —
Date: —
Title: He’s Not Finished With You Yet

I lost my father when I was 4 years old. On June 2nd, 1982, when I was 16, I was on my way home from playing a game against the Australian Bears and I received the MVP award. It was dusk and I was on a motorcycle. I had just pulled out of the gas station and was switching gears. When I looked up a drunk driver had veered into my lane and was directly in front of me. The car hit me going 75 MPH. They took me to First Baptist Hospital in Nashville. I died 3 times and was brought back and then was in a Coma for some time. Before I finally woke from the Coma I had a dream that my tall father was with me. I saw my father and he said, "He's not finished with you yet." and I woke up soon after. I always thought I was a walking miracle after that.

“...it’s like a director walks into the scene and says ‘Cut, o.k. let’s do the scene again.’”

Initials: DCM
Age: —
Date: —
Title: A Second Chance

I saw everything happen twice. I died and came back to life. I was out of my body watching everything happen from above. I saw my family in the dream. I was in the broken car again. The accident plays out again and again. I'm in the car and it is flipping over. It gets to the point where the car comes to rest and then it's like a director walks into the scene and says “Cut, o.k. let's do the scene again.” In the dream I die in the accident and then get to come back to life over and over.


The Dream Registry at Harborview is implemented through subtle variations with hospital room environment. To make patients, staff, and visitors aware of the project we make use of standard brand Harborview pillowcases that are specially embroidered with text and images depicting Harborview architecture, and cloud forms by Connie Hwang and Sean Miller. In addition, the Dream Registry project includes:

·       Specially designed registry cards for anonymous Harborview sleepers to write down their dreams for transcription and inclusion in the dream registry/archive.
·       The design of an HDR website and database.
·       Selected dreams will be digitally transmitted on Harborview plasma screen (electronic announcement board), sent via e-mail, and digitally recorded on an HDR website as a way to invite engagement with and provide publicity for the project.
·       The focus at this stage of this project will be on the generated dream texts themselves, however, the texts may also serve as the impetus for future literary projects, installation art, readings, and graphic design projects. The project is ripe to evolve into other creative outcomes and research activities.


Peggy Weiss, curator and program manager for Harborview Medical Center invited Sean Miller to visit the hospital and tour the facilities and Harborview public art collection and to propose a project for Harborview. In April 2012, Sean Miller met with staff and various committees to better understand the needs of the facility, staff, and patients. In April 2014, Miller returned to present the Harborview Dream Registry concept, imagery, and reconnect with various committees, staff, medical personal, Seattle public art administrators, Medline representatives, and writers and publicists for the medical center. A strong support for the project has developed within the Harborview community.

Peggy Weiss writes: “The Dream Registry is a very compelling exploration for us, and quite different from other projects in our decades-long collaboration with artists at Harborview. We have long appreciated the benefits, tangible and intangible, of creativity, self-expression and imagination, which can be powerful forces in achieving the larger goal of improved health.

What Sean Miller and his team members offer is not a painting or a sculpture, but a friendly invitation to our patients, their families, and the Harborview staff to explore and engage with the world of dreams as a part of healing. Whether considered literally or metaphorically, dreams can encourage private reflection or generate stories to be shared interactively. They can cause us to harness our strengths and persist toward greater aims. The Dream Registry, with multiple components ranging from artfully customized bed linens to story circles and a web-based dream registration site, will help us to capture and reflect on these elusive, frequently fleeting moments, their characteristics, and perhaps encourage us all to consider our dreams and aspirations in a deeper way as we spend time together at Harborview Medical Center." ~ Peggy Weiss, Curator and Program Manager for Harborview Medical Center

Lisa Herriott, architect and interior designer for Harborview has this to say about the project: “I'm looking forward to…[The Dream Registry project] at Harborview.  The Dream Registry will provide an opportunity for our patients, visitors and staff to take pause, reflect and share their dreams through sleep recovery. This project aligns with one of the hospitals major initiatives to promote a quiet environment for patient's healing and recovery process. This active recognition for our quality of sleep and its role in ones wellbeing is tantamount to our healthy minds and bodies. Thinking about our dreams in a poetic and storytelling manner allows for engagement with family, providers and the Harborview community to make connections across the hospital and let one know they are not alone in the healing process. The Dream Registry project has the potential to embrace Harborview's mission of caring and collectively create a living breathing work of art.” ~ Lisa Herriott, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, Project Manager | Interior Designer, Planning Department, Harborview Medical Center

Susan Gregg, senior assistant director for media and public relations, UW Medicine, and spokesperson for Harborview Medical Center writes about HDR as follows: “UW Medicine media relations pitches news stories to reporters locally, nationally and internationally, with topics ranging from art to the latest medical discoveries. We have had great success promoting previous stories about art in our hospitals. We feel the Harborview Dream Registry is a unique project that offers great potential for media coverage, and we are excited to be a part of it. We will also ask patients who are interacting with the project to share their stories with media. This human element often is the hook that will interest media in the story and engage the public.” ~ Susan Gregg, senior assistant director for media and public relations, UW Medicine, and spokesperson for Harborview Medical Center