Forest of Dreams

We created a ‘Forest of Dreams’: a collection of tree-like sculptures located in front of the main school building, and network of concealed speakers located in the school grounds, which provide a subtle and engaging soundscape of stories and dreams from Dunalley children and the local community. 

Back story

On 4 January 2013, a bushfire swept through the coastal town of Dunalley, destroying many houses and public buildings, including the local primary school.

In 2014, David Patman, Michelle Boyde, Matt Warren and Gerhard Mausz were commissioned to undertake a public artwork to be installed in the new Dunalley Primary School. (See information about school rebuilding here.)

Dunalley Primary is a powerful symbol beyond its physical buildings and boundaries - it is part of the self-identity and ethos of Dunalley and surrounding areas. Its reconstruction, along with other local building projects, represents the rebuilding of the confidence and spirit that was damaged by the 2013 bushfires. Dunalley is not only rebuilding a school, but also contributing to the regrowth of community spirit.

Dunalley Primary destroyed by fire

Dunalley Primary destroyed by fire

Our idea is that the concept of a ‘dreaming community’ provides an engaging way to integrate these elements. Dreams can embody painful feelings, as well as hopes and wishes, and communal sharing of dreams can allow people to see connections and develop insight about common problems, and plan together for their resolution.



We designed a forest of large scale sculptures designed to represent regrowth of local vegetation, and conducted a project with Dunalley students, in which they learned about and recorded their dreams.

Sketch of sculptural forms by Gerhard Mausz

Sketch of sculptural forms by Gerhard Mausz

Field recordings

The students also made field recordings which we used to create soundscapes, triggered and played back by sensors concealed in the sculptures.

Making dream catchers

Making sculptures