COVID Dreamscapes

COVID Dreamscapes

COVID Dreamscapes is a 57:00 sonic narrative of dreams prompted by the COVID-19 (COrona, VIrus, Disease) pandemic (pan = all, demic = people). COVID dreams are widely reported as strange, intense, colorful, and vivid reflections of concerns and fears over contagion, loneliness, loss of control, stress over work and/or life. Medical researchers offer interpretations about meanings. Websites provide opportunities to share and even visualize COVID dreams.

COVID Dreamscapes uses field recordings and found sounds to portray spiraling sonic mashups both real and imagined associated with my personal COVID dreams. While different from what other people are hearing in their COVID dreams these dreamscapes may prompt thoughts about this unique overlay of sound in our lives.


Framework framework:afield #738
Juried broadcast, international
Framework Radio
Põlgaste, Estonia
13-19 December 2020
Curated by international sound, performance, and radio artist Patrick McGinley (aka murmer).

Framework Radio focuses on field recording of sonic sources and their use in compositions. Featuring juried work by international sound artists, Framework Radio's goal is to present not only the extremely diverse sound environments of our world, but also the extremely diverse work that is being produced by the artists who choose to use these environments as their sonic sources. The research and creative question behind Framework Radio programming asks, "Is field recording a style or genre, or rather an uncontrollable and undefinable tool as any, that may be interpreted, manipulated, and appropriated by anyone with a microphone and idea?" Works produced in response to this question are the answer, the definition, not vice versa. Based in Põlgaste, Põlva County, in southeast Estonia, Framework Radio began broadcasting in June 2002 on Resonance 104.4 FM in London. Episodes are now broadcast on radio stations around the world.


I created and submitted COVID Dreamscapes as an episode of Framework Radio, an international showcase of field recording, phonography, and sound hunting, curated by international sound, performance, and radio artist Patrick McGinley (aka murmer). Coho Crossing and several other works of mine have been featured on Framework Radio.
#738 COVID Dreamscapes, 13-19 December 2020
#711 Coho Crossing, 26 April - 2 May 2020
#658 Rainstorm Reveries, 21-27 October 2018
#623 In Progress, 17 December 2017 - 13 January 2018
#583 Transect: London, 29 January 2016 - 4 February 2017
#542 Water, Waves, Dreams, 31 January - 6 February 2016
#433 Between Sleep and Dreams, 9-15 September 2013
#405 Ambient Pulsations, 6 February - 6 March 2013
#389 Tell Me A Story about Meditation, 23-30 September 2012
#386 Meditation, 2-8 September 2012
#381 Contact, 12-14 July 2012


Object: Audio
Format: mp3
Bit Rate: 320kbs
Duration: 57:00
Created: 2020
Creator: John F. Barber
Image: "Dust Devil Dance" taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona. More information:

Artist Statement

On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia-like cases were reported in people associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On 7 January 2020, these cases were identified as COVID-19, a coronavirus. The first documentedcase of COVID in the United States—a 35-year-old man who had visited family in Wuhan, China, and returned to Washington State on 15 January—was reported in Snohomish County, Washington, 21 January.

On 23 March, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a state-wide order requiring everyone to stay home. All but "essential" businesses were to close. This was called "social distancing" and was seen as a way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The original proclamation was for two weeks. On 4 April, Inslee extended his "Stay at Home-Stay Healthy" proclamation until 4 May. The proclamation was never lifted and I have gone to ground in my home.

I only leave home for groceries, early morning to avoid people. I spend hours each day in front of my computer. Zoom fatigue is real. I seek escape through sleep, but the COVID dreams intrude. Spirling overlays of memories long past and near present, accompanied by sonic mashups both real and imagined. These are COVID Dreamscapes.