»What it is, Yet a Dream-map«
7. 4. 2022 - 5. 5. 2022


Artists: Anna Schiefer & Björn Kühn, Flaviu Cacoveanu, Fulterer & Scherrer, Funduk, LAND 3C, Lőrinc Borsos, Marie-Andrée Pellerin, Naomi Moonlion

Curator: Maximilian Lehner

___________

7. 4. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the participating artists and the curator

7. 4. at 10 pm: exhibition opening after-party at Klub Tiffany (entrance: 5 €)

9. 4. at 3 pm and 5 pm: performative walk by Funduk (apply via galerija@skuc.org)

5. 5. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the curator

___________

Neon, Dark, Glitter? Is it cosy and soft or solid, cold? How does it look and feel and sound? The different, the other, the future, the alternative, the non-conforming, the speculative, the dream, the utopia. Is it only something that we have not yet recognised? How do you approach a thought that is different from how you are used to conceiving things?

I had this idea for an exhibition in my mind, the concept was there. I probably lost it—or even failed to draft it in the first place, I might have only dreamed it. I thought through the possible means of approaching physical qualities in a radical new way. Spaces, bodies, objects, sounds. How to visualise, spatialise, manifest something as an alternative? How to inscribe traumatic pasts and burdened histories in a way that is not an attempt to avoid future failures? How to think encounters and traces of difference without the negativity that sticks to anything off the normative?

Within the field of Queer Studies, there is a drive to do so. As Jack Halberstam wrote: “We need to craft a queer agenda that works cooperatively with the many other heads of the monstrous entity that opposes global capitalism, and to define queerness as a mode of crafting alternatives with others.”[1] Although triggered by a history of neglect and stigmatisation, other than focusing on concrete forms of discrimination, this queerness as a form of alternative, non-conforming, can be a utopia. But, “Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality.”[2]

Further away from the modes of critical thought, I suddenly find myself with a poem, Dreamwood by Adrienne Rich. The thought of a radical dream found in something as ordinary and banal as the figure of the wood that makes up a piece of furniture soothes me. In the poem, from which the exhibition title is taken, a whole landscape is uncovered in the veiny, carved old wood. One might rather ascribe this imaginative perception where there is nothing to see to a child. Because we tend to see walls, state boundaries, physical shapes, socio-political factors, three dimensions, rules and laws that delineate how we use places. All these factors are questioned and criticised, maybe changed.

But how to really alter the ways we think about boundaries or shapes? “Our attention is saturated with all the knowledge of what we can no longer imagine.”[3] In a complex pattern of critique, one might get lost, sometimes contradictory and opposing forces are decisive of what stance we take. But in all this, again, a sense of difference is lost. That there could be an alternative. I was hoping for some hint from theories, maybe some utopian impulse from alternative spaces. But anywhere there is an urge to create something different, utopia fills very concrete needs. Ideas are shaped by the forces that we criticise because they impose neoliberal standards, support economisation of all spheres, marginalise different forms of living or exclude those outside a fictional norm for forcing their views and standards on others. It seems, even fabulation and speculative thinking tend to be controlled by these imageries we oppose.

All seemingly standardised ways of seeing and thinking offer margins for extending them, for perceiving and conceiving them in different, non-conforming ways. The old piece of furniture from the poem points to that kind of perception. The exhibition is therefore narrated in a space without a particular order. When walking through the space, you walk between utopia, abstraction and imagination – in plain sight, the weight of the past.

I felt that there is a way of approaching space and sound differently in the narrative installations of this exhibition, suddenly giving physicality to something that is described as not fitting our usual imageries of the world; a fictitious entity that we did not know before, which we cannot assign to anything familiar. We get a glimpse on how subcultural cues lead to imagining something new. The combination of signs, the complete void, spatial distribution, or a political signifier that becomes a space, a sculpture, an object, an instrument, a map. These ideas present in the exhibition aim at something in-between, a space, an entity that emerges in relations or differences and can therefore constitute something radically new, guide us through all the positions of this exhibition.

This calls for a shift of perspective, against the idea that the concepts of things and how to group them prefigure our possibilities of what to see, what to describe, name and feel. “Today we are literate, but we cannot read between the lines or beyond a literality that falls upon us with all the weight of insulting obviousness. There is no room for strangeness.”[4] How to imagine all physicality as strangeness? I thought of it as an experiment: what happens, if we take this different point of departure? Where to find these radical new spaces and objects?

I am back with the poem, and maybe a hint on understanding what these works of art in the exhibition could do. They do not need to craft a new way of perceiving the world, we do not need to infer from a concrete materiality to a new image of the world. But it could be similar to the figure of the wood, a dream-map: “It would be the map […] / by which she would recognize that poetry / isn’t revolution but a way of knowing / why it must come.”[5]

Maximilian Lehner

___________

Naomi Moonlion is a non-binary artist, witch and writer whose practice manifests itself in embodied research, approaching topics like identity politics or creating space and community through a queer and shamanist perspective to discuss society in an honest way.

Fulterer & Scherrer’s practice stems from local conditions, historic references, space proportions and atmosphere. Their project work starts with predetermined premises in which questions of identity, sexuality, etc. are played out.

LAND 3C started as a commissioned audiovisual piece in 2018 and has developed as a growing collective platform since then. Their work spans through different media, creating an imagined setting to problematise present cultural contexts.

Flaviu Cacoveanu’s trans-disciplinary practice develops at the border between photography, video, installation, painting and performative interventions or experiments, which transcend a specific medium and stem from his environment and self-reflection.

Lőrinc Borsos is an entity with its own creative consciousness. The basis of his/her existence is the coexistence of extremes, but his/her actual goal is the solution of duality.

Marie-Andrée Pellerin’s works deal with different language-related themes such as: political speeches, science fiction literature, words’ acoustics and linguistic worlds, mostly through video works, sound installations and performances.

Anna Schiefer explores how psycho-social systems manifest around objects which are deployed as tools of an expanded sociality of groups and the built environment. (The artwork was created in collaboration with Björn Kühn.)

Funduk experiments with the use of visual devices to experience a shift of perception, aiming for insights on the connection to philosophical perspective or ideologies.

___________

[1] Jack Halberstam, 2008. The Anti-Social Turn in Queer Studies, GJSS 5 (2), p. 154.

[2] José Esteban Muñoz, 2009. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: NYU Press, p. 1.

[3] Marina Garcés, 2022. Critical imagination, Artnodes 29 (January 2022), p. 7.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Adrienne Rich, 1987. Dreamwood. In: Collected Poems: 1950–2012, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2016.

___________

Slovene proofreading: Inge Pangos

English proofreading: Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi

Slovene translation: Katarina Jerin

Cover image: Lőrinc Borsos, etalon, 2016. (Photo: Áron Weber.)

Design: Lea Jelenko

Photos from the opening & the performative walk with Funduk: Simao Bessa

Exhibition view: Klemen Ilovar

___________

The exhibition is kindly supported by

___________

The Škuc Gallery programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Ljubljana.