Seven years have passed since the Dreams of Art Spaces Collected project was launched. The traumatic shock triggered worldwide by 9/11 had faded slightly; thoughts about religious and political conflicts were less angst-ridden once more. At the beginning of the project, there were questions about the extensive global context, which capitalistically permeates even our private bodies and affects everyone through climate change. How can interdependencies be examined, the reference lines that connect the individual to larger groups and then the whole?
We prefaced our first brochure with a quote from Édouard Glissant’s Poétique de la Relation, in which he used the reality of the Caribbean and Pacific archipelagos as a metaphor for the hybridization of cultures. Beyond the sudden contact, "creolization" for Glissant implies a limitless gathering of diverse but equally valid aspects, of elements that break like waves along island shores, with unpredictable consequences. Like an island in Glissant’s metaphor, we chose the contemporary, experimental art space as a common denominator, which can be used to reflect a wide variety of related fields and relationships.
Contemporary art spaces are now emerging in different parts of the world. Although artistic concepts and terms related to art spaces are constantly being redefined, the space for contemporary art remains the constant for our collection. However, this is not a “modern”, neutral space, but rather a space charged by a variety of factors: operators, artistic and theoretical contributions, the audience, reception, exchanges with spaces in other locations, and especially the local conditions, which may differ fundamentally. It is a civil space, which becomes political–especially in times of crisis.
As a peer-to-peer project, "Dreams of Art Spaces Collected" is particularly interested in project spaces and experimental institutions initiated by artists. Discussions about such spaces are the object of the collection. These are recorded on video and made available on the Internet and as DVD collections. Questions as to how the spaces were created, how art can be presented and communicated are used to initiate the discussions; the question concerning dreams or dreamed visions renders visible the utopian potential behind the specific locations.
The selection of our contributions is consistently and inevitably also determined by chance. "Dreams of Art Spaces Collected" is a performative touring project which is updated repeatedly through the movements of those collecting the material. The relationship between the limited resources and the desire to expand the horizons of people worldwide is reflected upon as a human dilemma. The first trips to China, Australia, and to the European periphery followed existing contacts, with project selection influenced by the advice of available experts on the respective scenes.
Meanwhile, approximately 50 contributions have been published and presented in various contexts as exhibitions or symposia. These are texts or islands in a figurative sense which can help us test other "creole" constellations. Of course we would like to complete the collection with contributions from many other remote centers throughout the world. The continuation of the collection at the end of 2014 in Bengaluru/ Bangalore, Kochi, and Mumbai/Bombay is a small step in this direction.
Dorothee Albrecht, Andreas Schmid and Moira Zoitl