Urban Dreams

Bora Petkova

URBAN DREAMS - The exhibition as an “archive” of dreams
Curated by Emil Mirazchiev
26. 10 - 26. 11. 2012
Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Public urban spaces are sensually perceptible reservoirs of knowledge. Such collective and individual sensitivities - interwoven with desires, dreams and visions - form various possible subtexts of a city. We can view the city as a walkable landscape of these subtexts. Old structures made of concrete, a poetically decorated balcony, the stroke of graffiti, the density of shops specialising in bridal fashion - all these phenomena are witnesses of preceding dreams.

Whether the realization of these dreams was successful or failed, they can inspire and teach us. Because dreams and desires are more than indispensable nourishments of human existence. We deduce our will from them - the impetus of our action and work. Hence dreams imply possibilities and consequences. URBAN DREAMS is an invitation to conceive the city not as a simple scenery of daily routine or the past, but as a space full of options for utilization, formation and perceptions - both as a potential physical and mental space.

URBAN DREAMS is mainly focused on artistic practice in South Eastern Europe. With this in mind, the project is a response to identity-negotiation as a consequence of historical happenings. “For the small nations of the East, history is of particular importance: they are constantly imagining and experiencing it, creating a ’victimized history’ of their own” (Longinovic 2002). The burden of recent history will indeed influence URBAN DREAMS, likewise history, thus also identities, can be interpreted anew. Hence the city becomes an astonishing indication of the persistence of space for dreams and their implementation, which has always been active, despite the legacy of a common victim mentality. In this sense, URBAN DREAMS aims to contribute to a creativity of forming identities.

URBAN DREAMS consists of two project modules:

1. Artistic interventions in public space
Based on manifold perspectives of diverse artists, URBAN DREAMS explores public and semi-public spaces. Through URBAN DREAMS art becomes a research strategy and the city turns into a laboratory. Arts, the city and everyday life confront each other. Reactions and interactions with the inhabitants join the continuous process of research. Since the attained insights stem from urban spaces, presentation opportunities can be found in precisely these spaces. Connections are generated directly at the place of origin. Recipients simultaneously become objects of observation and observers of objects, become part of the investigated. The act of (re-)search becomes an artistic performance in itself. At the same time it is not only about locating the dreams but about contextualizing them within their realities. Artistic methods provide us with a certain readability of urban dreams and their contexts. What we gain is a perception of how the citizens’ dreams and desires are embodied in materialized manifestations and atmospheres, of how they are projected into urban spaces, evoked, served or resisted.

2. The exhibition as an “archive” of dreams
For this project the exhibition space of the Center for Contemporary Art is transformed into an archive and reading room of (mainly Eastern) European artistic urban research, saving dreams expressed in explicit, and in implicit manners. In addition to the results provided by the latest artistic urbanism in Plovdiv and other partner cities of the HEICO network, this archive will also present international projects and works from the past years with different forms of media, based on material provided by partner organizations and artists from Armenia, Moldova, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria etc.

This project was supported by: Goethe Institute Bulgaria, Municipality Plovdiv, Foundation Plovdiv 2019 The event is part of the initiative “Plovdiv - Candidate for European Capital of Culture 2019” Text by Evelina Kokoranova