Monday, 5 October 2009

APRIL 2010

// Exhibition /Reading Event/Film Event/Closing Concert//

Stacion _ Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina
Rr. Zija Prishtina p.n.
10000 Prishtine
Republika e Kosove

Curator: Fatos Ustek
Artists: Anita Di Bianco, Young In Hong, Laura Kuch, Hidde Van Schie, Lindsay Seers

Ghosts of dreams deferred, is a project with four components. The group exhibition hosts artists from various countries in Europe and Abroad who will be engaged in a discussion in the consequent days of the opening through presenting their practice, which will be followed by an open-to-public dinner at Stacion. Additionally, there will be a film event focussed on ghost films accompanied by the curator’s presentation of the concept. Lastly, there will be a publication produced as a furthering of the exhibition and its socio-political context. Ghosts of dreams deferred, evolve around the idea of revisiting events that has been long-imagined-and-failed-to-take-place, that hence transformed into the domain of traumatic. The concept depicts the state of being continuously haunted by the resemblances of the destructive disappointment that emerges with the deference of the passionately imagined. Societies, individuals, and personas, in ontological sense, live with the continuous production of desire and with the drive to embody their dreams. Passion as a strong impulse may wither away by the immense accumulation of disappointments and failures of beholding the dreams to come true. As failure is not the ultimate end, but the consequence of the loss of trust in one’s engagement to political, economical, psychological, emotional and social domains; it leads to viciously circulating state of complication. That is to say, it leads to a complicated state of mind where the present moment is continuously defined by the traumatic. The traumatic is the representative of the set of traumas, which encapsulates the body (individuals, societies, communities) in suppressive sensual space and holds back. Hence life becomes complicated. Sociologist Avery F. Gordon states that, ‘Life is Complicated’ is a theoretical statement that is forged by the forms of power and features of complex personhood. For power, Gordon states that: “The power relations that characterize any historically embedded society are never as transparently clear as the names we give them to imply.” and adds, “We can and must call it by recognizable names, but so too we need to remember that power arrives in forms that can range from blatant white supremacy and state terror to ‘furniture without memories.”1 Like trauma, the forms of power and apparatuses of state cannot be clearly elaborated or grasped in the capacity of language. Rather the feeling of the encounter or the sensuous experience stays in, initiates and directs the future actions. For instance, a major shift in state politics cannot be only articulated by the linear cause-affect relationship but through the feelings that have been generated before, during and in the aftermath. Hence, ghosts, not in metaphysical sense, resemble, reiterate, and almost re-enact the experience of the trauma. In other words, ghosts are the metaphorical iconography of the traumatic. The traumatic is in the very nature of personhoods (rationale of societies, characteristics of individuals). According to Gordon, complex personhood is the second dimension of ‘life is complicated’. “Complex personhood means that all people (albeit in specific forms whose specificity is sometimes everything) remember and forget, are beset by contradiction, and recognize and misrecognize themselves and others. Complex personhood means that people suffer graciously and selfishly too, get stuck in the symptoms of their troubles, and also transform themselves. Complex personhood means that even those called ‘other’ are never never that. Complex personhood means that the stories people tell about themselves, about their troubles, about their social worlds, and about their society’s problems are entangled and
weave between what is immediately available as a story and what their imaginations are reaching toward. Complex personhood means that people get tired and some are just plain lazy. Complex personhood means that groups of people will act together, that they will vehemently disagree with and sometimes harm each other, and that they will do both at the same time and expect the rest of us to figure it out for ourselves, intervening and withdrawing as the situation requires. Complex personhood means that even those who haunt our dominant institutions and their systems of value are haunted too by things they sometimes have names for and sometimes do not. At the very least, complex personhood is about conferring the respect on others that comes from presuming that life and people’s lives are simultaneously straightforward and full of enormously subtle meaning.”2
What does it mean to try to make an articulation of traumatic, what does it mean to recall and try to hold on the relational which defines the present moment? What does it mean to meet with the ghosts of our past, or be aware of the continuous state of being haunted? Ghosts of Dreams Deferred is a project, which presupposes that haunting is a social phenomenon rather than an individual psychosis nor a pre-modern superstition; hence it investigates the potentiality of radical political, social and emotional change. That is to say, it implements change, which is possible only through flourishing of new forms of subjectivity and sociality. In the introduction to Gordon’s book, Janice Radway states that: “Social analysts cannot afford to rely complacently on a penchant for describing and categorising the past, embedded in the terrifying present that surrounds us, we must seek to revivify our collective capacity to imagine a future radically other to the one ideologically charted out already by the militarized, patriarchal capitalism that has thrived heretofore on the practice of the social erasure. As Gordon puts it, ‘To be haunted in the name of a will to heal is to allow the ghost to help you to imagine what was lost that never even existed, really. That is its utopian grace: to encourage a steely sorrow laced with delight for what we lost that we never had; to long for the insight of that moment in which we recognize, as in Benjamin’s profane illumination, that it could have been and can be otherwise.”
Thus, the project is a proposal to allow the ghosts of the past to be able to perform a new future within an yet-unthought-soon-to-be-present approaches, understandings, and positions. Ghosts of Dreams Deferred is a ground for activating the complication of personhoods, societies at their rationale.

1 Avery F. Gordon, Ghostly Matters, Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, New University of Minnesota Press Edition, 2008, p. 3
2 Ibid, p. 4-5

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Independent curator and art critic, from Istanbul, currently based in London, UK. She is member of AICA TR; currently guest tutor at Vision Forum, Linkopings Universitet, Sweden. She is a member of OuUnPo and leads La Duree with Per Huttner under the framework of Vision Forum.