‘Collapse Dynamics 01’ at Dream Sequence – SPOT Lisbon, Lisbon Art Weekend, Marvila Art District

Image: Lena Lewis-King

Collapse Dynamics 01 is a text and sculptural installation that invites viewers to consider the dynamics of existential risk through the medium of the subconscious.

The work emerges from a series of dreams that commenced in January 2021, after I commenced working for a think tank focussed on biodiversity loss. My research with this group involved interviewing scientists from around the world to understand the pace and phase of environmental degradation relative to planetary boundaries across key global biodiversity hot spots. What quickly became clear was that these people held a very different view of reality than others I met in daily life. For most of the scientists I was speaking to, they worked each day with a war-time mentality, understanding that the Sixth Mass Extinction had commenced and was well underway.

Around this time, I started having dreams about different forms of existential collapse. 50% of the Earth flooding, war, blackouts, air pollution, for example. In recording these dreams the question emerge: were these visions of the lucid subconscious or premonitions of the present-future? Were these dreams a form of precognition that prepared the body and mind for the coming crises, or frivolous panickings of the mind?

Stemming from a consideration of systems transitions, Collapse Dynamics 01 asks the question: does transition first begin within our own psyches? Does the dismantling of neoliberal capitalism communicate itself to us through our interior worlds as a means of preparing us for new material realities? Are these dreams conditioning us for the realities we must inevitably face?

Image: Lena Lewis-King

Lisbon Art Weekend inaugurates  Dream Sequence  at MAD – Marvila Art District, its first collective exhibition, part of the SPOT Lisbon program, a new initiative that will annually bring to Lisbon an exhibition with emerging artists based in Lisbon, the result of an open call.

Exhibiting artists include: Barbara Portailler, Bruno Jose Silva, Clara Imbert, Gabriel Ribeiro, Guilherme Curado, Lena Lewis-King, Lisette van Hoogenhyuze, Maria Rebela, Nithya Iyer and S4RA.

Sequence of Dreams  was the theme and title chosen by Manon Klein, curator of the exhibition.

“In storytelling, a ‘Dream Sequence’ allows for a break from the main sory to suggest a character’s intimate thoughts and to unfold an unconscious and mystial exploration of real-life scenarios. Through a mulitplicity of artistic expessions, this exhibition uses this technique to immerse visitors in their own Dream Sequence. An altered state, in times of excessive and accelerated degradation. A fantasy stemmming from a cryptic version of our world. An interlude, blending traces of memories, symbols and secrets, facts and fictions, fears and mirages, flirting with the prophetic.

Drawing from the constant flow of information, images and filters in which we are caught, the artworks of this exhibition compose ghostly landscapes of stones and pixels. They speak of archives and dissolution – disappearance even. They capture the everyday, invoke figures from art history, and display scenes of contemporary choaos. They flood us with many questions, among which: what does it mean to dream under capitalism? And a time of wars and disassters? How not to feel lost and distressed in an ongoing nightmare?

Dreaming can become a refuge from the overhwelming violence displayed on our screens. It can be a space of increased awareness and emancipation. Paradoxically then, dreaming can be a wake-up call. It can be an exercise in world-building, a way of suggesting other realities by accessing forgotten events and stories and by imagining a reconstruction after or alongside the ruins. It can perhaps even help engage us in a shift of perception suggested and hoped by phiosopher Federico Campagna, from a degraded reality based on technic to one grounded in magic, accepting the shadows and the ineffable.”
Manon Klein


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