Walt Whitman’s very long and sophisticated poem »The Sleepers« grants us an entry into the universes of those rejuvenating communities. The piece in itself is an expression of democratic ideals, empathies and associations, and for an 1855 piece, a resistance in itself. But the crux is how Whitman conjures political utopias within dreams and succeeds in communicating with other humans by dreaming the same dreams. Sleep becomes that space of communion, an equality of consciousness even though not all are equal, as he juxtaposes race, age, class and other social hierarchies.
The exhibition The Name of Shades of Paranoia, Called Different Forms of Silence is a similar proposition by Viron Erol Vert. It is the transcription of poetry into space. A space which is meant to be a dormitory qua exhibition space – a dreamatory. It is a sleeping and dreaming laboratory, clinic and factory all in one. As fear has silenced and deprived people of spaces and the right words and voices to express themselves, Vert in this project proposes a space wherein people can come by to catch some sleep. The deliberateness in this is crucial. It is this taking time off the tyranny of the quotidian which is the resistance to the system.
Within this space furnished with beds, sound and a conducive sleeping outfit, Vert creates a democratic space wherein old and young, rich and poor, native and foreigner can come together and share dreams. On the one hand, sharing dreams in a Whitmanian sense, i.e. dreaming other people's dreams, and on the other hand sharing dreams by narrating what they dreamt about. Vert aims at transforming the space of Galerie Wedding into a cocoon or a womb that insinuates a safe haven. People can come in on a daily basis to narrate the dreams they had last night, or they might choose to have a siesta, and share their dreams if they remember. On an irregular basis, oneirocritics will be invited to the gallery space to interpret some dreams upon request by the dreamers. On a daily basis a dream of the day will be selected and published in some form.
The Name of Shades of Paranoia, Called Different Forms of Silence is an effort to convoke other spaces of sociopolitical reflections and resistances, in particular within the realm of the subconscious of sleeping and dreaming. A space where un-fearing and un-silencing are explored and practiced.
The project will also acknowledge the fact that although everyone dreams, metaphorical dreaming and the ability to remember one’s dreams, are also privileges. In extreme dire straits dreams are luxuries, as they too are silenced by the sheer brutality of reality. The exhibition project by Virol Erol Vert will be accompanied by lectures by scientists researching on dreams, as well as three performances by Driftmachine framed around three of the dream deities, Oneiroi, in Ovid’s »Metamorphoses«, namely Morpheus (god of dreams), Phobetor (god of nightmares) and Phantasos (god of surreal dreams, of inanimate objects in prophetic dreams).