The apocalypse is the time when the moon was bloody and the stars fell like leaves, where the sky was no longer there. For the Aztecs, the Mictlan was the other world, a nine-level cosmos were dogs were there to guide you. Mythologies have been mostly crafted in order to explain a particular connection between time and space; a temporality. The Judeo-Christian apocalypse sets the mood for a teleological understanding of time in which a genesis is framed together with a material end of the world. The Aztecs believed in rotating eras; eras propelled by different suns: the water sun, the tiger sun, the rain sun, same which at the end of its cycle turned the rain into drops of fire. Ancient Aztec temporality has its foundations on the idea of sacrifice, destruction, rebirth and cycles. There are eras, there are suns.
This project started with an empty and white room. A temporary living space that felt pretty much like a gallery, so to say hygienic. To turn that space a dash homelier I decided to bring along any branch, stone, seed that I would find sitting lonely while I walked down the streets of this strangely familiar city. This “objects” became my companions for a short period of time. Issa Samb, important Senegalese artist and thinker (who sadly died this year) said that objects many times decided where they wanted to go and –for doing so– they would talk to the passersby in a magical way. Samb suggests that whenever you pick up an object it is because you feel your-self reflected in it. A magical dialogue occurs between the human and the object; an intrinsic dialogue with the material world.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly. – Langston Hughes
The Ministry of Dreams (Ministère des rêves) is an intervention/installation at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop located in Dakar, Senegal. It is a call to dreams, a built passage to find playfulness and dreaminess in a place where many times is not seen as such. In my walks through the university I have seen numerous advertisements for students to go abroad; an unspoken land of dreams is placed outside of the university perimeters, outside of Dakar, outside of Senegal. Once while having a dialogue with Congolese dancer Faustin Linyekula I asked him what was poverty for him; he answered with absolute confidence: the lack of dreams.
A young black man with beard and suit, an opaque, beige suit. With a striped tie. This man looks at me for a long time, as if challenging me, as if to say: do not wait any longer. What did you think when you hid behind the house and it rained and you saw the moss? What did you think when you heard distant cries? When the land next door was filled with flames? You wondered if it was possible to change the world, if it was possible to reach those space lights that haunted you before you fell asleep. You liked to draw on some imaginary dunes and erase them, draw and erase them in a sort of frenzied hallucination. So you could calm down, you went into a trance where erasing gave you peace. This man, this bearded young man is there, he watches you, you are a child. You do not know what to say to him, you do not know if he hates you, if he repudiates you. You know, he’s waiting for you.
With Mour Fall at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (Dakar, Senegal)
Can we rely on what objects have to tell us? Which (hi)stories are objects telling us? Which is the potency and the agency of objects?
This photographic series ponders upon the idea of material history. It is a collection of objects found at the street known as “couloir de la mort” (death row) located in the campus of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.