The Octopus Dialogues
Proposal for Future Everyday Life, presented at De Appel Amsterdam, 2021.
By invitation of Masha Dómracheva.
The octopus dialogues
Artists living in broedplaatsen type of accommodations such as WOW Amsterdam and WOW Lieven are like octopuses.
They possess eight arms, each one containing a different kind of knowledge.
They are smart, and get smarter each day, accumulating information and utilising it for their own survival.
And just like octopuses, they are loners too.
They live isolated in their own studios, self-sufficient spaces allowing them to survive. But not to thrive.
Each generation of artists passing by the walls of those residency buildings arrives with great enthusiasm, energy and motivation. A desire to develop their individual practices, but also to belong to a community.
They aim to create collectively, to learn from one another, to collaborate, to cook together, to plant seeds and eat fresh greens in the communal garden.
Each generation of artists passing by those residency buildings hits the very same walls. They face a lack or total in-existence of common space, they yearn for care and encouragement from the organisers, search for a program aimed at bringing them together, but in vain.
Each generation of artists passes by, and with a certain determination, tries to build connections, to invite others in their own studio, to get things started. Some manage, most stay isolated, afraid of disrupting a system which clearly does not want to be challenged.
The ones who bring on change and gather information and knowledge on the ways to improve the collective setting leave, their time has past.
And they leave no traces.
Each generation of artists passing by the walls of those residency buildings takes their own belongings with them, and in their boxes, the pages of history they have contributed to.
They are forgotten in the mass, and their successes with them.
Just like octopuses, they worked hard, learn a lot, initiated change and some of them even elevated their living conditions.
And just like octopuses they did not share that knowledge. And it disappeared in the depth of the sea.