My days in the house, or how I survived the dutch croquettes.

My days in the house, or how I survived the dutch croquettes.

An artist experience at Kanaal 10 Guest Studio PLANTAGEDOK, by Daniele Catalli (2014).

WELCOME TO DOKHUIS

When I first applied for Doklaan, I didn’t know what to expect. Dream Circus Project was just at the beginning and I was looking for a place to make it work outside my country. Also, I used to study in Groningen and wanted to go back to Holland for a while. I never lived in Amsterdam. I was curious about the city and the art scene. First priority was to find venues where I could interact with people, not just a white empty cube residency program. 1+1 made Doklaan. My experience in the house was very good. I met a lot of interesting people, often very different from what I am, which is always very intriguing. I also started learning Dutch. Even if I wasn’t confident enough to meld a proper conversation, this gave me more hints about the locals and made me feel more comfortable. It goes without saying, going to a café and be able to at least order in Dutch is a very little but important achieve. And it makes the coffee more enjoyable. Anyway, beside simple day-to-day facts, I learned more about the local culture and art. Very inspiring.

My only complain was about the studio space. Big size, Internet connection, but I really missed natural light in there. I believe Amsterdam has a beautiful natural light and it was a pity to miss it during the day. For that reason I often found myself working in the kitchen or in my room. I must say housemates were very nice about that. They never argued about that. The room was lovely, but you definitely need to put some kind of closet, especially for those who stay in the house for a long term. The “common space” in front of my room was a bit weird at the beginning, but I must say it was very nice to have people (and dogs) passing by. Anyhow, it could be organized better. 

THE PROJECT

Dream Circus Project changed a lot during my residency at Dokhuis. I can certainly say the residency was crucial to see weak points and put ideas together. Basically, Dream Circus is a touring exhibition of relational art that aims to investigate the visual imagery of dreams. My first idea (collect dreams and make posters) turn out to be too complicated, too expensive and quite useless (unless you do it in a festival). I was looking for some smarter way to run the project and I found it. After my residency at Dokhuis, Dream Circus has changed and is now presented as an installation made of dozens of small paper dream drawings. The public is invited to write about a dream or nightmare that has hit them particularly. One or more drawings are produced for every collected dream. In exchange for their dream visitors can chose among the available drawings of dreams created for somebody else. The only criterion visitors must respect during the choice of the image is to follow their instinct. As dreams are chosen, the installation changes giving way to new images. Now, DREAM CIRCUS involves visitors in the creative process, not only by enabling them to become authors, but also investing each one of them with the responsibility to bring to life a piece of work originated by their personal stories, and feelings first transformed into words and later into images. Majestically, the project Dream Circus explores people's unconscious and puts it on stage, pulling out visitors’ innermost feelings. 

DREAM CIRCUS became the result of participation and sharing, which puts the viewer between contemplation and action, triggering a social practice which is ultimately the medium of the work, a work that must be continually nourished by new dreams in order to exist. The installation is an endless work in progress, it changes face at every turn and takes on new characteristics at each stage. Now, after almost 2 years, the collection Dream Circus is by all means indefinite: sometimes it counts hundreds of drawings, sometimes only a few dozen. The project has got thus an exchange value that becomes the intrinsic value of the work itself: my dream is worth as much as another dream and vice versa. This causes a levelling of differences in age, gender and origin, which is the basis from which to learn the art of giving. The new working method I developed at Doklaan, allowed me to present the project to many different venues. As a result, Dreams Circus has travelled 7.000 km and shared more than 600 night dreams so far and my network grew bigger and I’m now working at 2 big tours around Europe and Asia. Aside Dokhuis I had the chance to get in touch with many other cultural places and events. I organized two more extra events at AWA GALLERY at OT301and OPEN UP FESTIVAL in Baarlo. Right now, the whole project can be seen at dreamcircusproject.com or you can also read the diary at www.dreamcircusproject.tumblr.com

CONCLUSION

I believe my experience at Doklaan was very positive, not only for Dream Circus project, but also because living and working in a different context, especially in an eclectic place such as DokHuis, gives you a new prospective of who you are. I have good memories of my days at the Huis.

Daniele

Torino june 14, 2014

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