Sondra Perry, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Martine Syms and Zhou Tao all made the shortlist for Muse, Rolls-Royce’s Art Programme.
The Dream Commission finds mid-career artists to be best representative and the best creators of moving-image concept artwork, and these artists were all tasked with creating art depicting dreams. The winner will be declared in 2021.
“We are delighted to announce four shortlisted moving-image artists for the inaugural Dream Commission, each of whom have outstanding reputations,” Müller–Ötvös said. “The art of moving-image is a creative and avant-garde genre and we are pleased to be supporting this medium at this critical time for the industry. To commission artists during a pandemic is an act of determination and faith in the power of culture to inform and transform our lives; a quality at Rolls-Royce that we fully endorse.”
All finalists were selected by an international jury, and each created a work of short-form moving-image art to explore the notion of “Dreams.”
Sondra Perry has a wide range of tools, including AI, animation, performance and video. She uses them to explore race, identity and technology. Her piece, titled “Lineage for a Phantom Zone,” looks at lineage, longing and memory through her own archived footage.
“The piece begins with me playing a theremin, using the touchless liminal instrument to conjure a dream space with multi-dimensional sound,” she said. “Growing up, my grandmother had a picture of herself on the land she was raised on in North Carolina on her dresser. I think about that picture often and I wanted to reflect on her history, that land, and my experience of it through images. I collapse time, space, and two generations of family to visualize a life dream that was mutated through imagination, images, and video and passed down through my DNA.”
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is based in Puerto Rico and is an artist and filmmaker. She makes films after lengthy research, observation and documentation, and her piece, titled “The Source,” uses photos of people, places and experiences to strike the viewer.
She uses Puerto Rico to elicit the emotions and ideas of the piece, and it comes with a strong sense of history and culture. She said her vision for “The Source” begins with an experience.
“My son is standing at the source of the Río Caguitas. Something seems to stop. Is it the ancient rock, the loud cold water pushing, the slowness above us, the smell? An interval,” she said. “Reading his translation of Proust to Haitian Kreyòl, a project undertaken for its own sake and without readers in mind, my colleague writer and translator Guy Regis Junior had said the task had been both full of pleasure and sacrificial. From there, there is an opening- up in the interval, in that time/space between one language, history and sensorial world, and another”
Martine Syms is based in Los Angeles and combines grit, humor and social commentary in her art. Her entry, titled “Kita’s World,” dives into Syms as a person biologically, psychologically and sociologically.
She said her world is a combination of “core material, broken samples, seductive loops and heavy theory.”
“Symptomatic of the contemporary condition, I was inspired by an anecdote by a prominent theorist in which intimate technology appears to read our minds,” she said. “Everything has a subtext, ulterior motives—but tech flattens everything out. It can speak our unconscious; we unravel equally in realms both real and digital. There is a dissolution of difference but no real plurality. I’m using Kita, an homage to an avatar from my childhood, to think through this tension.”
Zhou Tao of Guangzhou uses video, drawing and photography together. His submission, titled “Three Hundred Miles Southwest,” makes populated areas seem mythological.
“Three hundred miles from the dangerous peak to the southeast, those forgotten areas not covered by the high-speed network are at the end of the geography,” he said. “Between a wolf seeker with mountains as a companion and the 37th ‘remote style’ ecological model; between the giant reliefs in the narrow valley and the legendary gate into the four-dimensional; the engineering bases connected from one terminal to another scattered among the mountains, presenting a future fable that has long passed away of this mythological place.”
Following the nominations of 23 artists, these four were chosen unanimously by the jury, and the statement from that jury reads as follows:
“The Dream Commission offers an opportunity for artists to have a space to develop their aesthetics and to be able to delve deeply into an area where they can have an autonomy to make a work which can resonate. The quality of the long list that was presented to us made this an incredibly engaging, but also difficult selection process. The breadth of practice that was selected for us to consider was extraordinary – the sophistication of ideas and expression across this media was so inspiring. We have succeeded in selecting a variety of artists from different countries, cultures and different kinds of artistic thinking.”
The Dream Commission accepts entries from any medium used to create moving-image art, like experimental film, video, animation, immersive and participatory installations and content presented in non-screen formats.
Once this cycle concludes after two years, another cycle will begin to welcome in a brand new set of landmark artists and creators.
To stay up to date with Muse and the Dream Commission, you can follow them on Instagram.
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