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DREAM CITY Review

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My critics for the festival
(Author: Chiraz Mosbah)

Positive critics:

Visiting and discovering the medina in a different way

The festival is a source of money for craftsmen/restaurants/coffeeshops by attracting Tunisian citizens and tourists

The festival is an occasion to know new national and international artists and an occasion to local artists to rub foreigner artists

Attending interviews with the artists

Discussing with artists, curators, students, public about art

Great variety of art forms (installation, performance, choreography…)

The map was helpful to walk from one space to another despite the lack of signage on the way

Negative critics:

The weather conditions were not taken into consideration

Some mistakes in the program/timing and it wasn’t respected

Some artists weren’t on time and their artworks weren’t totally ready according to the timing mentioned in the program

Lack of guides/volunteers in some places to indicate the way or to explain the work to visitors

The spaces for some creations were not enough to receive many people at the same time and some creations were shown only one time, so the festival was ended without having the opportunity to attend some of them.

The public cannot visit more than 4/5 artworks per day.

Fees were not affordable for everyone.

1 _ Site-specific and context-conditioned _ about the artistic responses to the curatorial ambition to be “inspired by the place”

“All DREAM CITY creations have two things in common: you will see them here for the first time, and you will probably never see them elsewhere. Dream City is a festival of contextual and unique creations, more than ever, and not like the others.”
DREAM CITY: Edito

Critics: Many creations were exhibited elsewhere since years ago (ex Tania El Khoury, Thomas Bellinck) and were not unique.

Malek Gnaoui – 0904 – Installation – Imprimerie FINZI
(Author: Chiraz Mosbah)

The curators suggested the space for the artist and he said, during the public discussion, that he accepted it and that is matching with his ideas. He was inspired by the space. The site is similar to a prison (abandoned space in metal and wood that could reflect the ambiance in a prison) and was divided, by the artist, in public and private spaces. The public space is where the prisoners meet their families and where we can read the albums with the souvenirs between them. The private space is considered as a prison cell where the prisoner is talking and writing the letters for his family.

Thomas Bellinck – Work simple as ABC #3 – The Wild Hunt
(Author: Amira Chihaoui)

This audio exhibition was exhibited in the National Museum of Tunis, the location was suggested by the curator and accepted by the artist. The exhibition took place in rehearsal room space on the 1st floor of the theatre, the site was divided in two, a corridor and room (the room looks like an exhibition hall, which was appropriate for the exhibition).

Gardens Speak by Tania El Khoury
(Author: Sana Mahfoudhi)

Across Syria, many gardens conceal the dead bodies of activists and protesters who adorned the streets during the early periods of the uprising. These domestic burials play out a continuing collaboration between the living and the dead. The dead protect the living by not exposing them to further danger at the hands of the regime. The living protects the dead by conserving their identities, telling their stories, and not allowing their deaths to become instruments to the regime.
“Gardens Speak” is an interactive sound installation for 10 participants created by Tania El Khoury. Each participant will be requested to remove their shoes and socks, put on a plastic coat and lie down in the soil to listen to one of ten narratives. A “dribah” is a space to welcome guests in a traditional house. It is a closed and covered space that can be intimate and dark if there is no light open. I think that this space is well adapted for this installation even if the artist did not have the choice. She accepted it and founded that this site is matching with the topic of her installation. The silence, the dark the intimacy …the site was just appropriate for the installation theme.

The Soft Layer by Decoratelier Jozef Wouters & Vladimir Miller(Author: Sana Mahfoudhi)

For Dream City 2017, scenographer Jozef Wouters took residence in the historic building of Dar Bairam Turki. He brings residents of the Medina and experts together, contributing with their ideas to the project, everyone seemed to agree to the same thing that the future of the Medina and of Dar Bairam Turki is a restored version of itself.

For this year’s edition, Jozef Wouters and artistic collaborator Vladimir Miller gather these conflicting ideas around restoration in a process that adds layers to this building instead of peeling them off. The “Day Shift” was a participatory installation, allowing the audience to take part in cleaning a part of the building’s courtyard facade. The “Night Shift” was a performance in the courtyard of the house presenting a sort of poïetic narrative palimpsest. In co-operation with the Tunisian artists Amira Chebli and Hichem Chebli, they keep adding layers, stories, copies, and visions … a watermark of the past and future together. The project is well suited to its place and very inspiring for the artist.

SONIC TOTEM by FLOY KROUCHI
(Author: Sana Mahfoudhi)

Interactive Installation & Performance
Conception, Basse, French text: Floy Krouchi
Scenography & interactive light: Marwen Abouda
Voice: Badiaa Bouhrizi AKA Neysatu
Visual Art: Ursula Scherrer
Saxophone: Devin Brahja Waldman
Comedian: Nejma Zghidi
Text (Derja) et traduction: Selma Zghidi
Location: Presbytère Sainte-Croix, Rue Jemâa Zitouna

The interactive sound sculpture “Sonic Totem” is a sculpture of wood, metal, and horn, which incorporates a series of interactive speakers. The totem is in the middle of a virtual circular space, around which the viewer can turn for 360°. The totem wears a circular ring of ultrasonic distance sensors that analyze motion and trigger and modulate sound sequences according to procedures between necessity and randomness. By interacting with sculpture, audiences and performers generate unique stories and hybrid identities, and spatiotemporal disturbances. The totem is powered by recordings, field recordings, interviews, potentially infinite sound documents, recorded in every place where it is installed. The figure of the traditional totem is invoked, a ritual object serving as an interface with the world of the ancestors and the invisible forces. The sculpture functions as a contemporary “digital totem”. It proposes to reformulate and question the human / non-human / machine ontological distinction, and the function of the art object as a magic object.

Floy Krouchi accepted the place but she also adapted to it, for example, the echo and the accidental during the performance. She added , with her team, sound isolation elements but she also used the echo of the site. she also said that this location in the old medina had this symbolism of time and the link between “past, present and future”, like the “Sonic Totem” concept. During the night performance, it rained. A few drops felled from the roof and produced an “interesting sound”, which was considered a “good coincidence in this context ” as said the artist.

2 _ Diversity of gender and geo-cultural diversity _ about the side-effects of curatorial choices

Young people and adults, women and men, believers and non-believers, people of all sexual orientations: they are there, they are carrying this festival with the artists and with L’Art Rue.
DREAM CITY: Edito

DREAM CITY in numbers
BOARD-Dreamcity gender and geo-culture

3 _ Street art and being local _ about the legacies of art in public space, street art, and artistic urban interventions and how they are present

“DREAM CITY is a project that emanates from the traditional form of a festival. The participating artists arrive without any artistic project and it is the interactions with the city, the street and its inhabitants, which will give rise to a desire to treat through Art a social, economic, political or urban aspect.”
DREAM CITY: A propos

4 _ Democratic culture _ about the way to address the developing, democratic culture and the socio-political impact

“This is what a parliament should be: a public space protected from debate and conflict when necessary. But above all, it is a space for listening, exchanging and building a vision, a city, and a democratic and shared future. Without artists and culture, this true parliament, this true democracy, will not survive.”
DREAM CITY: Edito

Evolution of Dream City 2007-2017 (Author Imen Bahri)
The integration of the public person (the person who live there) is missing crossing all the edition of Dream City. This does not mean that the people of the medina have not been integrated” They were through the workshops during the year.

At the first edition, people enjoy the tours, the alleyway of the medina and also to get lost.

He can let himself go in front of adventure and discovery even if he is on the right path of his circuit or not. Now it’s time everything is well done, well organized. You have to buy your ticket in advance, there is no queue, etc. And then, the effect of the adventure and the discovery are gone.
He became an elitist event or not? Does the “dream city”come true?

5 _ Making off DREAM CITY _ about the influence of budget, production, and human resources

The 7th edition of Dream City, the biennial curated by Jan GOOSSENS, brother and sister Sofiane and Selma OUISSI ,coordinated by the not-for-profit cultural organization L’Art Rue (Street Art), took place in Tunis.

28 sites: 19 in the Medina, 9 in Downtown; 1 in the open, l closed, 1 private, l public
31 artworks: 17 for free, 14 paid

The multidisciplinary festival of contemporary art has been continuously making an impact and getting success with each edition which makes it more and more sustainable as a project thanks to its growing budget.

How is it sustainable?

A project continuing from 2007 is for sure getting huge support by both national and international partners either if it is financial or not.
Partners: Organizers, Institutions, Places, Media, Technical, Co-producers, Sponsors, Civil society and associations, l’Art Rue supporters

What is the focus of the project?
Each project has an allocated budget depending on certain planning.

Budget line items allocation scale (from highest to lowest) :
-Production
-Transport
-Accommodation
-Communication
-Staff
-Art Mediation

In most artworks, visitors could see that the production fees were the highest due to the perfectionism in each site.
Nevertheless, the communication efforts were limited by the allocated budget even if the team made everything in order to face this obstacle.
Concerning art mediation, the lack of trainings and importance accorded to this aspect has been noticed on the different editions.
Thus, this might make it the weakness of Dream City as a festival because the volunteers retention rate is low due to the lack of motivation.

Is the ticketing profitable?

For the first time, DREAM CITY changed its system of ticketing. Previously, the public used to buy a one-day entry for a selected path:
10 dinars, 7 dinars for students, free for the medina’s community.
On the contrary to this edition, each paid artwork has limited tickets.
Artworks: 6 dinars, 4 dinars for students, free for the medina’s community
Films: 3 dinars, 2 dinars for students
Some may think that with this new system, the festival will be more profitable with increasing income.
Yet, numerous expenses become mandatory in order to make it work:
Renting points of sale, paying the staff, buying the needed machines, tables, papers, ink and other equipments.

?How much do they spend for the ticketing – how much do they perceive?

6 _ Eco-Awareness of DREAM CITY _ about the attention that is granted to improve the biocenosis in the Medina, the city and the country

DREAM CITY striking balance
https://mailchi.mp/d05eda7ea88a/bilan-dream-city-2019?e=e40b4ed423