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MIMA opens an immersive and playful exhibition called "DREAM BOX"
Optical illusion, special effects, and visual and musical incantation will guide your senses and make room for your imagination.

BRUSSELS.- Enter the magical world of DREAM BOX. Test the limits of your senses and the power of your imagination. In order of appearance, the illusions are: The psychedelic box of Elzo Durt, the phantasmagorical world of Hell’O, the musical incantation of Escif, the trompe-l’oeil of Felipe Pantone and the survey of Imabelpro Eurostom, conceived by the Gogolplex Collective.

Over to you!
The spirit of the 6th MIMA exhibition can be encapsulated in two words: immersive and playful. Called “DREAM BOX,” this chapter borrows its vocabulary from the language of magic: Optical illusion, special effects, and visual and musical incantation will guide your senses and make room for your imagination.

This simultaneous experience of what is known as your “intuitive” and “reflective” thought is what makes the visit enjoyable. The illusions trick your senses and beef up your imagination. Reality no longer seems merely objective and rational.

Enter into the mouth of Elzo Durt*, the top dog of electropunk posters, for a psychedelic shock of lights and patterns. Continue with an immersion in the centre of the colourful and phantasmagorical universe of the Hell’O Collective, known for their large outdoor murals. Then, thanks to the Spanish activist Escif, you can make paintings dance on the walls to the music of the Belgian composer Manu Louis using a tablet.

On the upper level, called the “chapel,” go through a cloud of CD-ROMs in trompe-l’oeil by the young kinetic artist Felipe Pantone. Lastly, answer the questions of Imabelpro Eurostrom, a very serious company conceived by Gogolpex, a collective of audio and video installations. You will be rewarded with your psychological portrait in augmented reality. **

Chapter VI: Dream Box
Contrary to popular belief, what is known as “intuitive” thought is purportedly responsible for 90% of conscious or unconscious actions. Man is therefore far less in “control” than would appear. At the heart of his system, there is the associative memory which is constantly building a coherent interpretation of what is going on in the world, because we need to reduce its complexity to make it comprehensible. This creative synthesis is the source of many illusions of coherence and meaning. Furthermore, intuition is a filter for reality that guides reflection.

The “DREAM BOX” exhibition is geared to this form of automatic thought. The purpose of the visit is to feel, through illusions, the limits of our senses and the power of our imagination. An inquiry into the nature of our reason lies more in experience than in reflection. No theoretical arguments have been developed on the subject in the exhibition. Simply, just as the social media and advertising, which carry out an insidious hacking process on your brain with your unconscious consent, “DREAM BOX” sows the seeds of a remembrance which will, one day perhaps, provide material for your opinion on the essence of what is real.

Since its opening, the political vision of MIMA has been written exhibition after exhibition like chapters of a novel. “DREAM BOX” is the sixth such chapter.

In 2018, “Wonderland,” an exhibition of the artists Akay and Olabo, and then the protest poster exhibition, “Get Up, Stand Up !,” presented a portrait of society to call for civil disobedience. In other words, chapters 4 and 5 of the MIMA proposed a humanistic morality as the path to our salvation.

In 2019, the museum questions our faith in humanism. “I think, therefore I am,” and “all men are born free and equal in rights” are ideas which underlie our institutions and our ethics, and place man at the centre of the universe dominating living species by the magnitude of reason.

This ideal, already shaken by the two world wars, is being redefined by the humanities and social sciences today. In the light of the ecological and social disasters, it is legitimate to ask whether man is as rational as he thinks. That is the underlying question that “DREAM BOX” raises.

The method
Alice van den Abeele and Raphaël Cruyt drew inspiration for the concept of “DREAM BOX” from their children. Like many parents, they were wondering about the nature and quality of education their children (aged 8 and 10) were getting. In addition to a deplorable lack of means and resources in schools, they also discovered ageing governing tenets of education. Over and above the exemplary determination of teachers to carry out their task, a political power not very much in tune with the present century, adheres to the status quo. Trying to understand how your child is measured leads straight to existentialist questions and the meaning of life. This path led these two curators to “DREAM BOX.” Whereas learning may at times loom as a Herculean task to try and get the brain to fit in a small box, the exhibition is conversely intended as a means to loosen it up.

The best tools to counter the omnipotence of reason are hazard and uncertainty. The curators consequently opted for an empirical method to move forward with the artists. In other words, they proceeded to create by taking account of such circumstances and opportunities as presented themselves to them. As advocated by Ursula Le Guin, who inspired the film Avatar, “In order to reach others, the artist goes into himself. Using reason, he deliberately enters the irrational. The farther he goes into himself, the closer he comes to the other.”

* The mural is by the artist Marc De Meyer. The light of the corridor of mirrors was created in cooperation with the light designers of ACTLD.

** 3D creation by Hugo Dinër.

*U. Le Guin, Le langage de la nuit [The Language of the Night], op.cit., p.82

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