If Your Dreams Are Not Your Own, How Can You Claim to Own Them? A thought on the 21st century’s imagination.
John Isaacs’ sculpture representing a unicorn horn but in fact having been cast from a narwhal tusk has always made me think about imagination and dreams. The title, in true Isaacs style, dragged out a chain of assumptions that made me reach the following conclusion: new media dominates my imagination at the moment. The computer. Let’s put it simply and briefly: our imagination is led by images, and the images we are bombarded with come mostly from television and cinema. Though charmed by today's digital effects in film, I must admit I miss old films whose magic seemed somehow more real, especially because my own imagination has been affected in losing them. Imagining now riding a flying horse, for example, would be completely different from twenty years ago as a child: at that time, the horse and I would have been motionless in front of a moving landscape, or clumsily going from one point of the screen to the other. Now it is a crazy ride, up and down in the clouds with precise, pixelated movements that let the viewer ‘really’ experience it, even though it all seems a little bit crystallized. I have been trying to imagine this simple scene without using my ‘visual experience’, just starting from scratch. Inventing it. But I can’t. My dreams are not my own indeed. They are someone else’s vision, or worse, the vision of a machine, a calculator, and created for us. But, if contemporary art can make you understand that, I am sure creating your very own dreams is just a matter of training.
Susanna Bianchini, Other Criteria
John Isaacs ‘Selected editions’ were on exhibition at Other Criteria London from March 27th until May 5th, 2009.