The Reverie Project

Martina Bacigalupo + Sharon Sliwinski, 2018

Working against the politics of spectacle, The Reverie Project explores ideas of refuge, reverie, and the right to an image. The project includes 20 video portraits which offer an intimate encounter with a migrant community in Geneva, Switzerland, seat of international law relating to the status refugees. Inspired by Édourd Glissant’s notion of the “right to opacity,” the project privileges the life of the mind, and the imagination in particular, as a crucial source of resilience. The video portraits, which range from 15 seconds to two minutes in length, are projected in a larger-than-life four-channel installation. The project also includes a 10’ x 10’ Reverie Booth, in which visitors can take part in the experience, giving themselves over to the current of their thoughts for a brief time.

The Reverie Project was created in collaboration with the members of La Roseraie, a migrant community center located in the heart of Geneva. In 2018, Bacigalupo and Sliwinski built a temporary space of refuge inside the center—a kind of reverie room—and everyone in the community was invited to spend five minutes alone inside with a static camera. Afterwards, participants spoke about what came to mind during the experience. The project challenged the usual distinctions between subjects by inviting everyone involved in the community to enter the reverie space, including the staff, volunteers, and even the project creators themselves.