In approaching post-pandemic realities, artist Isabel Okoro asks what ‘normal’ means to us in a present day that has been commonly referred to as the ‘New Normal’.
This is the focus of Okoro’s artwork ‘Magic Dreams’, which asks what our ideas, hopes, and designs were for the future we currently occupy back when we had time to reimagine them. Meditating on what the artist calls ‘Normatopia’, or the space between a harsh reality and a utopia, the project asks us to open ourselves to experiences both familiar and foreign.
Part of our 6ft (a) part Residency, Magic Dreams uses our built environment to ideate and speculate with these questions and beyond.
“As a self-proclaimed dreamer, I have always been interested in the idea of journeys and transportation. Moving from one place to another, existing through each other, and finding harmony within the difference of space.
I coined the term “Normatopia” to encapsulate visions of the world I dream of. A Normatopia is normal, not perfect—and so the question becomes, what is normal to me? I believe that normal is simply the right to be. It is where we land when we think beyond the binaries of a harsh reality and a utopia. Reality can be hard and painful, and a utopia is expected to be easy and perfect, but a Normatopia is simply normal.
With magic dreams, I ask myself and my audience three questions:
Who stays when the fear hugs you?
Who said that all that is, is what is true?
What do you dream that is true to you?
These questions serve as an invitation to join me in thinking about what is normal—to you, and then dreaming within and beyond that normalness. I begin by investigating fear as a mother-daughter journey, as I believe my mother is the core essence of who I am and why I am, and fear is something that sits within me frequently.
I’m interested in using this installation as a space where individual mental energies are stimulated to think within a proposed futuristic communal context; where there is space to put forward personal ideas of a dream world that acknowledges our current realities but encourages utopic modification.
These questions are all related in some way, but through their presentation in distinct, enclosed spaces, they require a nuanced approach each time. The key is to be open. To be open to moving between the spaces, to be open to answering the questions honestly, to be open to confronting your dreams and your realities, to be open to the journey, to be open to what is normal, to be open to feeling, to be open to dreaming!”
– Isabel Okoro
Engage with Okoro and Magic Dreams with an artist’s interview found here.