In addition to the web platform, OtherNetwork aims to facilitate further collaboration offline through the initiation of an exhibition series. Through a travelling relay exhibition, guest projects will be invited to curate an exhibition and public programme in a host space in a different country. After the duration of the exhibition, the guest becomes the host, and invites a new international project to exhibit in their space.

If we’re happy in our dreams, does that count?

From: Foundation for Contemporary Art–Ghana
To: ifa–Galerie Stuttgart

“It was a long journey that she made, from the embrace of the one-armed man to her unidentical two-egg twins.
“You were having an afternoon mare,” her daughter informed her.
“It wasn’t a mare,” Ammu said. “It was a dream.”
“Estha thought you were dying.”
“You looked so sad,” Estha said.
“I was happy,” Ammu said, and realized that she had been.
“If you’re happy in a dream, Ammu, does that count?” Estha asked.
“Does what count?”
“The happiness—does it count?”
– Arundhati Roy “The God of Small Things.” (1997)

In light of the current global crises, making the happiness in our dreams a reality does matter. As we question whether things will return to ‘normal’, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, being happy in our dreams might become our sole source of optimism. We might choose, like Ammu does in Arundhati Roy’s novel, to ignore whatever may appear to be a nightmare to others and create the fantasies we want out of them. Dreams tend—although not always—to be happy or good. But the quest to make the happiness in our dreams count is buttressed by the age-old Akan proverb: The Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have intelligible language and cultural traits. They occupy a wide area in the southern sections of the two countries and use a great deal of proverbs and maxims in their speech.

Woda na woso daeɛ pa a, ka kyerɛ nnipa pa; na woso daeɛ bɔne a, aka wo tirim. Appiah, P., Appiah K.A., Agyeman-Duah I. (2007) Bu Me Bɛ: Proverbs of the Akans (2nd ed.). Ayebia Clarke Publishing Limited.)
“If you sleep and dream a good dream, tell it to good people; but if you dream a bad dream, keep it to yourself.”

This proverb implores us to share only our pleasant dreams with equally pleasant or good people.

The exhibition titled: If we’re happy in our dreams, does that count? is constructed around the spatial realities of the cities of Accra and Stuttgart, through real and fictive engagements, interactions and interventions. What does happiness in dreams have to offer? What new histories can we construct out of this encounter? The exhibition includes the works of six Ghanaian artists who examine the two cities in terms of soundscapes (Steloolive, Nii Noi Nortey and Nyahan Tachie-Menson), ecology (Eric Gyamfi), multiple linguistic inclinations (Billie McTernan) and habitat, fostering and nurturing growth and dreams (Fatric Bewong and Nyahan Tachie-Menson).

The works consider the notion of the city as a dynamic room that has made way for humans and other species to cohabit. Despite becoming an increasingly human-centred jungle of concrete, steel, glass and asphalt, the city, in the propositions of the artists, should still possess the ability to contain a multitude of facets whilst continuing its precarious existence.

Through objects, sound and video installations, performances, texts and an additional programme of talks, workshops and concerts–the exhibition occupies the ifa Gallery space in Stuttgart, its library, kitchen, as well as other spots within the city. If we’re happy in our dreams, does that count? aspires to express dreams, visions, fictions and complex histories that are shared by all of us, proposing ways of engaging with realities that go beyond fixed geographical locations and geopolitical conditions.

If we're happy in our dreams, does that count? is an exhibition guest curated by the Foundation for Contemporary Art - Ghana and hosted by ifa Gallery, Stuttgart as part of the OtherNetwork project.

Artists: Billie McTernan, Eric Gyamfi, Fatric Bewong, Nii Noi Nortey, Nyahan Tachie-Menson, and Steloolive (Evans Mireku Kissi).