Sondra Perry, an American moving-image artist, has been awarded the inaugural Dream Commission.

The biennal Dream Commission is the flagship initiative of Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme. The Dream Commission strives to support a spirit of innovation at a time when it has never been more vital. Recognising the growing importance of new technologies in contemporary art, it provides a platform to emerging and mid-career artists working in the medium of moving image.

As winner of the Dream Commission, Sondra Perry will create a new moving-image artwork which investigates the narrative of ‘dreams’. The Artwork will be presented at the Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland in early 2022 and Serpentine, London in 2022. New Jersey-based interdisciplinary artist Sondra Perry works across the media of artificial intelligence, animation, performance, and video, amongst others, and her work explores themes of race, identity and technology. 

Muse announced the shortlist for The Dream Commission in October 2020 which includes: Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Martine Syms, Sondra Perry and Zhou Tao.

These artists were selected after a meticulous process by an international jury of the art world’s leading figures: artistic director of Serpentine Galleries Hans Ulrich Obrist; chief curator at Fondation Beyeler Theodora Vischer; former director of the Parrish Art Museum Terrie Sultan; director of the Australian Centre for the Moving Images Katrina Sedgwick and artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien.

Each of the shortlisted artists submitted a moving-image concept artwork, investigating the narrative of ‘Dreams’, which are being presented below.

For more information about the Dream Commission and the artists

Please be aware that some of the content includes strong language.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: The Source

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is an artist whose expanded moving image work is entangled with Boalian theater, experimental ethnography and expanded cinema. She tends to work with non-actors, and incorporate improvisation into her process. Her recent work is on the sensorial unconscious of anti-colonial movements, on hurricanes, dreamwork and irrational projection lenses.

Martine Syms: SLIP

Martine Syms obtained a MFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (NY) (2017) and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (IL) (2007). Syms has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humour and social commentary. Using a combination of video, installation and performance, often interwoven with explorations into technique and narrative, Syms examines representations of blackness and its relationship to vernacular, feminist thought, and radical traditions. Syms’s research-based practice frequently references and incorporates theoretical models concerning performed or imposed identities, the power of the gesture, and embedded assumptions concerning gender and racial inequalities.

Sondra Perry: Lineage for a Phantom Zone

Sondra Perry makes videos, performances, and installations that foreground digital tools as a way to critically reflect on new technologies of representation and remobilize their potential.  Her works examine how images are produced in order to reveal the way photographic representations are captured and re-circulated. Sondra Perry was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, raised in New Jersey and North Texas, and has lived and worked in Newark, New Jersey since 2019. She received her MFA from Columbia University, New York, and her BFA from Alfred University, Alfred, New York, in 2015 and 2012, respectively.

Zhou Tao: Three Hundred Miles Southwest

Zhou Tao studied at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in oil painting in 2001 and a Master of Fine Arts in mixed-media studies in 2006. Zhou Tao finds visual and narrative materials for his arresting film works in the places and communities he encounters, and the narration of the film is often developed from the accumulation of the encountered moments.

Copyright: Courtesy the artists and Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme