Bongsu Park’s Dream Auction

by Philip Gowman on 30 September, 2018 updated 1 October, 2018

in General arts news

Last year, Bongsu Park’s Internal Library project culminated in a fascinating and thought-provoking sequence of events in which members of the public were invited to share some of their most private thoughts – dreams, memories, secrets – which were then woven into a set of public performance at Notting Hill’s Print Room. Out of that project has grown a further exploration of people’s dreams, seeking to place a value on them: will the Korean custom of selling dreams catch on here? That was a custom I didn’t know about, but commentary can be found on the Korean Culture Blog and Kimchi Mamas website. Find out more on Bongsu’s project site Dream Auction.

Bongsu Park: Dream Auction

Bongsu Park Dream Auction

In Korea there is an interesting culture of dealing with dreams. People who have had good dreams for example, such as one involving a pig which traditionally alludes to the arrival of wealth, can actually sell their dream to someone else. Any dream which has a positive interpretation has a value that makes it a desirable asset for someone else to acquire. Koreans buy and sell dreams for fun. I’m going to make this transaction of an intangible asset more external and organized in the form of a public auction.

I’m interested in how our dreams can be expressed externally and shared through and re-imagined in the transactional arena of an art auction. Art forms are becoming more intangible – from the physical to the fluid and ephemeral. I plan to shift the emphasis towards ideas, dreams and desires that cannot be reduced to three-dimensional physical forms. I am hoping to encourage people to see the value in the transaction of ideas and imagined scenarios rather than a physical manifestation of those thoughts.

For the DREAM AUCTION people can register their dreams as text and submit them to the auction through this website. The dreams submitted will be listed as the text written, printed and framed, ready for purchase. The dream will remain unedited from the time of submission with no alterations or corrections can be made thereafter.

DREAM AUCTION will be hosted by CHRISTIE’S, the Fine Art Auctioneers at their headquarters in London in 2019. Roger McIlroy a professional auctioneer and long-time former executive is acting as consultant and mentor to the process of this unusual project.

Monies raised from the auction will go to creative charities (details to follow). In so doing, I hope the process of sharing dreams can positively affect not just those participating, but also other people’s futures and dreams. A record of monies raised for charity will be published in this website.

In tandem with the DREAM AUCTION I’m going to create extended events such as discussions and performances. The first panel will be held at Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery in London on 11th October 2018. This introductory event is to explain the process and aims of the DREAM AUCTION and to open up the discussion about dream writing processes and dream interpretation. Ian Rosenfeld, the gallery director, will moderate the talk and Melinda Powell, director of DRI(Dream Research Institute) will be on the panel. (Other panelists still tbc – see website for news updates.)

I’m also preparing a number of performances based on the dream texts submitted to the auction. The performance will be function as preview for the Dream Auction also as a ritual in the transfer of dream ownership. The first performance will be held at Access Space in Sheffield on 20th October 2019. An accompanying score will feature musicians Charlie Collins and Ryoko Akama, whilst the participants’ dream texts will be a central component of the sound creation. Further events are being planned.

Bongsu Park



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