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Matthijs de Bruijne
June - September 2010

The work of Matthijs de Bruijne is often a reflection of anthropological research, in which encounters and exchanges based on the principle of reciprocity form the basis. He wants to limit his own role as much as possible and uses sound, oral history and series of images to create non-interpretive factual accounts.


December 2001 and his first working period in Argentina can be seen as a major and radical turning point in his method of working. Matthijs de Bruijne landed in the middle of the social reality of a bankrupt state. He made contact with the 'cartoneros': the poorest group of Buenos Aires that lives from collecting and selling garbage and designed for them a post order website; http://liquidacion.org/, where their objects and dreams are offered for sale.


In 2008 and 2009, during two periods and in different parts of China, Matthijs de Bruijne asked people to tell him their dreams, dreams they have during night time. All though the life in China defiantly improved, in the dreams images of the raw life in China appear. The desired top on the social ladder is only possible for a few and the rest is condemned to survive as good as possible. Because of this is in the stories of the dreams the social economical condition a recurrent aspect. But also more universal dream motifs emerge like flying, going up stairs, mountaineering, the railway station and the family. All the recordings and their translations can be found on the website http://1000dreams.org/.


During his second travel to the Pearl River Delta he recorded dreams of Chinese workers who got into conflict with the authorities and factory owners. For these interviews he worked together with local activists and the independent Labour Organisations who work from Hong Kong. The dreams he recorded create a sharp image of the context where the workers have to live and work. These people come from the countryside, mostly from the provinces like Hunan or Sichuan; they come to work in the textile, toy or electronic industry. These factories cover the whole Pearl River Delta and the percentage of migrants is in some cities even more than 90 percent. The economic conditions; the exploitation of labour and the consequences of it dominate the life of the migrant workers at daytime as well during night time. The conflict with their bosses, the blacklists with names of organised workers, the cadmium poisonings, the black lung diseases and other accident at work appears several times in their dreams.


From June till September 2010 Matthijs de Bruijne will stay in the Residency Botkyrka. During this period he will use the tool of recording dreams another time and will look for dreams of the workers without papers, an invisible part of the Swedish population. The workers without papers are one of the people who move the economy forward everyday but whose crucial position is not reflected in a serious legal and financial condition. In their dreams stories, experiences, fears and fantasies will arise from their invisible existence and create a new and perceptible reality.


The dreams will be shown in September in an installation that will be made for 'Fittja Open', an art event in the public space of Fittja and Alby.


Text from the Multi-Cultural Centre's Facebook page.


Residence Botkyrka is run by Botkyrka konsthall, with support from The Foundation for the Culture of the Future, in collaboration with the City Planning Department in the municipality of Botkyrka, the Multicultural Centre and the housing corporation Botkyrkabyggen.