The ICI is pleased to announce the launch of Phantom Worlds a long-term research theme prompted by a growing cultural interest in worlds that double, mirror and reflect our own. We anticipate a number of significant exhibitions or performances built around this theme, some of which will develop through curatorial projects and at least one that will culminate in our fourth book through ICI press, Barthes’ Myopia.
Phantom worlds can be duplicate worlds but not necessarily alternate universes; they are ones that exist beside our own. We seek out places where these phantom worlds leak and bleed through, where they can be seen or can’t be seen but can be sensed. Our theme grows from our fascination with reflections – with twins, with Dopplegangers, with invisible friends. Is it the phantom one talks to when talking to oneself? And what about worlds written by other beings, by animals, by objects. Sometimes these worlds can only be sensed through a shiver down our spine or a row of goosebumps on our thigh. Phantom Worlds play with our attraction to mirrors, our fascination with reflections, with our feelings of déjà vu, deja connu, deja trouve, something that has already happened, was already known, someone you feel you’ve already met. Phantoms are located where the familiar becomes strange, jamais vu, or within a world of slips – presque vu. We are intrigued by photography’s ability to ‘notice’ these phantom worlds and we wonder if our world is photography’s phantom, not the other way around. We think these phantom worlds might be the places of dreams. We hope to find pathways to their playgrounds, to visit them often, to share their wisdom while keeping the secrets of their most cherished tomes—The Unsayable and The Unsaid. It is said that phantoms follow us, here at the ICI, for a while yet undesignated, we will follow them.
Projects that have emerged within the Phantom Worlds theme include the 100/10 (100 days/10 visions) research-based exhibitions and Speculative Pentimenti: Painting in an Age of Endarkenment.