United We: Potential Estate

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Potential Estate is a temporary alliance that designs residential spaces and narratives. It operates along models of self-organization and mutual inclusion. This practice is highlighted in a number of Potential Estate activities: cabinets, public events and their present website. Potential Estate is developed by participating artists who are building through this research an open and temporary collective housing scheme beyond the frame of exhibition.

Participants are:
Vincent Meessen (US/BE), Ronny Heiremans (BE), Pierre Huyghebaert (BE), Katleen Vermeir (BE) en David Evrard (BE).

In the United We exhibition we show their videowork The Crying of Potential Estate (2008). This video is the result of an auction that took place on Thursday January 24th 2008 between 7 and 9 p.m. in a commercial gallery in Antwerp, Belgium. 

A story written by Potential Estate was put up for sale. The story was cut up into 45 lots that were read from an audio-booth. After a lot was read, the bidding started. A professional auctioneer performed the auction in 4 languages. It generated a competitive environment and intense bidding. All lots were sold.

As the lots were sold the story gradually unfolded. The story featured The Indian, the tiny economist and Wally Hope. Wally Hope refers to a man who became an icon of freedom in the mid-70ties. His multiple uses of the name Wally was a playful and idealistic attempt to create havoc with officialdom. Potential Estate conflates the Wally Hope character with multiplicity and hyper-mediatization.

The village of Belgium, Wisconsin presents itself as the utopian location where part of the story is set.

The Crying of Potential Estate is also the mediated version of the above auction. It was screened live from a mini TV-studio Potential Estate had set up in the basement gallery, next to the audio-booth. In fact all visitors present on the evening of the auction performed as extras in the film. Although cameras and screen were very present in the setup of the space, the notion of being an extra only began to seep through after the auction.


In the United We exhibition guide, we reproduce part of an article written by Katerina Gregos on this video work and its many layers and meanings.