Sheila Goloborotko

“Community” isn’t just a group of people inhabiting a particular place; in artistic terms it means so much more: Sharing, Cooperation, Creative Osmosis. As a master printmaker and educator for 20 years, I can say that only in sharing my knowledge with others do I truly gain knowledge. I must gather a true, diverse Community of learning and mentoring around my press if I want my own artistic legacy to endure.

Community is also a kind of ‘formal’ element in my own work. Take, for instance, an interactive public-art project I initiated in 2011 called “1001 Dreams.”  With ‘Dreams’, over the course of the last two years, I literally take people’s dreams out of their heads and out of their beds. First I solicit random readers’ dream narratives via a website. Once people write to me, I convert their dreams into images, printing them on pillowcases; I then seed these pillows into unexpected, far-flung corners of a host City. (To date, I’ve completed this action in São Paolo, London, and New York.) My idea was that passersby would discover the dream-covered pillows as soft found objects, read them, and maybe even take them home. Now ‘dreams’ are everywhere, the unconscious mind has entered the realm of the tangible. I won’t stop until I have given away 1001 dreams.

Other elements of my practice are highly tactile and range in size from something you can hang from the ceiling to hold in your hand. For example, I retain the cut copper plates from which I print and exhibit them as sculpture; I use steel wool as a printing material (and hang it alongside the prints); I cut large, elaborate, delicate sculptures out of tin. And of course, there are photogravures, etchings, engravings…some of my series deal with nothing less hopeful and grand than the Creation of the World; in other series I take a frank look at my late brother’s untimely death, incorporating all sorts of biological imagery. Printmaking has taught me how transformative the act of making art can be — a Process in which beginnings and ends come together — a Place of Ideas where people from all corners of the globe can gather around the press.

I’m currently a visiting professor at Pratt Institute and the artistic director of the New Jersey Printmaking Center. I am a faculty member at the Lower East Side Printshop and In Brazil I teach workshops at the Museu Lasar Segal in São Paulo, and Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Laje in Rio de Janeiro.

Elizabeth Bortolaia Silva
Early on the engagement with the ‘Dreams Project’ was shared with Elizabeth Bortolaia Silva, Professor of Sociology at the Open University, UK. The project has become a socio-cultural-artistic engagement with culture, an experiment with dream and art in cosmopolitan space, jointly carried out between Silva and Goloborotko.

Professor Silva’s current research focuses on two complementary investigations about contemporary culture: (1) The Infrastructures of Digital Culture – arising from an European Research Council award for the ‘Sociological identification of the actors, practices, discourses and technologies involved in the conservation of media-art works’ (jointly developed with Fernando Dominguez), and (2) Cultural Haunting and Shared Living – deriving from engagements with the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Silva’s exploration of ‘Psyche in the Habitus’. One aspect of this is to seek ways of making the hidden world of dreams visible as social data, to indicate patterns of social living where fears and desires are accounted for.


Silva studied for her undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Sao Paulo and obtained her PhD from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. She works in the fields of sociology of culture, technology and everyday life. Social divisions, in particular those concerning gender, and cross national comparisons have been central to her work in these fields. She has taught and researched in Brazil (University of Sao Paulo and University of Campinas), the United States (Harvard University and Brown University) and in the UK (University of Leeds) and has also been a visiting scholar in France (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique).

Recent publications include Special Issue of Cultural Sociology on ‘Fields, boundaries and social inequalities’ (co-edited, June 2013), Poetics on Cultural Capital: Histories, Limits and Prospects (co-edited, Dec 2011), Technology, Family, Culture: influences on home life (sole authored, Palgrave 2010), Cultural Analysis and Bourdieu’s Legacy (co-edited, Routledge 2010) and Culture, Class, Distinction (co-authored, Routledge 2009).