The artist’s concern with the disappearance of public spaces within which communities have been able to congregate, organize, and advance their agendas plays with the presence of multiple pavilions across the New Sea Waterfront of Thessaloniki. The Sculpture Garden pavilion in the hands of the artist becomes a community statement of what may be possible, raising the expectation that something new may be housed in it in response to the needs of the community.
“It Is Conceivable that She Will Refuse, is a layered artwork that plays in between the public and private spaces — explains the curator Lanfranco Aceti, research affiliate and visiting professor at Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) in the Department of Architecture at MIT. The artist has been able to render visible the role of the ‘public house’ and its relationship to state legislation and its restrictions. It is a piercing of the architectonical space through which it is possible to see the failed negotiations at play—between unimaginable homes and the heteronormative restrictions imposed by a public arena.”
The aims of the artist are oriented towards the nurturing of a future wherein true emancipation and equal rights — regardless of race, sexual preference, or economic status — are conceivable for all beings, particularly those who are currently living under suspended or partial citizenship. Smit, moving from the Dutch experience of lesbian couples wanting to conceive via IVF — a successfully resolved issue in the Netherlands but not in Greece — extrapolated the general notion of conceivable in order to analyze the unthinkable that can be conceived and realized within the public space.
The artwork is constructed as a believable fiction — a conceivable space within which unthinkable possibilities of the public sphere are fertilized for evolution. This process allows the unimaginable and unimagined homes and family lives — gendered, racially, and economically excluded — to be included within the urban texture.
The artist has chosen to insert a questionable scenario, proposed equally in text as in material, about what is conceivable. The text is dubious because the subject is indistinct. What we do know is that the main character identifies as feminine and that it is possible for her to have her own will, but her primary trait is that she has free will, which poses the question, what are the oppressive forces on this feminine subject? The material suggests change, not necessarily progress, through the possibility of economic growth or investment. It also foregrounds typically gendered labour, window washing, erasure, and the ceaseless production of cleanliness. The painted windows function within the realm of scenography and are a common indicator that an interior is being modified, one can expect the establishment to open again soon respawning question of: “What is to come?”
For the Thessaloniki Biennial and their chosen theme, Imagined Homes, a progression of the imaginable spaces sparked imaginable community centres, pubs, clubs, raves, and lesbian, gay, and trans bars. The question of what is to come could be presented as the idea of the inclusion of the excluded collectives. Imagined Homes prompted the thinkable presence of the unheard minorities in the public sphere.
Conceivable is the operative word in this painterly and sculptural installation which, based on Merriam-Webster’s dictionary sample sentence, “It is conceivable that she will refuse to go,” was shortened to imply and implicate innumerable scenographies and scenarios — once unthinkable — to be conceived as possible.
It Is Conceivable that She Will Refuse was realized with the support of The Museum of Contemporary Cuts, Arts Administration at Boston University, and the Friends of Thessaloniki’s New Waterfront Association.