Letters in movement – Alain Arias-Misson, Public Dream Poem

Alain Arias-Misson, “Dada”, 1970, stampa fotografica, Mart, Archivio Tullia Denza Ph. Mart, Archivio fotografico e Mediateca

Friday 23rd July 2021, 10.30 am – 2.30 pm


A “public poem” on public transport. On July 23rd, Museion and MART in Rovereto will present a new Public Poem by the Belgian artist and poet Alain Arias-Misson, entitled the “Public Dream Poem”. “Public Poems” are poetic actions that are performed in public, starting from a single word, in the spirit of Concrete Poetry. They are aimed at an everyday public who are surprised by the event, rather than at the kind of audience that normally frequents museums and art venues.

The first part of the Public Poem will take place in the morning at Rovereto on the road that leads to MART outside the railway station.  Seven representatives from the two museums will carry 180-centimetre-high letters that form the word SOGNARE (TO DREAM). The train will stop at three selected locations. Then, using a megaphone, Alain Arias-Misson will order the participants to change position and form other words with the same letters. Wherever possible, the words will refer to the surrounding environment. At the station in Rovereto, the group led by the poet will then get on the train for Bolzano, where they will repeat the same actions they performed in Rovereto. At the poet’s command, the letters carried by the group will change position and form other words. Similar Public Poems by the artist have been performed in recent years, for example, at Yale University in the USA, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and at the Venice Biennale.


Alain Arias-Misson was born in Brussels in 1936. He grew up in New York and has worked in Spain, Belgium, the United States, Italy and France. In the early 1960s he was one of the influential innovators in the field of Visual Poetry in Europe. In 1967 he developed the “Public Poem” concept. He normally presents these “public poems” in crowded urban spaces, like The Public Proust Poem in Place Saint-Germain in Paris (1988), The Hollywood Monsters Public Poem on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles (1991), Il Poema Pubblico della Capella Sciamanica (The Shamanic Chapel Public Poem) in the Sistine Chapel in Rome (1998), and The Public Surveillance Poem in the Paris Métro (2003). There are works by Alain Arias-Misson in both the MART collection in Rovereto and the Museion collection.


MART Rovereto MUSEION Bolzano