DE LICEIRAS 18 / Porto, Portugal

DE LICEIRAS 18 / Porto, Portugal

for visual artists, designers, conceptual gardeners, experimental writers, sound hunters, performers, philosophers…

An all young, experimental, independent project –
recently transformed into an art space and residency

DE LICEIRAS 18 – temporary art community – considers itself as an experimental, independent, artist-run space, existing as artist residency only since summer 2014. It is located in an old, unrestored residential house in the historical center of Porto, Portugal.
Monthly altering, it hosts international artists forming an ever-changing, dynamic temporary art community. Periods of the stay can be arranged individually on a flexible manner regarding personal needs and creative projects.

It is established and run by one visual and one sound artist.
The aim is that it basically runs by itself with some small supervision and assistance of the two artists.

On regular basis, artistic events take place – like exhibitions, performances or film screenings – as there has been one on this rainy Thursday evening of 16th April, when Bruce Allan was showing and explaining the evolving video project ‘Difference Screen’.
The artist, curator and researcher Bruce Allan grew up in Assam, NE India, and now lives in the Forest of Dean, UK. He met Maja Renn, supervising visual artist, at the first Tbilisi Triennial in 2013.

So came the invitation to Porto for a very short visit, introducing his investigations on the appearance and impact of human ideas, relationships and practices on each-other and on natural and man-made landscapes and environments.

Austrian artist Bianca Tschaikner currently works on a creative project regarding the Azulejos in Porto – as to find manifoldly in this beautiful traditional city in Northern Portugal.
Bianca has been traveling the world and was living in India before. Now, she stays for two months at DE LICEIRAS to realize her art project, also utilizing maps and stickers.

Other residential mates are fine artist Nozomi Arisawa and, as this is to be considered by those who are allergic to cats, 7 months old tomcat Lato.

Well, what is to expect?
Quite basic conditions in terms of accommodation and equipment, but creative spirit and independent mind.
And… the beauty and teasing atmosphere of Porto – blowing off all sad thoughts instantly with a strong breeze of the Atlantic winds.

More info on current residents, projects, costs and application guideline can be found on DE LICEIRAS homepage and on Facebook.

Photos: A.M.

Interview with:
Maja Renn,
Bruce Allan,
Bianca Tschaikner

Porto, 16th April 2015.


I: project space / Beijing, China

I: project space / Beijing, China

for professionals within the fields of
Visual Art, Performing Arts, New Media, Curatorial, and Architecture

New Art coming back to town… to find an independent art space at a Hutong in Beijing

About the admirable endeavour of
2 young German ladies within the art scene in China

I: project space is a Beijing-based platform for non-commercial art projects.
It offers project-oriented exhibitions of independent art, but also functions as an artist residency to provide living and working space for artists apart from pressures of the art market.
The name I: project space (pronounced Yi) already tells: I: followed by a colon signifies an international as well as independent project space. Furthermore, the shorthand symbol ‘I’ for yìshù means art in Chinese language.

Pretty young – operating only since August 2014 – the art space already established well within the art world of local and foreign artists and galleries within Beijing, nationally and internationally.
It is located in the midst of the small lanes and narrow alleys of a typical residential quarter of China’s capitol – luring creatives and art professionals from suburban areas back to the traditional centre.
The platform provides the opportunity to research and experience the vast growing Chinese art scene for one guest artist at once to stay for 2 to 3 months, ending the term with a presentation of the created project or art works.
A special focus is on video art and performance, those new disciplines which are widely spread in other parts of the world, but still need some support and notably space for development in China.
This is of course the merit of the two founders of the organisation: Anna Eschbach and Antonie Angerer, who also set up cooperations with cultural institutions like the Swiss Ambassy, the Academy of Art, and the Goethe Institute Beijing.
The art historians moved to Beijing in summer 2014. Antonie Angerer, born in 1986 and originally from Regensburg, also studied Sinology and knew the city well from several study exchanges previously. Now, she also is assisting guest artists and visitors of the project space with local advice and translations. Anna-Viktoria Eschbach, born in Bochum in 1987, graduated from the Städel Art School, Frankfurt in curating, and the university in Tübingen. She had the expertise for starting out with I: project space from developing comparable projects with other organisations before.

Here, Anna Eschbach and Antonie Angerer rented a Siheyuan. This is a characteristic vicinity courtyard, surrounded by the 34 sqm large studio for the guest artist, general exposition space and the living area of the neighbours.
With a diverse programme it aims to foster the international exchange about art and its value to society.

The small kitchen with the lofty glass facade is the heart and centre point of life and work. This is where all preparations take place. Sometimes it is also turned into a place for a screening – like for current resident artist Daniel Stubenvoll’s first presentation of his video produced at I: project space.
A blog entry on Stubenvoll’s artistic work i:Cowboy can be found here.

Regarding governmental restraints or limitations on the freedom of artistic work, both of the directors deny any restrictive interventions. Till present, they perfectly could find their innovative way through bureaucracy and officialdom of the People’s Republic, even with founding a company as aliens in China.

Congrats for the courage and determination of these 2 young ladies, realising their dream and making it a success story. Best wishes for the future!
More info on the homepage or on Facebook.

Jana Wolf, Michael Bodenmann and Daniel Stubenvoll;

Interview with:
Antonie Angerer and Anna Eschbach, Founding and Artistic Directors of I: project space;
Beijing/Berlin, 21st January & 27th April 2015.


Бükü – Bureau for Cultural Translations / Leipzig, Germany

Бükü – Bureau for Cultural Translations / Leipzig, Germany

for curators (from 2015 onwards)

Contemporary artists’ positions
from the post-Soviet area – a focus on curating

Бükü is the short form of Bureau for Cultural Translations, which is an interdisciplinary platform focusing on the contemporary artists’ positions and debate from post-Soviet area with all its influences, differences, mutuality and interdependency. It is a place for production and presentation of contemporary art, as well as contemporary theory and polemics, which are implemented by discursive events, curated exhibitions, artist talks and soon also by a curatorial & artist residency programme.

In early 2015 Bükü will launch an Open Call for international curators to participate in the residency. Bükü offers a place to live and work, as well as a public art space to present the curatorial research in different formats: there could be curator talks, discussions, presentations or an exhibition. The main aim of the residency is to introduce guest curators to the vivid art scene of Leipzig as well as to encourage a talk about the curatorial in its broader definition as a transdisciplinary and transcultural field of constellations. Bükü’s curator-in-residency programme offers an insight in the theoretical discussions around curating and wants to speak publicly with the guest curators about their own curatorial practice.

The photo shows the installation/exhibition ‘Azoikum’ by Ilya Dolgov in September 2014.

Kristina Semenova and Olga Vostretsova are two admirably visionary ladies and smart young curators, Russian origin and based in Leipzig, Germany. Together they founded Bükü as association (eingetragener Verein e.V.) in April 2014. They run a this project space in the district of Lindenau – which is not functioning as a gallery as they stress – with a divers and substantial programme.
Every week they bring new artists, curators and events on the cultural agenda, often in cooperation with the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig (HGB) or LIA artists residency at Baumwollspinnerei, located pretty close.
With their schedule they outline social and participatory aspects of art and cultural practice, and spotlight the changing role of curators that work in the public domain.

So did the curator talk #2 with Anna Bitkina from St. Petersburg on 18th September, titled ‘Social Practices In the Russian Art Context’. Anna Bitkina is an independent curator and a founder of the art organisation Creative Association of Curators TOK in Russia.
Another featured project was ‘Curate your Mother!’ in October this year.
With a workshop, performance and live sewing, there was the approach to
‘The art of survival or strategies of resistance against neoliberal logics of markets, globalization and H&M demonstrated through the seamstress Natalia S. from Woronesch (RU)’.
Oleg Kulik, representative of radical performative arts in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia and known as the ‘dog-man’, was invited for a discussion. They hosted the evening ‘Paradox of Equilibrium’ in November.

Currently, the interdisciplinary project series called ‘Backstage Painting’ with Meisterschüler of class Ottersbach from the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig is happening. For one week, the art space Бükü hosts the six master class artists as they make their creative process visible. The exhibition space is transforming itself daily, translating themes and aspects of the works of the respective artists in diverse forms and formats that presuppose a dedicated audience. Simultaneously the artists will take on the role of mediators and invite visitors to participate in a discursive programme, conceived with various perceptual situations to participate in and discuss.

With these contents Kristina Semenova and Olga Vostretsova alert various frames of reference and the aesthetic, cultural, social, political and economic conditions of display. It is about the history and development of forms of public presentation of art and culture and also about various approaches to research on contemporary topics.
Particular importance is placed on the relationship of the curatorial to both, artistic practice and theory. As nothing shapes, represents or reflects better the imaginary constructions of particular societies than arts.
Both are about to complete the postgraduate studies ‘Cultures of the Curatorial’ at HGB Leipzig. This is a master’s degree, which can be pursued while working.
It is combining application-oriented research practice with academic reflection shaped by professors and lecturers at the Academy of Visual Arts, including Thomas Weski, Beatrice von Bismarck and Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer.
Kristina and Olga first collaborated with the project Space LAB within the context of the MitOst Festival 2013 in Leipzig, hosted at the Spinnerei.

Maybe also in preparation to launch their own residency programme for curators, they participated as a resident at GeoAIR and did a research trip to Tbilisi this summer. With the beginning of 2015, Kristina and Olga will welcome their first resident, Nikolay Alekseev from Russia, who was lately awarded fellow of the Russian Museum for Contemporary Art Garage.

Since its operating kick-off in May 2014, Bükü is vividly present at the regional art scene. It exhibited such artists as Alexander Povzner, Julia Smirnova, Ilya Dolgov, Orsi Horváth, Oliver Kossack a.o. Artists talks were held with well-known artists from Moscow and Sankt-Petersburg, like Oleg Kulik and Gluklya retrospectively – all this in only seven months of its existence.
Congrats for this successful start of this open space for potential negotiations, mutual approaches, emancipated statements and exchange. It is an enriching format – to live and express the hybridity of culture along with the audience.
All the very best for the future!

More info on the Bükü homepage and on Facebook.

Photos: Bükü, A.M.;
Interview with: Olga Vostretsova and Kristina Semenova,
Managing Directors and Programme Curators, Bükü – Office for Cultural Translations e.V.
Leipzig, 13th & 14th September 2014.


HALLE 14 / Spinnerei Leipzig, Germany

HALLE 14 / Spinnerei Leipzig, Germany

for national and international contemporary artists

The effects of large studios and new
surroundings on the process of creation

The Place
HALLE 14, Centre for Contemporary Art at Baumwollspinnerei Leipzig, is an independent non-profit organisation, existing since 2002. The hangar number 14 of the old cotton mill got its second chance with participating in a EU programme and putting together ten partners to realise this entrepreneurial transformation: a cultural conversion of an industrial site.

Bit by bit the five-storey hall with a total surface of 20.000 sqm was reconstructed. It now unifies exhibition, education, event and residency. Central aspect is being a place for presenting contemporary arts, but also strongly featuring pedagogic programmes like ‘Kreative Spinner’, maintaining an art library, publishing their newspaper ‘vierzehn’, and running events and panels like ‘Lounge14′ or the ‘must have’ talk and discussion series.
Since the beginning of 2012 their scholarship and residency programme is running, called ‘Studio14′.
But also previously there have been AIR programmes like in 2005/2006.
It provides studios as working space for artists sent by a foundation or institution granting them.
Accommodation is not integrated at the spot and needs to be at another location.

The grant holders surely will find artistic and intellectual stimulation. As they can profit from the infrastructure of the art centre, like using the library collection based on private donation, including rarities and scarce catalogues, the substantial help from the HALLE 14 team.
In addition, ten other galleries, numerous studios, further creative centers, an art supply store and other residencies schemes beleaguer them only on the Spinnerei areal.
Within the neighbourhood of the district Plagwitz, there is the performance space & theatre Schaubühne Lindenfels or interesting initiatives in terms of urban impact like project Wagenburg and Gieszer 16.

Hangar no. 14 is also hosting other artists, either renting a studio themselves or being a fellow with the AIR space ‘Pilotenküche’ or the artists’ run ‘a room that…’ who have shifting guest artists every three months.
Overall, at the same floor there are 10 other studios, making lively contacts and interchange vivid practice.

By Sunday noon of 14th September 2014, still artefacts of the performance last evening of the Ortonandons, three sisters from Dundee, Ireland, and former resident artists of HALLE 14, can be found on the library floor.
Also other artworks from Anna Orton, stipend of Hospitalfield Arts, are shown at the exhibition next door.

Undeniably, innovation and creativity are promoted by modified situations and surroundings.
Some artists, who have agreed on this displacement, spontaneously adapt to the local conditions different from their home base. Others actively utilise the influences in transforming their working methods and find new forms of expression.
So did the current stipend of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at HALLE 14, Isabel Cordeiro, Portuguese, but living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
As generally known, space is confined and precious there.
Informed about having single use of a 144 sqm atelier in advance, plus that there will be an Open Studio/ the Spinnerei-Rundgang shortly after her arrival, Isabel prepared on how to proceed from painting to the three-dimensional reminiscent of the architectonic. She erected a series of structures, using aluminum and wood, and investigated on the impressions of volume.
To her it seems so privileged to hold an atelier of a size where in Amsterdam three apartments would be built.

The foreign context becomes the reference point and to some extent to the object of research of the own work. Claudia Kleiner, German painter and the so-called ‘Heimspiel-fellow’ of the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony for two months at ‘Studio14′, explains the following on her approach:
“I deal with the different ways of depiction a picture-idea. It moved me a romantic idea, the idea of simultaneity between the familiar and the strange,” as stated in her booklet.

Claudia Kleiner next to her oil on canvas painting ‘Schwebungen’, 140 x 150 cm, 2014.

Fortunately, the Artistic Director Michael Arzt is rather familiar than strange, firm in the processes and contexts of cultural policy, and yet so human.

More info on the HALLE 14 website and on Facebook.

Photos: A.M.; Interview with:
Michael Arzt, Artistic Director and Programme Curator of HALLE 14,
Leipzig, 14th September 2014.


c.r.e.t.a. rome / Rome, Italy

c.r.e.t.a. rome / Rome, Italy

for sculptors, ceramists and potters,
as well as for visual artists and writers

A material expressing the timelessness of art

c.r.e.t.a. rome is a creative centre for ceramics and the visual arts, founded in 2012 and is held privately. It ‘serves as a point of encounter for international exchange between artists, collectors, donors and the public’. Named according to the Italian word for clay ‘creta’, it is a space for ceramics, residencies, exhibitions, teaching and the arts, located in the middle of Rome’s old town.
Here, between Capitoline Hill and Jewish quarter, ceramists, sculptors, visual artists and writers will find two warm hearts, anything but stone.

The co-founders Lori-Ann Touchette and her partner Paolo Porelli are giving this place its expertise and soul.
Lori-Ann is classical archaeologist and art historian, graduated from Princeton and Brown University and holding a PhD from Oxford. She originally is from the US, but living and teaching in Rome since 1997.
Paolo is an artist, sculptor and functional potter, born and grown up in Rome. He was a fellow with different international residency programmes himself before.
The title photo shows lustre work: vases, bowls and cups by Paolo Porelli.
For Lori-Ann and Paolo, no other material better could express the timelessness of art.
Their holistic approach to the arts, as well as to life, conveys instantly when entering the space: Agreeing with the words of St. Francis of Assisi: ‘…He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artists’, and sharing this definition with their community via social media.
They chose the broadest designation possible in order to include everything, from the more traditional visual arts to the culinary arts, music, art history and cultural studies.
‘Via dei Delfini, nel Palazzo dei Delfini’ is the address of c.r.e.t.a. – at the ground level of a palace from the mid-16th century, which is the property of the Polish Catholic Church. Behind the entrance of a seemingly posh shop, the all in one, exhibition space/ atelier/ office and studio, found its attractive home on ground level.

The tiny, shady street hosts several galleries and an adorably outmoded grocery store. Typical cafés, restaurants and fantastic ‘gelaterias’ are around the corner, e.g. at Piazza Venezia.
As if by snapping your fingers the thousands of tourists disappear – the never ending stream of people coming to see the Colosseo, that flows with the masses to Foro Romano, and then steps on to the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II.
Just a block of houses aside, the hustle is gone; Suddenly only real citizens to see – in medieval scenery.
Arriving exactly to the minute, the German punctuality revealed – honestly, I felt a bit embarrassed, also because a freshly made lunch sandwich had to remain uneaten.

Truly, they must have become used to delays – visitors from abroad, who get lost in the winding alleys and, let’s say, Italian timing.
First, their cute dog Ciuffo welcomed me, already spotting me from behind the windowpane, and then Lori-Ann herself. With sincere cordiality and embracing hospitality she asks if I had any trouble to find it.
Of course, I don’t tell about the rush beforehand – walking up cobble stone serpentines and down curvy worn stairs, passing by delicious cappuccino- and homemade pizza scent.
Lori-Ann shows an artwork by Misty Gamble made of blue clay – originally that blue, no added pigments.
Inspired by Roman antiquity and the very special, intense natural light of southern Europe, the most unconventional ideas are realised.

They find support with interns, mainly coming from the sector of art history or practical ceramics and pottery.
With their help, the daily programme of classes and the bilingual office tasks can be run.
The photo to the right shows Jessie Fontana-Maisel, student of art history from the US, studying in Rome and finding ‘training on the job’ here.

The works produced by the resident artists during their stay are presented, tagged and additional info material displayed, so interested galleries and collectors can get in touch.
Courses and workshops, led by Paolo, for beginners and advanced clay craft workers and artists, for adults as well as kids, are offered on a fixed schedule.

Diverse techniques and styles are taught, such as Raku, low-fire glazes, and lustre glazes.
One- and two-week workshops taught by international artists give participants access to additional media and methods.

The resident artists have access to the studios 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. They obtain assistance in procuring materials for their work, advice on museums, galleries and sites in Rome and beyond. A final group show gives artists the opportunity to exhibit work made during the residency period.

Both together moreover offer cooking classes, realising genuine multi-course Italian dinners according to traditional recipes, learned from a long-time friend and expert chef, now advanced in age. Of course, well-selected wines are served with it. The idea of coming together with friends and inspiring people, to cook and eat commonly, is one of the origins of the artist residency concept.

The atelier is properly trim and tidy at this well-renovated space, that still lets play the charms of the old architecture with its gothic arches.
Likewise, the rear workshop is nice and tidy, so the three workstations really get you in the mood to roll up the sleeves and get started.

Compared with AIR’s at state institutions or funded programmes, there is a considerable fee to pay to the independent organisation, but as usual  artists can apply for grants at official bodies and will find assistance for this. The fee includes accommodation in the historical centre of Rome, so rents make quite a quota.

Crossing the inner courtyard, there is an important archaeological dig-taking place literally next door.
The most impressive view on this
excavation site, as well as to the imposing apartments, which have been accommodating fellows already, is to get from the common roof top terrace.
Beautifully planted and maintained, it offers the perfect ambiance for recreation and inspiration.
What a perfect spot for a moment of silence and indulgence while enjoying the terracotta coloured light, surrounded by the vivid life of the Eternal City.
The partners in life and work furthermore conduct a second place in the countryside, which functions as AIR as well. It is about an hour’s drive northwards from the capitol, near the lake of Bracciano.
For ceramists and sculptors, visual artists and writers,
 this residency is a pleasant refuge amidst stimulating historical sites at the cradle of Europe, caringly accompanied and guided by professionals:
Absolutely worth going for it!

More info on the c.r.e.t.a. rome homepage, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.
Mille grazie per la meravigliosa ospitalità. Tutto il meglio per il futuro!

Photos: c.r.e.t.a. rome, A.M.;
Interview with:
Dr. Lori-Ann Touchette and Paolo Porelli, co-founders of c.r.e.t.a. rome,
Rome, 24th September 2014.


Baltic Branch of NCCA / Kaliningrad, Russian Federation

Baltic Branch of NCCA / Kaliningrad, Russian Federation

for visual artists in the fields of contemporary, sound, public and social art

The arts to occupy former military precincts
…in post post-Soviet times

The Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Kaliningrad, Russia, is currently rebuilding a huge areal of the ‘Kronprinz’ barracks in order to locate there the state museum of contemporary art.
This former military place, built in the 19th century to accommodate the royal garrison, includes a three level tall tower – even four, when the roof and café are constructed.
The Kronprinz tower, with its handsome fasade, is welcoming visitors at the front entrance to this brick complex.
The round tower itself is a ‘looker’ – surprising with a straight wall towards the inner side. It shall host Russian and international contemporary art when it is finished, as well as a wide window framed cafeteria on top. Spreading out its seductive charms, several pre-opening events already took place here, as long as it was fine with the safety regulations.

The highlighted parts of the Kronprinz barracks show where the reconstruction and restoration take place. The mansards on the eastern side have a total space of 1445 sqm. Exhibitions will be shown on an area of 600 sqm. The other space will host offices, a cinema, two studios for artists, an area for art education workshops for kids, a library and a media archive.
The scheduled opening was postponed several times, also due to practical issues, like the need of individual access for water, electricity and gas supply, missing original foundation documents, which were probably deported to German
archives and are hardly traceable, etc.
Basically, there was no architectural contest. To save money, the director of NCCA in Moscow, who is an architect himself, did the concept and the planning with a small team involved.
Even though budgets are tight, the thinkers and cultural developers wanted this museum building to represent a role model for its society – in terms of sustainability and historic reconstruction.
As far as possible, original materials are used, wooden instead of plastic framed windows are chosen, and an extra staircase including an elevator is attached to the outer wall.

Here, and of course at other places within the city of Kaliningrad and beyond, the Baltic Branch of NCCA has realised a strong cultural programme.
Its aim is to promote and support contemporary arts in Russia and the Kaliningrad region within an international art context. Through exhibition, collecting, information, education and research activities, the staff actively engages with the citizens and the community of the Baltic region.
Lively collaborations and exchanges are launched and maintained. Just presently, 10th October, an exhibition at Klaipėda, Lithuania, was opened, marking another intercultural cross-border art project.
Due to Kaliningrad’s special geopolitical situation as enclave of the Russian Federation within European Baltic States, one thematic focus is ‘Heritage in actual context’.
Central aspects are furthermore the rich and complex historical background regarding the German legacy or the closed Soviet region, experimenting both: being the Russian Federation’s display window in Europe, and also traumatised by double periphery and remoteness.
Certainly, there are other interesting and interdisciplinary topics on NCCA’s agenda too, like ‘Contemporary architecture, spatial development and environmental design’.

Until the new entrance is finished, the only access to the mansards is via the corner staircase, also used by a school and the college for management.

Much more than just boosting a construction site, the work of the NCCA staff is of course about fostering contemporary art and about cultural involvement. Focussing on the engagement with the people and on current developments reflected through the arts, the personnel realises social interventions, events and workshops.
The division was honoured with the National Award of Innovation in 2008 and 2011, as I get to know at the office asking what these wooden-metal things with Cyrillic letters are. “And there must be a third trophy somewhere,” Yulia says unexcitedly.
The team of all together 15 persons, including accounting and facility management, is gathering together at transitional offices, rented at a co-working block in the centre of Kaliningrad. Since ten years already they are operating from this interim place. It looks like anybody ever really installed here to stay.
There is a lack of shelves and cupboards, to store materials and papers. Only the certificates are neatly framed and hung.
Within an hour, things could be packed and brought to the new place – to their proper and tidy offices, which are awaiting their creative and intellectual forces.

This artwork below, titled ‘My golden contribution to ornithology’, is hanging on a wall in the shared office of Elena Tsvetaeva, Director, and Yulia Bardoun, Vice-Director, of the Baltic Branch NCCA.
The artist Anatoly Belov (Moscow, RU) investigated on birds, why and how to ring them, and on their tracks – tracing their migrations. The golden plaque in the middle of the picture shows that he used the gold of his melted wedding ring for scientific purposes.

The AIR-programme:
Another way of promoting the intercultural network and exchange surely marks the residency programme.
So far, they were hosting artists from abroad in externally rented apartments, and sent local artists to other countries. A reciprocal exchange e.g. was realised with the ‘Künstlerhaus Lukas’ in Ahrenshoop, northern Germany by the Baltic Sea.
Mainly self-financed or with the support of funds, artists and thinkers could be hosted till present, helping them with visa matters or language difficulties.
Clever enough to overcome practical issues like using public transports, mini-buses and tramways, without being able to ask where actually to get off or to change, guests are provided a bicycle… and a big smile in the face tells: That works out well!
Knowing about the benefits of AIR’s for the artists as well as for the local audience, they are looking forward to the completion of the two artists studios at the Kronprinz mansards. Maybe then they also will host curators and combine residence and research, to expand their offers in terms of thematic exhibition and education.

The last image before leaving Kaliningrad to keep in mind was the ‘Cosmonaut Memorial’, a symbol for reaching out to the unknown, for a brave step beyond – on untrodden paths. Maybe it is a metaphor for unvain role models, opening up the opportunity to find national identity and pride – apart from defensive military structures.
Now it’s time for contemporary art to reach out for less galactic, but rather urban spaces.

Cosmonaut Memorial: Three cosmonauts grew up in Kaliningrad, including Alexei Leonov, who in 1965 became the first man to walk in space.
(Neither being cosmonaut nor astronaut, but also a great man of the town: Philosopher Immanuel Kant was born and buried here.)

большое спасибо, good courage and much persistence to reach your goals!

More info on the BB NCCA homepage and on social media, like Facebook, TwitterVK or Instagram.

Photos: A.M.; Interview with:
Elena Tsvetaeva, Director, and Yulia Bardoun, Vice-Director,
as well as with Alexander Zuenkov, Supply Manager, and Andrey Efits, PR-manager,
of the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts,
(two last-mentioned not on the team photo on top)
Kaliningrad, Russian Federation, 6th October 2014.


Nida Art Colony / Neringa, Lithuania

Nida Art Colony / Neringa, Lithuania

for visual artists of all fields, designers, architects, art critics,
cultural managers, scientists and researchers, as well as for students

Colony life, space interferences and island love

Nida Art Colony is beautifully located at the midpoint of the Curonian Spit – an elongated island, which is a popular holiday resort – the Lagoon towards the Lithuanian mainland on one side, and the Baltic Sea on the other. Charmingly, the streets are lined by sandy grounds and well kept Scots Pine forests.
Europe’s second largest dune can be
climbed within a ten-minute walk, and from there the border to the Russian enclave Kaliningrad is in sight.
Not only the sundial seems perennial – also the high erected lighthouse does;
At least in the dark, when shining its mighty signals in time: ONE – TWO – PAUSE.
As it gently was explained to me in a starry night.

The Vilnius Academy of Arts purchased the property in Nida, a small town on the Baltic peninsula of Neringa, nature reserve and recreation area, more than ten years ago. The aim was to host its students for a retreat and creative collaboration, and also to run temporary residency programmes for national and international emerging as well as established artists and thinkers.
Thematically encouraged topics for critical reflection are e.g. remoteness, tourism, art research as artistic practice, site specificity and how to avoid it, and sustainability in life and arts.
About four years ago,
the impressive building with its facilities to accommodate up to 60 persons, was finished.
Well, the reconstruction is not yet totally completed, as the third section is still
a construction site – prospectively ready for its intended use by the end of 2015. Then up to 75 people can stay there at once.
Since March 2011, Nida Art Colony already is in operation – and what operation! …young and dynamic, just as smart and solid.
The Academy made a clever move with dividing the direction of its subdivision into artistic and executive head, and therewith having two brilliant brains in the lead: Rasa Antanavičiūtė and Vytautas Michelkevičius.

Its fabulous organisation skills and hospitality, the vigorous crew just demonstrated lately with being host of the ResArtis (Worldwide Network of Artist Residencies) Regional Meeting 2014 in Vilnius and Nida – welcoming 94 participants from 28 countries.
Certainly, also the future will hold great challenges, only regarding the upcoming Venice Biennale. The new version of the art project ‘Museum’ by Dainius Liškevičius will represent Lithuania in the Venice Biennale 2015, which will be organised by the Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts team.

But, what is it?… What makes the COLONY LIFE?

For sure, it is about the creative exploration of the surroundings, plus the adaptation to another pace, slightly slower than in the capital Vilnius.

Like taking the time to watch birds… and reflect on the ‘hobby’ of ornithology, its close connection with technology and devices, the required traveling and the peers of birdwatchers. So do the current Artists-in-residence, Rūta Junevičiūtė (LT) and Nicholas Matranga (USA/DE), explaining about their joint project ‘Č’.

Ditto, another current Artist-in-residence, Madrid-born Virginia de Diego, is mainly working with sand. In Nida, she realises a photo-archeological project titled ‘Clear the Path!’.
With sneaking into her artistic work and into her studio, the impression meets both, the space/field is larger than it first looks.
Altogether five light and spacious artist studios are available, pretty 65 sqm on two-storeys, each including an own kitchen and bathroom.
Appealing three-dimensional graphics of the apartments can be found online.

Right: Živilė Etevičiūtė, Artists-in-residency Curator, is taking care of the needs of NAC residents.
Left: A small library provides the residents with thematic literature. A publications list also is available online.

Maybe colony life also means to take a little risk, to err and wander around… on obscure paths in the dark. In other words, to agree with a very special opportunity Nida Art Colony was offering: A night walk with a notably peculiar guide.

Not knowing before that the guide is Estonian – very sympathetic, but reticent. He was just carrying a wooden box on a handle with him, some kind of an old-fashioned suitcase. So it was a silent march on moon-lit tracks… until stopping by the sundial on top of the dune; the enormous monument pointing up to the sky.
The young Estonian positioned straight towards it, knelt down and bent over his wooden case. Strange, crackling sounds in varying sequences broke the silence. Single tones became sonority, Morse code like. A voice whispered: ‘Space interferences – he’s collecting space interferences.’
Ah, all right, no clue what those things sound like, but why not: SPACE INTERFERENCES.

The next morning, Taavi Suisalu ungrudgingly tells about his experiences being a former resident of the colony himself. He set up this project in 2013, working on the agenda’s topic of ‘Critical Tourism’How exactly these sounds were produced – practically only two plates, connected with a wire and a battery, inside an empty box, found at flee market – shall not be revealed. More about Taavi’s ‘Diy Nightseeing Tours’ is to be found on his homepage.

Enough on colony life and space interferences! – How about ISLAND LOVE?

Life on an island, within an art colony, can definitely lead to personal interferences.
But also, and fortunately, there is the potential of connecting people, of magical bonding and even finding eternal love. Well, maybe too much inhalation of fresh Baltic air, but surely this is what a couple falling for each other is seeking for, isn’t it?
At least, when walking down the aisle, heading towards the altar for exchanging the vows… So, this particular wedding took place end of September in Berlin, and

Linas Ramanauskas, Producer/ Administrator at NAC, as well as the good soul of the house – as he is the only one permanently there, was invited. Not only to be a special guest, but also to take care of the music.
Because: Linas is moreover running the radio station NERINGA FM. It is broadcasting from the peninsula, focussing on good music and good news, as he says.

That music has an intrinsic positive and strongly connective power, the team of NAC knows quite well.
To implement the focus of the ResArtis Meeting on Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia music-wise, the ‘Trans-Oriental Party’ was the best strategy, for sure. Exotic and unfamiliar songs were eurythmically danced away like alphabets – thanks to the DJ set by Jurij Dobriakov, that needs to be mentioned appreciatively.

Thanks a lot to all of you for these great experiences and: geriausi linkėjimai ateičiai!
More info on the Nida Art Colony homepage, on Facebook and Vimeo.

Photos: A.M.; Interview with:
Rasa Antanavičiūtė, Executive Director, Dr. Vytautas Michelkevičius, Artistic Director,
Živilė Etevičiūtė, Artists-in-residency Curator, and Linas Ramanauskas, Producer/Administrator, of Nida Art Colony of the Vilnius Academy of Arts,
Vilnius and Nida, Lithuania, 2nd – 5th October 2014.


Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg / Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg / Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany

1) for filmmakers: screenwriters, directors, producers, but as well
camerapersons, editors, costume and set designers, composers and sound designers
2) for young media professionals: digital techs, visual artists, cross-media researchers

Spectacular cities to explore for filmmakers
And a new AIR programme to come soon:
media pros in interchange Berlin-New York

‘24/7’ AIR programmes

About five years ago Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg started to run its residency programmes called ‘24/7’, at first only welcoming filmmakers from abroad in Berlin-Brandenburg.
Since more than three years it is working reciprocally and gives film creative from Germany, based in the capitol region, the opportunity to travel to Israel, France, China, India and Mexico, and to host film professionals from these countries contemporaneously.

The aim is to provide the chance to work on, maybe even to realise a project abroad, like writing a film script, or just to find inspiration from the different culture, habits, landscapes and languages for the tangible work.
The already existing running residency programmes are affiliated in the department Film Funding, especially in charge is Dr. Teresa Hoefert de Turégano.
In terms of selection of course, Managing Director Kirsten Niehuus is strongly involved.

To let the stipends profit the most within the short period of time – the duration of the stay varies between two and three months according to the city – the cooperation with local partners is intense right from the beginning. This includes networking events and dinners introducing the guest to the film- and media industry on site, and setting up contacts considering the individual needs of the participants.
Depending on the destination, housing and programming is organised differently.
For example, the close collaboration with the Israel Film Fund is the most established one. Executive Director Katriel Schory is involved throughout the procedure,
including the application- and selection process till the practical realisation and involvement of the German fellow.
In Tel Aviv e.g. housing is arranged in a private flat, unlike to Paris.
There the exchange fellows are accommodated at the Cité Internationale des Arts based in the 4th arrondissement, hence directly in the city centre of Paris around ÎIe Saint-Louis, where they find ateliers, rehearsal studios, and moreover common space for commutation and reflection with artists of divers disciplines and backgrounds. Detailed information on the other cities, on deadlines and requirements can be found online.

Former fellows were e.g. Samuel Maoz with his project ‘Foxtrott’ (working title), who is the director of the multiple awarded feature film debut ‘Lebanon’, 2009.
Also director Matthias Luthardt participated as a resident in Tel Aviv with his film project ‘The Dog’, which will be in production soon.
One of the first stipends hosted in Berlin was the Israeli-Arab director/screenwriter Suha Arraf, writing the script for her film ‘Villa Touma’ here, the film shown at this years’ Venice Film Festival, causing scandals

related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the request for reimbursement of funds.
Generally, Medienboard has a flexible approach to the projects the candidates are applying with as well as to the practical proceedings on location. The focus remains on the personal profile and requirements of the stipend.
A tip for potential applicants: Teresa Hoefert de Turégano emphasised that the motivation letter is particularly important to her, stressing motives for and impact on the creative work.

Since 2013, there is also an AIR collaboration with Villa Aurora Berlin/L.A., the former house of German-Jewish writer in exile Lion Feuchtwanger in Pacific Palisades, California. This exchange is to enable one fellow routed in film business to link with Hollywood and stay in L.A. for a quarter of a year, together with three other residents from different branches.
See the blog article about the residency Villa Aurora, L.A.

To reach the Medienboard offices at Media City via public transport, the closest S-Bahn train station is ‘Griebnitzsee’. Just across from the station’s entrance there is beautiful lake Griebnitz. It is definitely worth climbing down the stairs for taking a little timeout and looking over the waters on a late summer’s day.

New Media AIR ‘Berlin-NY, NY-Berlin’

Medienboard and Made in NY Media Center by IFP are currently developing an exchange programme for young media entrepreneurs and creatives.

The new media fellowship created by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg in conjunction with NY Media Center offers digital media professionals the opportunity to swap living and working environments with their transatlantic peers.
The scheme was largely adapted, taking over successful modules, plus adding branch specific extra aspects:
Two entrepreneurs, media professionals and young business people from the Berlin region have the chance of a three-month fellowship in New York City. While at the same time two New York media practitioners and creatives will be invited to spend three months in Berlin-Brandenburg, being accommodated in the city.
The stipend will include workspace in a co-working facility at an interesting hotspot for Start-ups and young business people in the media and digital sector fostering creativity and the share of expertise, prospectively in Berlin-Kreuzberg. An individually tailored mentoring programme is rounding up the concept. The media residency programme will take place from April till June 2015, offering the fellows the opportunity to attend industry events such as Berlin Web Week and Internet Week New York, both taking place in May.
The goal of the programme is to strengthen the international networks linking these two media hubs, particularly interesting through its interdisciplinary approach and the coaching elements.

The facts
Both residency programmes cover travel and accommodation costs, both organised by partner institutions; In Berlin e.g. the practical proceedings are taken over by Nipkow Programm and Startup Germany. Moreover, the fellows receive a monthly allowance of 1.000 Euro.
The calls are sent out in autumn, and the selected next term residents are usually announced on a festive occasion during Berlin International Film Festival.
Especially in the film and media branch, realising a project and producing a film is a process, which takes a long time, usually several years. So it is kind of immanent to grow and keep connected with the fellows through their careers.

And who actually is…?

The Made in NY Media Center by IFP  Designed by MESH Architects, it is a multi-disciplinary creative space with nearly 2.000 sqm at 30 John Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It is a place where storytellers from multiple disciplines, industries and platforms create, collaborate, connect and incubate across a spectrum of programmes, events and experiences. The Center brings together innovators in film, video, gaming, technology, and more through education, mentorship, entrepreneurship and content creation.

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
The company is the first stop for professionals in film and media industries in the area. It unites film funding and business development of both federal states, Berlin and Brandenburg, under one roof.
Its goal is to strengthen and further develop the film and media industry in the capital region.

More info on the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg homepage and on Facebook.

Photos: NY Media Center, A.M.;
Interview with:
Dr. Teresa Hoefert de Turégano,
Filmfunding Advisor, and
Alex Röhl,
Consultant Media Business Development,
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH,
Babelsberg, 20th August 2014.


LIA – Leipzig International Art Programme / Spinnerei Leipzig, Germany

LIA – Leipzig International Art Programme / Spinnerei Leipzig, Germany

for fine-, media-, installation- and photo-artists

As close as possible to where art originates

The ‘Baumwollspinnerei’, erected in 1883, succeeded in what so many places alike fail in:
It did not become a brownfield like lots of other urban-industrial locations in Eastern Germany, but a vivid spot within a new branch, letting artistic outcomes and alternative economic attempts flourish.

We all know how much women, especially in the cultural sector, work and how much they achieve.
Here, at the precincts of a former cotton mill, emerged in 1883 at the outskirts of Leipzig, which became an artists’ dream areal, we find another example:
A truly admirable young woman set up a successful artist residency programme, existing since seven years now already.
Anna-Louise Rolland (former family name Kratzsch), CEO, founder and curator of LIA,
is now 34 and mother of a two-year old and a baby.
She agreed with the arduous task setting up an AIR and officially opening it in June 2007, not even having finished her studies of Art History and Cultural Studies.
The lady, originally from the island of Rügen in the North of Germany, was offered this opportunity to create a new residency by the Spinnerei management, with the backing of their full confidence to share the vision of this arising art space.

“Well, the first six months LIA could use the space for free, then we had to pay rent as any other enterprise, gallery and atelier as self-contained private unit has to. It took me three years to be in the black”, she says.

Anna-Louise Rolland in front of a painting by Darren Munce, Australian artist and current resident of LIA, utilizing the window of his studio as sources of inspiration for this artwork.

Young, but already having travelled the world and experimenting at curatorial programmes, museums and galleries e.g. in London, NY and Beijing, Anna-Louise Rolland also already collaborated with EIGEN + ART and its head Judy Lybke before. He was one of the driving forces to settle ateliers and galleries at this place and also to establish the ‘Neue Leipziger Schule’, therewith fostering the world-renowned painter Neo Rauch.
LIA today is providing five to seven resident artists at once the opportunity to live and work in its ateliers, staying between three to six months. So far nearly 200 artists from over 40 countries have been fellows of this AIR – given the chance to present their artworks in an exhibition during a so-called ‘Rundgang’. The ‘Spinnerei-tour’ is something no one of the culturally interested folks of Leipzig and around would ever miss.

This time the open door’s title by LIA was ‘Make yourself ready, my spirit’, presenting artworks from the current residents directly where they are created, at hall 18, 2nd floor.

Three times a year all galleries, studios and art foundations at this place open their doors, always on the second weekend in January, May and September, and usually ending with a legendary party in the early morning.

In addition, LIA organises a winter exhibition and a summer show, so there are five big events featuring its residents. But far more than that:
Anna-Louise Rolland and her assistant, programme coordinator and curator Kristina Semenova, who joined two years ago, are helping to set up contacts with the locals within the art scene and beyond, mediate, show and try to realise any wish of the artist.
One of the main features of the residency is a monthly organised programme including studio visits and artists as well as critiques visiting LIA.
Even a bicycle is provided for each of them – and as it’s a bike city, this is a premise.
Furthermore, Anna-Louise Rolland continues collaborating with former LIA artists. She just curated an exhibition at the Goethe Institute Paris.

She also points out that this endeavour only has been possible with the always courageous and spontaneous support of the citizens and students here.
For example the first exhibition featuring Japanese Art, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in Berlin, was realised with the honorary help of five interns.
Furthermore, for the fifth anniversary she installed an exhibition at Messe Leipzig, the fair, seemingly achieving this collaboration with ease.
Every summer also a curated stay at castle Machern is realised by Kristina Semenova, as well as the just published calendar New York – Leipzig. 

Actually, since Leipzig is one of the most welcoming and open-minded middle-sized towns in Germany, it is easy to get a foot into the scene, to set up connections and networks, and to feel at home soon.
As Berlin is just about an hours’ train ride away, so the artistic bonds are also launched there, starting out with a one-day Berlin excursion for the fellows. Besides others, a trip to Bauhaus Dessau is a ‘must’.
Art in creation: partly unfinished works, such as paintings and clay birds, by Cameron Gill.

The facts:

Yes, the attendance fee of 1.100 Euro is quite an amount, but most of the international artists (only German artists cannot be residents) manage to find funding with their national bodies. The application is not project based, but considers the professional track record. There is no age restriction, but the average age is between 25 and 40 of the fellows coming from Japan, Australia, Ukraine, and of course USA.
Why of course? …because there are two established collaborations with annual scholarships; one exchange programme with the New York Academy of Art and another one with the School of Visual Arts New York, selecting their fellows themselves and providing them with the full bursary, also covering travel expenses. Who was the one to raise these partnerships is not hard to guess.
The only sponsor of the programme supporting it from the beginning is BMW, engaging in the regions cultural supply a lot.

Video installations by Sadia Sadia.
Read more about all resident artists at LIA on the website.

So, LIA has made its way by transforming a space into a place – a place where contemporary art can arise under a patronage, within a certain creation line and where needs are met by a suitable infrastructure. Maybe another factor of being this successful is the personal impact of enthusiastic, open-minded and so friendly personalities in the lead.

More info on the LIA homepage and on Facebook.
Read more about the Spinnerei here.

Photos: A.M.; Interview with:
Anna-Louise Rolland, founder and curator, and
Kristina Semenova, curator of LIA – Leipzig International Art Programme
4th August and 13th September 2014.


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