SPECIAL PLACE

Kavalierhaus Schloss Montfort / Langenargen, Germany

Kavalierhaus Schloss Montfort / Langenargen, Germany

for fine and visual artists:
painters, photo and graphic artistssculptors, and multimedia professionals
from the region of Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein

Cavaliers, sailboats and chateau-dreams:
A refuge at Lake Constance

So idyllic and yet so unknown

Title Kavalierhaus

The picturesquely situated small town of Langenargen has always been appealing to artists and aesthetes, idyllically extending along the lakeside of ‘Bodensee’.
Since 1997, the city council officially offers artists of the disciplines fine and visual arts a living and working space at ‘Kavalierhaus’ – the cavalier mansion attached to the castle Montfort. Every two years the call for applications is released out and includes a stipend for this period of three months.
This residency for one regionally based artist, who of course can also bring family, takes place annually from beginning of April till end of June.


castle Montfort
castle Montfort 2

Castle Montfort has a long history at its outstanding spit of land, dating back to 14th century. The way it looks today, the fortress was finished in 1867. It was meant to become a villa in Moorish style modeled after Villa Avigdor in Nice. Finally king Karl von Württemberg entitled it ‘Schloss Montfort’. Princess Louise of Prussia took pleasure of it and bought the romantic chateau with all interiors in 1873.
Just a few steps away, also located by the waterside, another building was set up for the cavaliers and servants belonging to the court bustle – the ‘Kavalierhaus’.


entrance   
stairwell
The Kavalierhaus was built in 1866 and nowadays is declared heritage property. But nevertheless, the artists have any freedom of installing themselves and their art they could ever ask for. On terrace level there is a restaurant, but only open for the evenings except Thursdays. The first floor is completely reserved for the artist in residence. On the left side of the staircase there is an apartment of 45 sqm with
studio, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and storeroom. To the right, there is the gallery where exhibitions can take place – as the artist is asked to show the current works by the end of his or her stay with one week of ‘open atelier’.
Moreover, it is requested to donate one artwork to the city council which has been created during their term.

The studio and gallery

artist studio 1
artist studio 2
bedroom
bedroom with bath

General goal is to foster art and especially promote regional artists. So, the residency and atelier are free of charge, fellows receive a stipend of 770 Euro per month, plus once a project grant of 250 Euro. The stipend programme is supported by the municipality of Langenargen and BMK Yachthafen Langenargen GmbH & Co. KG.
Responsible body is the tourism office, selections are made by an independent jury. The first contact person and cordially taking care of the stipends is Carolin Kramer.
Who can apply?

There is no age limit, nonetheless it becomes a bit complicated when looking at origin restrictions.
Applicants need to have their abode proven either in Southern Germany, Western Austria, Northern or Eastern Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or associated communities of Bois-le-Roi, France, and Noli, Italy.

kitchen
gallery

This beautiful town at the Swabian Bodensee region can name a lot of inherent as well as affiliated artists, such as Hans Purrmann (1880-1966), Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724-1796), Andreas Brugger (1737-1812), and reformer Urbanus Rhegius (1489-1541).
With this residency programme the community continues the tradition of art- and cultural ties.
But who has actually been artist in residence so far? A list of all fellow alumni can be found online and is permanently updated.

lake view
From the studio as well as from the gallery there is this stunning view over Lake Constance. Who wouldn’t tell that this is inspiring? …seeing the Swiss mountains at the opposite shoreline and a hundred sailboats passing by. A place which is just predestined to find inner peace and muse for creative contemplation.


Langenargen
tourist information

More info on the stipend programme on the German homepage, or general info in English by Langenargen tourism office.
Here you can find the call for 2016 and 2017: Ausschreibung deutsch.
Heartfelt thanks to Carolin Kramer who was guiding along and explaining about Kavalierhaus-Stipendium.

Carolin Kramer


Photos:
A.M., Matthias Graupner

Interview with:
Carolin Kramer, Amt für Tourismus, Kultur und Marketing;
Langenargen, 1st September 2015.


 

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.

Photos:
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.


 

Akademie Schloss Solitude / Stuttgart, Germany

Akademie Schloss Solitude / Stuttgart, Germany

for emerging and advanced professionals in Architecture, Visual ArtsPerforming Arts, DesignLiteratureMusic/Sound and Video/Film/New Media;
furthermore for scholars, scientists and professionals from the disciplines of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Economy/Economics

The Becoming of what not yet Is –
On promoting talents and the genesis of art

Akademie Schloss Solitude (Academy Castle Solitude) was established to promote art and culture, in particular by awarding residence fellowships to emerging artists and organising artistic encounters, seminars and conferences, performances, lectures, concerts and exhibitions by fellows and guests.
Swiftly, it became one of Germany’s most renowned artist residencies, offering the highest capacity of furnished live/work studios for guest artists. Up to 45 residents with divers cultural and professional backgrounds can be hosted at once within the castle’s facilities.


The two officers and cavalier’s buildings facing the Baroque castle contain the living, working and exhibition areas of the Akademie since 1990. While the Rococo exterior and classical parks nowadays mostly serve as wedding location – a young engaged couple stepped in right behind me to make an appointment mistakenly at the residency reception – the other part of these grounds are a vivid laboratory for artistic research and cultural practice.
In 2015, the institution celebrates its 25th anniversary, still under alert lead of the programme’s Founding and Artistic Director, Jean-Baptiste Joly.


A lot of events, exhibitions, performances, concerts and conferences take place, not only at the castle, but at special sights and places. You can take the chance to watch the video documentation of the ongoing exhibitions at Akademie Solitude and the performances of the opening night.
Special thanks to all participating artists – Mica Cabildo, Stephanie Choi, István Csákány, Nestór García Díaz, Bill Dietz, Miako Klein, Carolin Liedtke, Sînziana Păltineanu, Cyriaque Villemaux!
Video by Hagen Betzwieser.


Artists are accepted for a period of three to twelve months, receiving a grant by the institution. Applications can be submitted every two years during an announced period – since 2014 also online. That caused the fact that the number of entries nearly doubled on about 3000. Cheers to the work of the fantastic team of Akademie Schloss Solitude and the jury that ever reassembles the selection of artists within the divers disciplines was made.
Now, their art projects find realisation within the anniversary year.
The focus always remains on the artists with a very personal approach. At Akademie Schloss Solitude the creation and generation of art as well as the promotion of artistic talents is the driving force of all efforts.

More info on the Akademie Schloss Solitude homepage and on Facebook.

Photos:
A.M.;

Interview with:
Prof. Jean-Baptiste Joly,
Director of the Akademie Schloss Solitude,
Konstantin Lom,
Administrative Director,
Angela Butterstein,
Coordinator Press and Public Relations,
Claudia Gehre and
Clara Herrmann,
Art Coordination Fellows 2014;
Stuttgart, 5th November 2014 and
Berlin, 23rd April 2015.


 

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.


 

Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo / Rome, Italy

Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo / Rome, Italy

for Creatives within the disciplines of:
fine arts, literature, music/composition and architecture

This residency stipend is one of the most important awards of Germany for outstanding artists

Villa Massimo, short for Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo or Italian: Accademia Tedesca Roma Villa Massimo, is a German art institute in Rome. The entrepreneur Eduard Arnhold established it in 1910. Several buildings belong to the complex embedded in a neo-classicistic park, which is maintained in the finest. It is located only three metro stops east of central station ‘Roma Termini’ near Piazza Bologna.

The tradition of art and culture patronage of Academies as an elite promotion model, has worked well for more than 100 years. (See Angela Windholz: ET IN ACADEMIA EGO*, also considering e.g. the Académie de France Villa Medici or the American Academy on Janiculum Hill.)
It is an anachronistic phenomenon regarding art historical periods and movements in the 20th and 21st century. Yet the attraction of art practitioners to this form seems perpetual.

*Angela Windholz: ET IN ACADEMIA EGO – Ausländische Akademien in Rom zwischen künstlerischer Standortbestimmung und nationaler Repräsentation 1750 – 1914. Regensburg 2008, ISBN: 978-3-7954-2060-4, 472 pp.


The sheer number of applications proves it:
Villa Massimo annually receives approximately 1.600 applications for 9 places available, plus the stipends for a three months stay at Casa Baldi in Olevano Romano, a village south-east of Rome, about one hour away.
To cope with this huge amount of submissions, fine artists, who form the biggest group of applicants of all disciplines, have to apply on country level, whereas all other artists need to submit their intent on federal level.
Facing times of neo-liberalism for decades, many creative professionals are scouting for an escape. Those artists are intensely seeking for the safety of an institutional patron to be relieved from the economic pressure of continually producing.

Despite this, the Academy historically favours established and renowned artists, who might not be at the bottom of the food chain.
The statue on the column shows the profile of Eduard Arnhold and a plaque to honour him, the founder of the villa.

Who would not love to receive the honour of a stipend like this? Spending an entire year devoted to inspiration and practice, resting at a magnificent, paradise-like place, just enjoying the scent of pine and cypress in the air and the flickering light breaking through tree leaves.


Just imagine being handed over such a bright apartment, completely empty – fully reset to zero – not even a salt shaker in the kitchen remaining from the predecessor. Not to mention the capacity to bring over family – the two-storey studios are large enough and the scholarship includes a monthly stipend of 2.500 Euro.
Moreover, other artists and experts can be suggested for an invitation of a week of interaction, staying in one of the noble guest apartments in the main building.

Jazz musician and percussionist Paul Lovens maps out his brain on his desk, the day before leaving his studio here. With 50 years experience of touring the world and more than 200 audio releases, he set a special interest in music improvisation.
The two photos in this column give an impression of the studio of Thilo Folkerts, landscape architect and founder of 100Landschaftsarchitektur, who specialised on experimental gardening concepts. He let us sneak in and was so kind to open the park-fronted doors.

Those residents who are interested in certain architectures, excavation sites, particular museums and archives only need to communicate their ideas to the Artist’s Relations Coordinators.
The gentle team, with its connections and special contacts, can make exceptional things possible. For example, they organise trips and tours with expert guides, who open
gates that, for the ordinary audience, normally remain closed.

Almost inevitably, the fellows witness the cultural policy of Italy. The centre of the great Roman Empire and cradle of the arts is currently reducing opening hours of monuments, or closing down exhibition venues completely. Institutions and NGO’s face ongoing financial cuts and ambiguous private funding guidelines.
With a stoic fearlessness, the director of Villa Massimo, Dr. Joachim Blüher, assesses this current situation.
He explains his perspective within the historicist conception of progress – the importance of artist and research residency programmes for the constitution, confirmation and modification of cultural identities.
The director also expresses his appreciation of other German ‘Künstlerhäuser’, like Villa Concordia, Schloss Balmoral or Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani, and other institutions with which Villa Massimo has entered into a composite.

What a contrast – to come back to the broad park of the villa on 36.000 sqm, secluded from the outside world by high walls and a heavy iron gate. A trench opens up, not only between Romanesque improvisation and German management logic, but also between the ‘island’ situation of the Creative and the entire production process.
On one hand, the artists are remain among themselves within this locked park, on the other hand, they are encouraged to deliver creative output that is linked with or refers to the region and the locals.

Well known on the cultural agenda of the Romans are the divers events taking place at the villa, like lectures, concerts or exhibitions. Just to mention the ‘Sander-Lerski exhibition’, the kick-off for ‘fotografia’, a show series curated by Ute Eskildsen,
that draw a broad public. Or the ‘Electric Campfire’, which attracted especially the younger local audience.
The photo above shows the ‘Mosaik-Saal’ getting prepared for another evening event the same day.

But what is expected from the artists in return?

Certainly, it is an adherence to a philosophy of a high profile organisation, representing a state like an embassy, and the behaviour in consciousness of cultural diplomacy.
Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry for Cultural Affairs and Media, of the Chancellery of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For the artists, that also means not producing an artistic intervention, which could be interpreted as offensive to any social group or religion.
Following an extensive three-year restoration, in 2003 the Academy started a renewed commitment to nurturing culture in Rome and in Italy. For 2016, a climate-sensitive conversion is planned, interrupting the residency operations, which will be taken up again in September – from then on following the academic, instead of the calendar year.

Those Creatives to whom these structures sound obsolete and outdated perhaps should rethink their intent to apply – at least for the annual residency. There is also another short-term scheme running, the so-called ‘practice-scholarships’.
With this programme, the director appoints fellows without any selection jury attached. They will be accommodated in the same modern studios of the lane houses, numbered 1-10, that have a rear garden for residents only.

Undoubtedly, there is an agreement on the value of arts and culture for society and the consciousness about the privileged situation in which Germany is to be able to sustain its artists. We all can be grateful for that.
A heartfelt thank you for welcoming me.

Photos: A.M.; Interview with:
Dr. Joachim Blüher, Director, Sylvia Metz and Julia Trolp, Artist Liaisons,
Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo
Rome, 24th September 2014.


 

DOCK 11 & EDEN***** / Berlin, Germany

DOCK 11 & EDEN***** / Berlin, Germany

for dancers on main focus – supplemented by artists in the fields of theatre, performance, literature, music, fine arts, film, club art, etc. in interdisciplinary approach

Series: Urban Contemporary –
Hotspot Berlin (Pankow/Prenzlauer Berg), PART V

The symbiotic contradiction of paradisiacal rehearsal place and urban-industrial performance venue


From Hotspot to Eden it is only four kilometres straight ahead from Prenzlauer Berg northward to bourgeois Pankow. Routed in the divers international dance scene, the institution DOCK 11 & EDEN***** unifies the spatially and structurally separated realms of production, education and presentation.

EDEN***** café terrace garden view
mural at DOCK 11 backyard

The central aspect of the institution is the human being with its broad relations towards arts and surroundings. In a holistic approach it fosters different notions in an agile and nimble way.
A further goal is to combine this with a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, regarding environment and dealing with groceries and resources.
The primary reason why it feels paradisiacal at EDEN could be this: an atmosphere of wholesomeness.
It’s not only the properties of a carefully restored century villa with the café, two yoga studios and guest rooms, and the new building in the rear garden dated in 2009, offering light flooded rehearsal spaces with oscillating wooden floor for dancers.
The architecture and interior design throughout is quiet and restrained, making grey the featuring colour. And how bright, reflecting and haptic grey can be with using natural ingredients such as sand, clay and pigments!
Almost imperceptible, grey is framing the retention and warmth of the institution – on facades, interior walls as well as on the homepage. There information re the houses, studios, workshops and guest rooms can be found, as well as great photographic impressions.

Emerging from the experience with continuously having single guests and touring groups for a certain time span over, the wish to establish a conscious behaviour with food, eating habits and producing waste arose.
The usage of public spaces, rehearsal and production facilities, kitchen, etc. should be with care towards the co-residents, especially at a place dedicated to the beauty of arts, music and body movement.
How to become prudent on the immediate society around and help to preserve the nature in practical terms? That sounds basic, perhaps even a bit hackneyed.
As managing director Kirsten Seeligmüller tells, the self-initiated healthy and ecological living most likely suspends being on tour.
Far better it is realised in own organisation, providing catering prepared of regional biological food, causing less packaging waste and food scraps.
Kirsten Seeligmüller confesses to be a Joseph Beuys fan, sharing his conception of unifying art and life.
She thought a lot about the issue where the ‘take-away culture’ in urban societies leads us.
Not to eat commonly anymore at locations dedicated for it while having a time-out, but instead having drinks and sandwiches at working desks or on the walk. Surely it is causing sticky or oily keyboards and door handles, leaving crumbs on the floor and leftovers at undesignated bins with this manner.
No wonders there are problems with insects, cockroaches and rats in our major cities.

She reports about a trip to Brussels for an EU project meeting, noticing that most modern office blocks have bistros on the ground floor providing take-away offers at large. Her conviction is that there can be an alternative acted out.
That also helped to develop a cuisine widely appreciated, so that the café/restaurant is rented out for private festivities frequently.


Festival NORDWIND at EDEN*****

Generally and foremost the team around Wibke Janssen und Kirsten Seeligmüller manages the opportunity of 80 dancing classes for their weekly up to 900 persons coming in, aged between 2 and 65.
They host rehearsals of musicians and theatre ensembles, and also have own productions in creation.
Actually, DOCK 11 is Berlin-wide the only theatre staging performances focused on dance all year round. Within about 200 performances per year, up to two premiers a month are put on the schedule.
Download schedule
Film festival POOL 14
In addition to stage performances also films dedicated to dance and performing arts are presented to the public.
POOL 14 / Internationale TanzFilmPlattform BERLIN takes place 11th – 13th September 2014 at DOCK 11.
The annual film festival includes a competition and a jury awarding the ‘PEARLS’. See programme
The POOL Video Dance Night can be viewed on ikono.tv stream Saturday from 10 pm on.

The facts
There is no actual residency programme offering stipends or scholarships, but of course the cultural place is open for all kinds of self-organised artists and collaborating groups.
It provides the guest with fantastic working facilities in combination with great care and an inspiring ambiance.
Fortunately it will stay like this for the next couple of years, as they hold the lease on EDEN until 2068.
To conclude
EDEN is the location for rehearsals, including accommodation facilities, and DOCK 11 is the staging place with auditorium at the vivid ‘Kastanienallee’ in central Prenzlauer Berg.

By the way, to promenade along this alley with its uncounted shops and cafés became so famous for seeing and being seen that Berliners re-named it ‘Casting Alley’.



More info
on the DOCK 11 & EDEN***** homepage and on Facebook.

Photos: A.M.;
Interview with Kirsten Seeligmüller, managing director of DOCK 11 & EDEN*****
Berlin, 5th September 2014.


 

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