Rethinking the idea of art residency
>> Observing the concept of residency <<
In contemporary world of art, the residency, as Florian Schneider precisely explains “connects space and time through a subjectivity that is based on and generates a somehow paradoxical effect: a continuity of temporary presence; furthermore, it is supposed to generate outcomes that sustain, no matter how they perform; and in doing so, it prepares the ground for the possibility to affect change”. In developing world of art influenced by the market forces and competitiveness that put the artists in a precures positions, the art residency is still remaining an island of opportunity with temporal space and time offer in which artists can create, reflect, research, interact or “escape the existential pressure, to reframe, intensify, or refresh their own practice”
What is Art Residency?
Starting as romantic patronage in the 1900s in the United Kingdom and the United States the art residencies developed though time in relation to needs of the artists, on one side and to the policies and missions of many different public and private bodies acting as hosts, on the other. Their geography also developed by spreading from western Europe to all around the globe.
Art Residencies are continually evolving as result to the fast developing globalization and innovation, so it is difficult to give a firm concept for the term, instead we should keep it open to new developments, contexts and times. Still, we can accept some core principles related to Art Residencies. According to Trans Artists Network they include: temporary time and space, organized opportunity for artists to stay and work elsewhere, vary artists in residency in time at same residency host, an effort by the host to sustain the opportunity offered and the function of the residency in relation to the domain of the arts, in the widest sense.
From the artist’s perspective, the art residency enables creative process, time and space for reflection and experimentation, opportunity to develop their artistic practice, networks, connect with other artists, get professional feedback and build an audience. The residency has important role in the career of the modern artist (unfinished projects, new collaborations, partnerships and further funding opportunities that can lead to development of new ideas and works)
Pascal Gielen, in his texts “Time and Space to Create and to Be Human – A Brief Chronotope of Residencies” recognises 4 Chronotope of art residencies. In the first Chronotope he makes distinction between working conditions and pressure imposed to the artists in studio and residency structure. Even when no concrete results are required from the artists, they work in limited time/space relation within framed conditions in which it is expected their stay to be a meaningful one for the residency host. The second, or the Network Chronotope, refers to a network residency organised in a place well connected to the art world, which increases the chances for the artist to be seen and chosen, who now is more focus on self-exhibitionism than on his artistic introspection. In the third, or the Alter-Chronotope, the artists in search for inspiration outside themselves, in scientific knowledge, in a social issue, or in a convenient skill are “used” by the neoliberal climate in which many subsidies are offered for engaging artist’s creativity in solutions to social problems (such as integration, and social cohesion). The forth, and last one is the Embedded Chronotope. A Chronotope where the residency is not defined in time and the artists search for inspiration in the space provided by the residency that goes beyond the artistic domain. There, art coincides with life itself, or at least with life as some artist would have it, so the residency becomes a life’s work with a chronotope that spans the entire duration of someone’s life and where space covers no less than the entire planet in which a person tries to integrate.
The change of relations
If in recent history related to the question why and how art residency is organized, artists were more on the side of content providers, while the residency programmes, were more enabling conditions for work. “Now the interest in how seems to shift to an interest in what, and this shift can be discerned among the hosts as well as the guests. Research-driven residencies are increasing in number. The residency revolves around peer-to-peer exchange, internationally organized and focused on topics of importance to hosts and guests. The idea is growing that artist-in-residence may offer new spaces and models for the development of knowledge and understanding, not only in the arts, but in society as well”
In the realm of the research residency, again here we are going back to Florian Schneider observation in his text “Artistic Intelligence and Foreign Agency A Proposal to Rethink Residency in Relation to Artistic Research“. He alerts on the expected outcomes of an art residency where the artists are committed and commissioned to participate in the processes of value creation in cognitive labour and immaterial production, from small start-ups to large industrial scales. The challenge here is to reframe the relation and go beyond the question of ownership. Rather than conceiving it as a property relation between artist and ‘his’ or ‘her’ work, the challenge is to make visible, in the artistic research process, the invisible relations of knowledge production. This means to reevaluate the abstract relations between a research and its practice, between new knowledge and its residence.
Continuity of temporally presence
In the neoliberal system the residency embodies continuity of temporally presence of artists work, which fragments the working process, splits the costs and sometimes exhausts the artist.
Nevertheless, residency provides valuable opportunities for the artists, among which
//Creation of ecosystem of exchange and collaboration between the host and the artists
//Open space where the artists can grow (personal and professional relations)
//Escape from everyday survival mode – possibility to work with more focus, disburden of the everyday living/surviving context
//Creation of platforms and networks that are good for the artists and they work
//Knowledge Sharing – sharing of ideas, working practices, reflection and feedbacks in the framed settings (public presentations, meetings, following the work of other artists in residency in the same residential space and giving feedbacks among each-other) or informal gatherings (hanging out in communal spaces as yard, shared living room, kitchen etc.
From the socio/political and geographical point of view there is big difference between the conditions offered within the residency in relation to time, space, working possibilities, technical facilities and artists remuneration, organised in well-developed western European counties in relation to some eastern European counties with low living standard, such as North Macedonia. This also reflects the possibilities of artists coming from these different contexts in the favours of those living in more developed counties, while the second due to the luck of opportunities in their native countries and the region have lower outreach.
When creating a residency programme we always need to put in focus the context in which the residency is being organized in order to have meaning not, only to provide space.
Residency in the context of Kino Kultura
Suggestions how to develop residency programme and reach artists from local and international context:
//To define the conditions of the residency programme – what kind of space can be offered and under which conditions – time frame (possible months in the year, number of days per residency and working hours per day), list of accessible equipment and technical support, possibilities for exchange and sharing knowledge with local artists and cultural workers, possibilities for public presentations and reflection on the work etc.
//To define separate slots for residencies for local artists
//To define the type of residencies – production, educational, research etc. In which art filed, for example, if the context doesn’t have significant number of preforming artists than the residency can be open for artists from the faculties of drama and visual arts by offering interdisciplinary approach to choreography, performance, dramaturgy etc.
//How to approach/apply – by open call or by invitation? What are the requirements for the artist who would like to apply?
//To offer possibility for sharing costs among artists and the space, in situations when artists can provide travel and subsistence grant
//To put all these information on Kino Kultura website and promote it tough social media
//To establish official collaborations with educational institutions and develop model of non-formal education, which can offers lectures and workshops for the students on one side, but also a system of credits related to participation and working obligations (for example, students arts production, research, text writing etc).
Network of residencies in the South-East Europe
In 2019 the 4th Nomad Dance Academy Advocacy Event was organised in Ljubljana titled “Network of Residencies in South-East Europe #NORSE”. The event presented different residency spaces and programmes which exist and operate in the region and opened space for discussion on how and under which conditions, structure and possible programme a regional network could exist or be developed?
Reflecting on this within the group, few proposals were:
//To start by mapping of each city and define the conditions, the type of residencies and the funding that can be offered?
//Upon these conditions to talk about the possible structure of how the network can work, what would be the programme of the network and each residency space, how the artists will be chosen (by open call or by invitation), how funding of the work of the network will be provided etc.
//To respect the Nomad Dance Academy principles of invitation, open space and rule of three.
 “Artistic Intelligence and Foreign Agency A Proposal to Rethink Residency in Relation to Artistic Research“ by Florian Schneider in the book “Contemporary Artist Residencies Reclaiming Time and Space” published by Antennae-Arts in Society Valiz, Amsterdam, 2019
 “Time and Space to Create and to Be Human, A Brief Chronotope of Residencies” by Pascal Gielen in the book “Contemporary Artist Residencies Reclaiming Time and Space” published by Antennae-Arts in Society Valiz, Amsterdam, 2019
 “A term employed by the Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin (1895–1975) to refer to the co-ordinates of time and space invoked by a given narrative; in other words to the ‘setting’, considered as a spatio-temporal whole” – taken from Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095611483)
 Resulting from group discussion among Dejan Srhoj, Danae Theodoridou, Oliver Musovik, Slobodanka Stevcevska and Violeta Kachakova
 Art Spaces and Residencies Summit was organised in Kino Kultura Skopje on 12 and 13 December 2019 by Lokomotiva – Centre for New Initiatives in Arts and Culture in partnership with NOMAD Dance Academy Slovenia (more on https://bit.ly/2Pq5G6T)
 Nomad Dance Academy – Independent, open, and sustainable platform for contemporary
performing arts in the Balkan region and beyond, more on http://www.nomaddanceacademy.org
 Organized by Nomad Dance Academy Slovenia and Centre for Urban Culture Kino Šiška, from 7 to 10 April 2019 in Kino Šiška, more on https://www.kinosiska.si/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NORSE_conference_invitation-ANG-final-1.pdf
Cultural manager from Skopje, North Macedonia. MA in Cultural Management and Cultural Policy (University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia), BA in Economy (Faculty of Economics in Skopje, Macedonia). Project manager and programme editor at Lokomotiva-Centre for New Initiatives in Arts and Culture. Co- founder of Kino Kultura – project space for contemporary preforming arts and contemporary culture. Music collaborator at independent radio station Kana103, DJ and part of music collective PMG. Team member of the Skopje European Capital of Culture 2028. Interested and active in cultural policies research and development; European, regional and local collaboration involving different actors and stakeholders working in the fields culture and contemporary arts; advocacy for the rights and working conditions of independent sector and development of new models of public cultural spaces and the models of self-governing.
Art Spaces and Residencies Summit is organised by Lokomotiva – Centre for New Initiatives in Arts and Culture in the framework of the yearly program “Contemporary culture and public policies” 2019, developed as part of the project “Program of Lokomotiva in Kino Kultura – project space for contemporary performing arts and contemporary culture” supported by the City of Skopje, Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia and Centar Municipality and Life Long Burning, programme line Performance situation room supported by Creative Europe.