Transcultural Exchange Conference, Boston

Public institutions could be in danger of becoming overly bureaucratic or developing one or two best models for their exhibitions, performances and other services, that then everything must go through. The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford for example displays the same thing year after year and is not allowed by law to change these exhibitions however, by allowing artists themselves rather than just their work into these public institutions, this is an opportunity for mutual enrichment, but also mutual survival.  Research studies and publications at Bard College Curatorial Studies and Oxford University and Apex Art in Soho, New York have questioned the relevance of large public institutions such as museums in our age.  Conclusions from Apex Art were that artists needed to be brought closer to the public of these institutions so that there is more visibility of the creative process, rather than just the work themselves in this way there is more an emphasis on work in process.  Now, without wanting to look like monkey`s in a Zoo where observers watched artists as they lived or worked/lived, the extension of these concluded by Oxford University and Bard College was that these creative works in process where the artist is central in the institution and not just the work and also offers services such as: workshops, lectures, talks or symposiums, courses, activities for children and adults and/or facilitating other projects within the rubric of these institutions or for wide public audiences.  
    Bringing in artists or art collectives or even merging small `alternative` spaces with larger public institutions often allows the shake-up that the larger or public institutions need and similarly, artists can feel invigorated by providing several services for wide public audiences as well as diversifying their skills and using the institutions vast wealth of infrastructure and resources. I have experienced the benefit of this directly as I was involved with assisting and editing the Seeing Lhasa exhibition that was part of a larger project of saving Tibet, with the Anthropology department of University of Oxford.  I was able to use the resources of the museum by transferring 1930’s colour cine-flex footage onto Macintosh.  We then edited the digitized footage onto a DVD-loop that was subsequently displayed amongst vintage photographs taken from that period. I mediated between web, curator, academic and administrative departments for editorial and aesthetic judgment. Dr. Claire Harris overseeing the project.  Access to the collections can fuel imaginative ideas for activities and events for the museum's audiences as well as new bodies of work for the artists-in-residence.  For example for my next project, I then delved into the museums` photograph archive that informed my next project about colonialism and post-colonialism between North Africa and France.  During this Seeing Lhasa exhibit there was also a Buddhist monk: Gonkar Gyatso  from Tibet.  He was an artist-in-residence at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and part of the exhibition: Gonkar Gyatso he documented a creative engagement with what it means to be Tibetan in the 21st century.  Because the permanent display of the exhibition couldn`t be changed, then it was important to find ways to exhibit round it, still saying what he wanted to say.  So he used the idea of the Tibetan Flags, going up to the roof of the museum and ended with an expression of Britishness in a specifically Tibetan way. This invigorated the institution, so that they could think about different ways that they could use the exhibition space whilst still maintaining the law, which was not to change anything in the exhibits.  You can see here how the front part of the museum was used to put the photographs and Cineflex giving a whole new perspective for the somewhat dusty anthropology museum.  Just as an aside, we had to be very careful, because I wanted to give a copy of the footage to another anthropologist, but she refused to take it because she was afraid that it would fall into Chinese hands.  So having the artist or curator in the museum developing works there, you are able to be exposed to important issues such as ethics, colonialisation and migration-topics that influence and inform your art and curating
    Originally the important element of AIR programs was the desire for a place where completely new methods of expression could be nurtured – something that has not been feasible within the existing museum / theatre / system.  Artist-in-residence programs within these public institutions provide that much needed space for innovation and risk that often these public institutions couldn`t do other-wise.  Whereas from an artist`s or curator`s perspective, it provides more infrastructure, resources and access to other disciplinary areas or audiences. So that both institution artist/curator can not only survive, but also thrive.  For instance, the origins of the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin can be traced back to the anti-establishment student movements of the 1960s.  In order to carry out their desired reform of traditional concepts of art, the art students of the time sought places where they could engage in completely unfettered expression. Having at first squatted in vacant buildings, they were soon granted recognition by the government and a former hospital was provided as a Kunstlerhaus (Artists’ House).  In other cases, artists went about acquiring sites by a variety of means, often converting former schools, monasteries, deceased estates and castles.  For this reason there was a tendency towards alternative artistic activities often opposed to accepted norms which then get accepted and welcomed and recognised by these public institutions either by the means of use of the public institutions and or funding.
Pernerinsl in Hallein, Salzburg:  Schmiede

An example of this is It is called a work-in-progress festival where you can apply a project as a group or as a individual looking for collaborators.  There is a emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborative work.  It is quite a short-time only ten days, so the emphasis is not on producing, but on process, however many projects are works-in-process that have been initiated elsewhere and they are missing vital components, bringing your work-in-progress to Schmiede, you find out what is missing and find those missing elements.  There is a 2.0 website where you are asked to join to become a Smith, here you can share and get together as artists to form groups.  Often, what happens though is that all this changes once you get into residency members form other groups, and break-off or re-collect, new projects are initiated beyond the scope of the festival itself.  for instance, I collaborated with a special effects editor and art director to begin with, but then it changed and another special effects and camera person came on board as well as two musicians.  

Here you can see how there have been collaborations between a writer/artist Thomas Mader and dancer Susan Kempster.  Thomas Mader from this project then went on to curate and produce an exhibition in Berlin.  In the top corner this was a project by a group of artists that decided to do a project called Date-an-Artist that enabled people to experience being with an artist for 10 mins. this is an example of the participatory art that happened in the 1960`s and at the moment is enjoying a revival.  This project then went onto Vienna and Berlin with interest gained through the festival.  Bringing in the artist over and above the work, emphasises the importance of having the artists feed off other artists and the public institution itself, this is often the much needed catalyst to transform your work to the next level, or to go to the next step, that perhaps you may not find otherwise had you just flown in your work instead of you.  The skills that you bring to an public space or an institution flying in the creator instead of the work often brings a new scope for collaborative work that otherwise would be looked over.

    During this festival I was staying at the same pension as a performance art grouped called Depart that could be compared to Fueta Bruta that has been on in New York and London recently.  So it was on the basis of their performance of a John cage piece 4.33 in their residency that we then discussed and decided over breakfast to collaborate.  They used the actual resources that were in their performance.
The artists we were working with were at the HTL sculpture school and so they had a different ways of interpreting what they saw.  Their sculptures reminded me of what I saw in Storm King by Kenneth Snelson, Free Ride Home, 1974.  So everyone was able to get their diverse experiences and interpretations out of the same thing.  In this way artists re-invigorated two public institutions.   A performance artist group in the Old Salt mine and a technical school were able to experience two very different ways of thinking.    The school and Schmiede at the Salt Mine both rich resources that each party could draw from and gain transformation through the process.

Here at Schmiede again an artist found a new collaboration, Nina was working on her own project with the green-room making a teterus, but then she saw that she could work with us and artists from Afghanistan, Nigeria and Ghania that wanted to collaborate with musicians, directors and editors and so she switched to work with the music video so that she could be a facilitator helping others younger artists how to use the green/special effects room.

    There was also a slam poetry performer and MC that had come for a project that you see with the musician here, however through his residency here he also grouped up with this music video were were doing with young artists.  He was able to mentor and facilitate the way they expressed themselves so that they got away from gangster rap and got into speaking from their souls in their own language about their own lives.  So you have to go with the organic flow of the festival.   In addition, there are talks called Let`s Talk About It, that discuss what is going on in the art world, what synergies there are.  Often people initiate their own LTAI`s when they see there is a need.
In Vienna then you can apply to the MQ artists-in-residence program. Stipends are awarded for a minimum period of two month and a maximum of six months. Only in exceptional case a period of less than two, but a minimum of one month is possible. You must spend three quarters of your time in the museums quartier doing a residency.  You get free use of rooms such as the Free room that has multi-media digital facilities and you also have use of the Free room to exhibit your work.  In this way you contribute to the Museum Quartier.  You can do this is a number of ways.
Here, you can see an exhibition that I curated with Delphine Mae from Taiwan about Identity, cultural exchange and art as a common language.  This was a visual and sound installation in a "free Room" in the Museum Quartier (MQ) where you walked through the exhibition experiencing different distractions such as advertising and along the silk road you were able draw and your own language so there were many diverse languages along the silk road.  You then were able to go inside the box and listen to the the sounds of cultural exchange and creation of a new common language of art.  A broad public audience came and experiemented with this installation.  In fact one business man in real estate came and decided to support my next project on the basis of this collaborative work, furthermore, he was in real estate and he incorporated the installation and performance art into his not yet finished buildings giving more local artists opportunities, because of this project.  He called it 'Kunst im Bau'.

Here was a collaboration you see the use of the free room where performance artists are collaborating with a musician, whilst someone from Canada links into the room via a video conference where there is a spontaneous performance going on the table near.  This was an event called Art Birthday Party-where the emphasis is on participatory art.  I cannot emphasis enough how more and more applications to residencies, look out for participation in life of the city, culture and local that you are wanting to work with.  Here there is a combination of international artists and local artists and the event of the art birthday party was something that was organised by a local Viennese art groups that had multiple events around the City. Another residency linked into a local organisation called SONANCE developed by Oliver Maklott, Mattahis Gasner and the late Simon Binsh, that hosted a music event so that they not only gave a performance in the museums quartier but also with the local arts groups offering talks and workshops.  You can link into these local groups through these public institutions that often have other events happening at the same time as your residency.  All you have to do is link into them. just asking people.  If you come to Vienna, Salzburg or London then you can ask me of course.

Some residencies are not about producing anything at all.  Upper School art teacher Nicky Enright from Riverdale had a recent Apexart Outbound Residency program in Bangkok, Thailand.  Fresh from his adventures in Bangkok, Nicky shared pictures and stories from his travels and compare his experiences with those of another Apexart Outbound Residents who traveled to Seoul, South Korea. The Apexart Outbound Residency relocates New York-based creative professionals (so this term is very broad) for 30 days in a foreign country, with the aim of providing them with inspiration and material for their future practice.  In turn there is also an inbound residency for those artists or curators who have never lived in New York.  In both cases you need to apply through recommendation.  A real heart-felt recommendation that makes a case why it is important that you need to go on this residency for your work.  There is a structure here, meetings are set up with people not in the art world so that you can experience the life in the place that oyu are going from multiple perspectives, rather than just linking into the art world.  This invites you to challenge yourself perhaps beyond the circles that you would usually operate within.  You do not have to produce anything, if you don`t want, but of course you can if you like, but it is open, the important thing about the residency is the artist themselves and what kind of experience they have so that later perhaps back in your studio in America, or back home, then you can draw upon that creative stimulus to inform you in your isolation, to produce your work.  

    Sometimes having projects in public spaces are just about talking to people seeing what is about in different places and then just going for it.  This happened for an exhibition that I curated in a shopping center, of all places,  called the Stadion Center in the second district in Vienna.  Here an installation and sound artist worked with me to develop a connected installation.  How did that happen?  Actually by suggesting the exhibition to the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York then I was given the contact to a PR person in Vienna who then got the funds from Wien Holding that is a public fund in Vienna that sponsors cultural events.  We decided to host the exhibition in a shopping center because it had great historical significance, it was used as a deportation place for Jews in the second world war before they were deported to the concentration camps.  Although a lot of the shoppers were serious shoppers and not used to seeing art and were just interested in consumerism and so it was important to have this kind of public view this art and get a sense of history.  The exhibition also had a spoken poetry performance with a performance artist and Jazz musicians collaborating that represented the rich diversity of intercultural and Jewish life through young teenage artists in a shopping center (Stadion center).  

This exhibition was  born from an extension of a larger project that was also in a public space  about intercultural exchange between young minorities in Vienna, Hungry and Romania--they then represented themselves through a series of workshops with artists through illustration in one workshop and video-performance the other.  This all took place in the Museum Quartier and EDUCULT (a think tank policy institute in Vienna) and Kunsthalle Museum in Vienna.
An exhibition and a spoken poetry performance with performance artists and Jazz musicians that represented the rich diversity of intercultural and Jewish life through young teenage artists in a shopping center (called the Stadion center). This was used as a deportation place for Jews in the second world war before they were deported to the concentration camps.  

Pflaster Festival in Linz, with Maiz
This exhibition was Mae`s first commission in Austria back in 2007 as part of Pflaster Festival in Linz, Austria. Taking a shop window as a vehicle of display this was crucial in translating the theme of exoticism.  . Taking a shop window as a vehicle of display this was crucial in translating the theme of exoticism. Mae having grown up in New York, but born in Taipei has encountered many an exotification and found herself often having to play the ethnicity card and feed into this fetish, in order to keep herself afloat. I found my self peering into what seemed like a precarious balance between private and public display. So many of us, choose the superficial exotic display as the one to be valued and adored.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Using these studios as a base, residents have access to the V&A's unique resources including the extensive collections, curatorial and conservation expertise, practical art, design and digital media workshops in the Sackler Centre and experienced educational and outreach staff. Residents use these resources to develop their careers, carry out research, make new work and acquire or increase their experience of working with the public. Residents will hold Open Studios sessions for visitors to the Museum to see and discuss their work in progress.
As part of their time at the V&A, residents will work with a team of museum professionals to contribute to the Learning Programme. This may include workshops, lectures and gallery talks, courses, gallery activities for children or contributing to the V&A website. Their input into these programmes is inspirational for both the public and museum staff. Access to the collections can fuel imaginative ideas for activities and events for the museum's audiences as well as new bodies of work for the residents.
SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance) is partly funded by Salzburg City. It`s residency is for any kind of artist the studio is actually within the dance center that can create collaborations between writers, video artists, painters, composers musicians, art educators.  The Studio Space can be turned into a performance studio or an atlier, but the main aim is about collaboration.  As you saw in SEAD there was a writer that then worked with a dance, who then worked with a photographer.  The benefit of doing this kind of residency in a public space is that there are more resources available.  You can link into the local community and performances or exhibitions can then again link into a larger spaces, for example at the Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg where there was a performance in their exhibition space.
Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen invites visual and media artists, art critics, theorists, and curators to apply for a fellowship in 2011–2012. Candidates can apply for one semester (October 3, 2011 — February 11, 2012 or February 14, 2012 – June 24, 2012). The fellowship can be split across two semesters.
With its “Fellowship Program for Art and Theory”, Büchsenhausen promotes internationally relevant artistic production, research, and discussion in the region of Tyrol. The program is based on the idea of generating and maintaining a context for production and discussion, in which artists and theorists can connect and reflect on international art and societal discourses in relation to local topics and issues. At the same time, it affords the opportunity for an artistic laboratory of experimentation, where new artistic practices and strategies may be tried out.  Read more: Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen International Fellowship Program for Art and Theory, Austria.

 Arcus Ibaraki
ARCUS also offers the programs which contribute to the vitalization of the local community by connecting the arts and community through workshops, lecture series and volunteer activities Through the exhibitions and arts projects, ARCUS aims to be one of the places which produce the cutting-edge arts. A number of emerging artists and curators get together and experiment various projects.

Artists in residence with schools, here with a second generation school mostly second generation Russian Chabad School in the second district of Vienna enable a space where the girls were able to express themselves in an innovative way, that was not restricted.  This enabled the students a certain kind of freedom as well as giving the artist chance to diversify her skills where she then received a teaching position at the school three days a week that supplements her artistic career.  Contributing to the local environment enables you to be weaved into the fabric of the city, you can contribute to sustainability, it will enrich your experience, enrich your art-work.  It is important to think about what the country that you are going to needs.  How you are perhaps offering something different and offering a service that would directly contribute and in return enrich your experience.
      Hishio, the Centre for Cultural Exchange opened in June 2005 in the historic town of Katsuyama, Okayama prefecture, Japan. It was the passion and endeavor of local people that lead to the completion of Hishio on the site of an old soy-sauce factory owned by the Kiyotomo family. The soy-sauce business was founded in 1868 and the Maruni brand was loved by local people for more than a hundred years until the factory was finally closed in 1972.
        The brewery building, the Shoyu Kura, stood vacant for decades and became a concern for those who wanted to save the beautiful buildings from decay. In 2000, came the news that the Kura was to be donated to Katsuyama town by the Kiyotomo family on condition that it would be used for cultural purposes. This lead to the Katsyama Machinami Iinkai being set up and it was through this group, with the aid of a government grant, that plans were drawn up for the building’s rebirth as Hishio.
We have to not be afraid to take risks.  If there isn´t a residency in a place where there are rich resources available, then we have to create one and don`t be afraid of creating one by proposing a project directly with the institution or getting together with a curator/art manager that would advocate your work .  If you contact institutions directly then it is important to say that you can in turn can offer your skills to the learning programs of the larger public that are the audiences of these institutions in this way it is re-newing and reinvigorating the museums and the artists shaking old, worn out and defunct systems and keeping the critical awakening alive. I´ll leave you with a prview of the Hishio Arts Center that is a excellent example of these synergies being created.

This is a write up of my part of a panel discussion at the Transcultural Exchange Conference 2011

An Affordable Catalyst: Flying in the Creator instead of Their Work: Putting Artists in Residence at Theaters, Museums and other Public Institutions, Location: Press.
Moderator: Tiffany York, Artist-in-Residence Manager, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Vincent (Vinnie) Murphy, professor at Emory University, director and founder of Sister City Playwrights. At Theater Emory, he developed a biennial Brave New Works series for locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed writers and, in 2003, created Sister City Playwrights for which nine major playwriting labs swap writers.

Jessica White, Freelance Curator, Art Education facilitator and Writer, currently based in Vienna, Austria.

Kayoko Iemura, Director, Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan.
Tokyo Wonder Site is an art center focusing on nurturing emerging artists. It offers a residency program, place for dialogue, creative education and experimental project space for new cultural policy within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Karol Frühauf, Director, Bridge Guard, Art/Science Residence Center, Štúrovo, Slovakia.
Bridge Guard supports all artistic and scientific disciplines, with the main characteristic being "bridging" - intertwining disciplines, uniting opposites, exploring and moving boundaries in contexts - during a 3 to 6 month sojourn in the Bridge Guard residence.

Rya Conrad–Bradshaw, former Museum as Hub Manager at the New Museum in New York, where she organized commissions, exhibitions, public programs and residencies with international partner institutions. She also has experience working at Creative Time and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among other arts organizations.

Angelika Rinnhofer, artist and participant in TransCultural Exchange’s Here, There and Everywhere: The Art of Collaboration project.

From Hishio: Sara Fanelli from four-eyes-good on Vimeo.