Artist in Residence Pitches

Blogpost about the Artist in Residence pitches at DEAF2012, written by Nadia Palliser.

The artist-in-residence position at V2_Lab was up for grabs at Deaf this week. The residence offers an intense working period of three months within the active and collaborative working atmosphere of the lab. In a snappy series of pitches, five international artists were given fifteen minutes to present their idea and motivation for the residence. Marnix de Nijs, Sarah Cook and Mark Shepard were the jury. I liked the fact that this was a public event. Though the jury had been briefed on the concepts beforehand, I was curious to see the presentations and possible debate.

First Liselot Ijssendoorn presented her Abundance Walker, a toolkit for practicing creative skills while walking around town. ‘To celebrate life, with enthusiasm and pleasure’ with an AR app, compass atlas and social media group. The compass atlas especially dazzled me as a potentially super intelligent piece of jewellery. Perhaps a film of an initial walk-about with the Abundance Walker may have given a bit more bite to the presentation instead of the after-thoughts of people who experienced initial try-outs of the Abundance Walker?

Second, Jeff Mann launched his concept of ‘Technecology’, a lengthy but visually pleasing presentation, introducing a myriad of artistic issues. The evolution of design, Muybridge and Duchamp, Donna Haraway, ‘technology as emotional equipment for living’. Mann obviously has an in depth fascination for the technological artifact. He looks for speculative spaces, ‘below usefulness and beyond the futility of utility’. The central question of how technology might feel is interesting. I’m just not so sure I got an idea of the work.

Tina Tönagel, the third candidate presented her concept of the Kinetic Canon: to combine installations with research into classical music. Fascinated by Bach, Tönagel is looking to translate the complexity of this music into a mechanical self-playing instrument. She wants to visualize the music in grid-like projections of analog metal sheets, strings and metal rods. There were some funny poetics going on in the work, though perhaps less of a topical framework positioning it.

The fourth candidates for the residence were Ebru Kurback and Irene Posch. The project is called ‘Punch Couture’ and it brought back the idea of knitting as data visualization, a popular theme in art and design. “Embroidery equals projection, sewing assemblage, weaving infiltration”. It sounds like Punch Couture might take this a step further. Ebru presented a clear framework – with the central focus point of the knitting machine, a social apparatus of the family and the punch cards, the oldest medium storing binary data. Well prepared, a duo and super contemporary.

Francesco Quarta Colosso was the fifth candidate. As a graduate in economy, his interest in the communication models of Shannon and Weaver and Shramm moves towards explorations in sound installations. He wants to present relationship itself, in quite bare Italian English ‘the information within it, its energy’ in his installations. The minimal aesthetic was appealing to me but perhaps the plan was still a bit too frugal. How about reading a bit more about Dick Raaijmakers?

And lastly Millie Chen, who could not be physically present, courageously opted for a Skype presentation. This turned out to be an informational disaster as all channels ran into a glitsch, images blurring, the connection unstable. With all this talk of presence at the festival, it was clear to both jury and public that this kind of presence was definitely not working. Though it must have been a disappointment to the artist, at least Derrick de Kerkhove’s passion for the performance value of long-distance communication made everyone laugh again!

Each member of the jury gave 1 to 5 points for each pitch but this was not done publicly. Five nervous artists and a still interested crowd awaited the verdict. Finally it was announced that the jury unanimously gave one project 5 points each: Ebru Kurback and Irene Posch with ‘Punch Couture’. The other candidates were not given any feedback. I think this is a pity since this is, after all, a public event. At least a short reaction of the members in the jury would have been interesting. But at any rate, by means of solace to those who didn’t get the residence (but who were able to be there in the flesh) at least 50% of success is just being there! Good luck and congratulations to Ebru Kurback and Irene Posch!

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