Artist-in-Residence under the Pandemic - Remodeling Residencies_(EN)
Organizer: co・iki, AIR NETWORK JAPAN
In collaboration with: Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio, Natsukashii Miraisozo K.K. (KESEN AIR-ART-LIFE), A.I.T., Kyoto Art Center
November 26th,2020 20:00-22:30JST @Online Event
[ First Half ]
Project Presentation by Creators of "Creativity from HOME" Experimental Remote Residency in 2020 operated by Co-iki
▼Session Video Archives
“Barter: Outside our windows” Teresa Leung / Hong Kong
“Melody of Homemaker” Shen Jiaqi / Singapore
“Welcome (to my) home” Olia Fedorova / Ukraine
“(Un)forgotten flora” Francis Annagu / Nigeria
“Virtual Photography” Muhammad Rizqi Muttaqin / Indonesia
“Virtual Shared House” Copen / Japan
▼Project Outline & Details
▼"Creativity from HOME" Experimental Remote Residency Virtual Photography Archive
[ Latter Half ]
Artist-in-Residence under the Pandemic - Remodeling Residencies -
Discussion together with AIR operators and creators from Japan, Ukraine, Indonesia
▼Speakers *Session Hosts
Yoko Negami / co・iki (Tokyo) *
Teiko Hinuma / KESEN AIR (Kesen region,Miyagi,Japan) *
Shintaro Tokairin / Arts Initiative Tokyo (Tokyo,Japan)
Mami Katsuya / Kyoto Art Center (Kyoto,Japan)
Mami Odai / AIR Director,Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio(Hokkaido,Japan)
Sachiko Kanno / AIR Researcher(Japan)
Olena Kasperovych / Yermilov Centre (Ukraine)
Anastasia Khlestova / 127garazh (Ukraine)
Olia Fedorova / Artist (Ukraine)
Rizki Muttaqin / Artist (Indonesia)
Sharing the current situations and future plans of AIR under the pandemic (Japan & Ukraine etc.)
Creators' Stories of Remote Residencies (Ukraine, Indonesia, etc.)
Global AIR data [key points] during the pandemic (by Marie Chaumont from SpeakArt)
Discussion: Current situations and thoughts of the participants
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Since spring this year we have had several opportunities for online meetings with artist-in-residence organisers to share information. We would like to share the activities and experiences of co・iki, which actually started a remote residency programme at an early stage of this pandemic.Thank you for the opportunity.
I am Yoko Negami from co・iki. I run a small residency in Tokyo.
In this pandemic situation, we wondered what we could do to remain as a platform for creators, so in April 2020 we released an open call and started an experimental remote residency "Creativity from HOME " (http://co-iki.org/en_US/events/creativity-from-home/).
In the first part of this session, we introduced the artists from six countries participating in this remote residency. (See link above)
In each country, the situation was different. Some had to stay home for most of the time and others were able to live a hybrid creative life, having their own physical exhibitions and participating in remote residencies with co・iki.
What we tried to do the first thing was to find a way of spending this uncertain time together even from a distance and our experimental remote residency was the temporary solution.
From here on , we would like to share a few examples of co・iki’s remote residency and share the situation of each of you.
The AIR operators from Ukraine and the creators from other countries are here to join us, so we hope that the meeting will be a good opportunity to share the situations in Japan as well as those in other countries.
Please feel free to talk about what is on your mind.
Q: What has COVID-19 brought to the artist-in-residence structure?
As this is a remote challenge, co・iki has created various meetups to build relationships with creators and participants.
△ [Creators Meetup]
We also experimented with creating a virtual living space, to see how we could build trustful relationships remotely, and to explore forms of communication in residencies.
△ [Co・iki's Virtual Living Space created & cooperated by Marie Chaumont]
We also tried to cross the remote and the physical at the same time, while accepting residents on an experimental and physical basis. I've learned a lot from doing it remotely and in both ways.
△ [ Virtual Tour by Olia Fedorova,Ukraine ]
It's not just a substitute for a physical residency , rather an alternative form out of many different approaches. I felt that this could be a new form of residency and still a platform for creators.
The restrictions of international mobility has been the biggest hurdle for many of us.
What do you think is the essential part of residency?
In my opinion, the essence of international residency is, first of all, the cultural exchanges between countries. It is also about the interactions between people through new encounters, which also contributes to the creative practices and to the development of artists' careers. This is what we again made sure in this experimental remote residency.
So the question we would like to share with you is: How important is “physical mobility” between countries in international residencies and what does it actually mean?
I feel that each of us probably has their own thoughts on the matter, so I hope we could talk about that too.
What value do we see in each residency?
There should be various kinds of values in residencies, and I think this pandemic is being an opportunity for us to take a fresh look at that.
What does physical , international mobility enable artists to do? What has been left out by running residency remotely?
We have conducted a short questionnaire for the participating creators.
Q: What does “physical mobility” make possible for creators?
-Examining the essence of international residencies from a creator's perspective
△ [Feedbacks from the participating creators ]
Give more effective feedbacks
I think it's difficult to guarantee the quality of the feedback that creators give/get when they are working remotely compared to the real-time interaction.
Escape from everyday life
It’s difficult to completely escape from everyday life when creators had to stay home or in a certain location.
Can concentrate on creation
I think physical mobility in residency also means to creators that they can have a sustained creative time physically through locating/dislocating themselves on-site.
Easier to build a relationship
Some creators found it easier to create new personal networks physically than remotely.
Can have a deep insight into a wide range of things
I think that meeting people on-site gives creators a better insight into the local art scenes and what people are dealing with in the country.
Easier to communicate in person
English was the main language of communication in the Co-iki remote residency, but there were some people whose first language was not English including the operators , so they may have felt a language barrier. Some of them found it even easier to communicate in real life. I think real time communication is the best way to convey emotions,etc.
Q. What was Co-iki's experimental remote residency like for you (the creator)?
・It was great to meet people and creators from different countries and backgrounds.
・An opportunity to deepen my own art practice and to learn about different methods and ways of collaboration.
・I found a new family in this residency. I also found a way to create despite my limitations, and I have learned to see these limitations as "opportunities".
One of the things that all the participants said in common was that they were able to meet people from different backgrounds that they wouldn't normally meet. I could see the possibilities of working remotely.
The recent pandemic may be an opportunity to change the very structure of residencies. In the midst of all this, we would like to share with you our current situation and our plans for the future.
I personally feel that one shared challenge will be to manage residency activities in a sustainable way.
I am pleased to have the residency managers/operators of AIR Network Japan here today.
We hope to introduce their current projects and activities. We also have artists and administrators from Ukraine and other countries today hopefully to share their experiences with us.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you very much, Yoko. You showed us the experimental remote residency that you have just completed, which made us realize that there is nothing better than an experience. It reminded us that we can have opportunities to implement AIR in a positive way even online, while questioning the essence of AIR in this time. Thank you very much.
From now on, we will share our activities with everyone who participates, as time permits.
From the AIR Network Japan, we will introduce Arts Initiative Tokyo, Kyoto Art Center, Tenjinyama Art Studio in Sapporo, and Msr. Kanno, who has long been in charge of establishing and disseminating the database of artist-in-residence programs "AIR_J" at the Japan Foundation and is now a researcher of AIR. After that, administrators from Ukraine would talk about their current situations. Thank you for joining us.
First of all, I would like to briefly introduce the activities of AIR Network Japan (hereinafter referred to as "ANJ"). We hold face-to-face meetings, workshops and study groups with AIR operators in Japan on an irregular basis. Our main focus is on AIR research, advocacy, networking and a little bit of archiving and consultancy to share and discuss our experiences. Each of these activities is run on a voluntary basis by members of the AIR community, and although we are making small steps, we believe that we are expanding our horizontal connections. I myself am in charge of the secretariat of this activity, distributing information and setting up workshops. I am also in charge of several AIR activities, and I would like to talk about some of the most recent AIR activities.
KESEN-LIFE&ART is located in the northern northeast of Japan, in the coastal area of Iwate Prefecture and then inland in the wider area of Kesen-gun, a place with a rich Tohoku culture. Originally, the AIR program has been implemented since 2013 mainly in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, which was severely damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck in 2011. Since last year, we have been conducting an international AIR programme in the wider cultural sphere of "Kesen".
This year we have just started to implement the program remotely with four artists, two from Japan and two from overseas, using zoom to exchange various data such as photographs and videos, and to research, provide information and communicate with the artists.
This time, we would like to make the best use of this year's situation and reverse the way artists and coordinators work. The artists then create something out of this.
For example, we cover the Tanabata Festival held every summer, share the photos and videos with the artists, and ask them to re-cover the parts of the festival that they want to explore more. We are also in the process of doing online interviews with the people behind the festival, exchanging information and thinking together about what resources we can use.
KASAKOSHI is the local word meaning the wrap-up party after a festival. We believe that it is a challenge to create a cultural exchange and co-production on an equal footing with the artists, rather than how the community takes care of their stay and follows the artists’ ideas. So what really matters this time is co-production between people ,which is, in the usual physical residency, more about deepening the relationship with the local people they meet.
The meaning and essence of a residency differs from program to program, but our program is based on cultural exchange and how to make resources work for the good of both, the artists and the local community.
Now, I would like to continue with Mr. Tokairin from Arts Initiative Tokyo to talk about his current activities. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Ms. Hinuma. Thank you very much for coming today, Ms. Negami and co・iki. I also enjoyed the first half of your talk very much.
Hi everyone, my name is Tokairin from Arts Initiative Tokyo, a non-profit organization in Tokyo. We have been running residency since 2003. For this year's program, we do not physically invite artists from abroad as many other organizations would do, but we will try to run a remote residency. We will be working together with a Japanese artist and a Dutch artist for 6 weeks from January to the end of February in 2021, in a program that will be a combination of online and offline.
We are currently in the process of selecting the artists and we are in the final stages of the process which will be announced at the end of the week. There were some findings as we proceeded the program little by little. The first thing is about the open call for artists.
We’ve made an open call which actually led us to explain the program details to the applicants several times. As we added various methods and ideas in the program, such as crossing online and offline, or using logistics routes that can still cross national borders to exchange something, it might have been a bit hard for them to fully understand.
We discussed it with each other, taking questions individually and, in some cases, giving supplementary explanations online. It wasn't like a briefing session, but rather we talked about the problems that we both have. As for what I can relate to the case of co・iki's story, we also discussed how we can grapple with those issues, which again made me realize the fact that both(as an artist and a residency operator) shared the challenging time together under the pandemic.
The theme of the program was “Liminal Space”, a term that can be interpreted in a broad sense.
I thought it was great to have the opportunity to share something that challenges us both.
In fact, looking through the applications, I am happy to see that the artists are keen to propose what they want to do between Japanese and Dutch artists combining the online and the offline. I am so much encouraged by the passion of the artists.
Listening to what you have just said, it is, after all, a time of many challenges for the residencies this year. I would like to take it as a positive thing. Remote residency is not a means of substitution, but a way of creating a different method as co・iki has shown us. I believe that the DNA of the residency will be inherited and continued in the future through a program that is meaningful for us, the artists, curators and the participants.
Finally, if I refer to what I’m worried about right now, it's how we plan our programmes for next year and beyond. For example, in the past we were able to build relationships through research and face-to-face discussions, but if this is no longer the case, there might be an additional barrier working on new program with different organizations. I think it's a challenge to find a way to collaborate with new organizations. Thank you very much.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you very much, Mr. Tokairin. I would like to ask Ms. Katsuya from Kyoto Art Center to continue.
My name is Katsuya and I am from Kyoto Art Centre. I guess there are many of you who are new to our institution, so I would like to start by explaining about it.
The Kyoto Art Centre is a renovated art centre which used to be a primary school building.
The center activates to hold events and rent out a former classroom as a rehearsal space for creative activities as well as a studio for artists-in-residence.
As a program director, I always think about how to make use of this physical space. But after the pandemic which forced me to convert the program to an online one, I have to admit that it was difficult for me to think straight. We’ve got a physical space, but it remained hollow.We couldn’t really find a way to start an online program until this summer.
I was thinking about how to continue to create an artist-in-residence program in such a situation where artists are not able to physically come to this place. I thought that what I can do now is to continue to exchange and research online. I've just decided to start the online program in December and continue it for about 3 months, until the end of March.
There was a discussion about having an open call for artists as there were already five artists who got selected for this year’s residency but couldn’t make it due to the pandemic.
In the end, we decided to work with the people who were supposed to come and help them prepare for the future collaboration instead of recruiting new participants for the online program . We are now considering an online research program.
It's not always possible to have a one-to-one discussion with the artisans when you are in Kyoto, but via an online program, we could have more time for a detailed discussion with the help of an interpreter.Now we would also like to make this a dialogue-based program.
Aside from the online program, I would like to share our experience when we didn't really expect the pandemic to be prolonged this long.We opened a regular call for artists for the next year with a deadline of 20 June and actually received more applications than usual.
I think it's interesting that more people applied to physically travel and come to Kyoto. I haven't seen all of the proposals yet, but I found that artists were still motivated to come and create even under the pandemic.
Another thing is that Kyoto Art Center runs a website called AIR_J, which is a database of artist-in-residence programs in Japan. Through this website, we see various open calls from all over Japan ,where there are usually a lot of calls for overseas artists as well. But since April, the situation has completely changed.There were more calls of online program and those for domestic artists.
It struck me that everyone was trying to adapt their program to the changing circumstances. There are now very few programs that actually take overseas artists to Japan, most of them are online programs or programs for domestic residents. I think we're starting to see that change. That's all I’d like to share.Thank you.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you very much Katsuya-san. Next, I would like to introduce Ms. Odai, Director of Artist in Residence Program at Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio. Ms. Odai is also the vice-president of AIR Network Japan and she has conducted a survey for AIR operators in response to the pandemic situation in Japan. Thank you very much.
Mami Odai@Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio
My name is Odai and I am from Sapporo Tenjinyama Studio. We are based in Sapporo, Hokkaido, which is located in the northernmost biggest island of Japan, in a place that was originally used as a hotel and converted into a base for artist-in-residence.
Co・iki started the remote residency very quickly and very experimentally while everyone else in the residency field in Japan was at a loss what to do during this pandemic time, which also motivated us a lot to think about our own programmes. I think it was a really good opportunity for us to consider what we should do. Thank you very much.
After several meetings and tea parties, we decided to continue the international artist-in-residence program at Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio this year.
Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio is one of the youngest residencies in Japan which has been operated for 7 years. We wanted to change the character of this residency from being an international program to a more focused environment where artists can concentrate on their work. It's a place where artists from all over Japan can stay.
When the pandemic happened and artists from abroad couldn't come over, we needed to technically shift our approach to domestic artists due to our mission of using the facilities just like Kyoto Art Centre , in order not to reduce the number of users of the facilities.
There was an immediate shift towards approaching domestic artists and working with local artists based in the neighborhood. At the same time, however, we did not choose to completely eliminate an international residency program.
The presence of artists who move across borders is very important for our residency, and we decided to keep it going even if we had to do it online.
So again this year, all our residency programs, I mean, the budgeted residency programs, are going to be held in the winter period. We will have totally seven artist-in-residence programs including the related programs this winter.
One of them is an international program, the other one is a program for local artists in Sapporo and Hokkaido, and another one is for Japanese artists. We hope that we can make this happen through a combination of the online and the offline.
However, Sapporo is now being a hotspot for Coronavirus, so we are not sure what would happen to domestic travel in the future. Anyway, that is what we are planning at the moment.
As Mr. Tokairin of AIT said, through the proposals by applicants , we were again able to recognize the various methods of creative practice and were very pleased and grateful for the passion artists had . It was a great experience for me as an organizer and I actually realized that a residency is only possible when there are artists, which I took it for granted.
This year's online residency program is focused on getting back to the very core of the residency and providing intensive support for the artists' activities.
So, instead of the structure of KESEN-AIR, where a local coordinator in Kesen scans the area on behalf of the artists, we are going to work with artists completely remotely, mainly from their own bases, and see how much we can share with them. We're going to use a variety of tools to do this.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you very much, Ms. Odai. I could feel the passion and enthusiasm of the artists, as if they were sending us precious letters through the applications.
Now, Ms. Kanno, please tell us about the situation in Japan and share your perspective on cultural policy with us.
Hello. I am a freelance researcher on international cultural exchange and cultural policy, including AIR, although I do not work in a specific residency field at the moment.
I had been involved in the creation of the original AIR_J that Katsuya-san introduced to us and I am still continuing my research on AIRs throughout Japan. I’m also slightly involved in the management of AIR Network Japan with Hinuma-san and Odai-san.
Listening to you all, I think we are living in the age of “After Corona” and “With Corona” where the methods of residencies are completely changing. So we need to sort out what we can and cannot do both virtually and physically. I hope to conduct such research in the future and share it with you. Thank you very much for your interest.
Teiko Hinuma @Kesen AIR
Thank you very much, Ms. Kanno. Now I have shared with you the situation of the residencies in Japan and I would like to turn it over to Ms. Negami to share the situations in Ukraine.
Today we have the administrators and creators from different countries and actually the situations vary depending on the country. Now Ukraine sees about 50,000 cases a day and I imagine the situation is quite serious.
It was very inspiring to hear your stories. I am also struggling with this pandemic in Ukraine.
I am a curator at a small residency. It is a residency in Kharkiv, the second largest city in the east of Ukraine. This place is called "127garazh" (https://www.instagram.com/127garazh/ ) and it focuses on young artists. We were planning to hold a big project for this summer (2020) to invite an artist from the UK, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Instead, we had a zoom exchange with young Ukrainian artists as we thought the situation might improve in September, though, the number of cases has been increasing and we still don’t know what would happen.
In the end, we were able to invite three young Ukrainian artists both online and offline for the whole summer of this year.
I don't know what will happen with the current situation. Furthermore, 127garazh is a garage, as the name suggests, in winter it is too cold to use it. So this year, it will be closed regardless of Corona. Although next year's project has not been decided yet, I think it will be a mixture of the online and the offline.
I am still in the process of exploring this situation, so your stories were very valuable.
I would like to know more about what other people are doing and how they are working on it so that I can plan for next year. I might invite only the domestic artists,not the overseas artists for the moment .Thank you very much.
Anastasia's 127garazh seems to be a popular place for young artists, and she gave us a virtual tour of the gallery space during the remote residency of co・iki.
I am also curating a contemporary art centre (http://yermilovcentre.org/) in the same city as Anastasia. Thank you very much for the invitation. Your stories and cultural differences were very informative.
Every year in September we organize an international residency program. The Art Centre is located on the same site as the National University and we usually collaborate with students, the National Botanic Gardens and various other institutions.
When overseas artists take part in our international programs, they are able to use these facilities. They have free access to materials and collections and the space can be used for their exhibitions as well.
In this pandemic, when it comes to a virtual program , the most difficult thing is that we cannot use the materials and the physical space. Everything in the museum is not yet digitised. You can see our program and facilities at this link. You can also visit YouTube (https://youtu.be/DDVa5BldOO0) to see the works of artists using our facilities.
We are still working on this year's program and would like to take into account your stories and experiences to help us develop the ideas.
Thank you very much, Olena. By the way, this Ukrainian connection was built thanks to Olia, a creator who participated in co・iki's experimental remote residency.
From an artist's point of view, I'd like to talk a bit more about the essentials: international mobility, ways of collaborating, etc., and also about how we can overcome the difficulties that have arisen under this pandemic.
Olia has participated in more than three remote residencies at the same time during the pandemic and I believe that such artists are actually all over the world this time. The form of online residency in the European countries emerged in the earlier stage and she has already experienced several of them. So I think she could share her experience there.
I was planning to do some physical residencies in different countries this year, but I was very disappointed when they were cancelled. So I have been experimenting, researching and now finding more about the Virtual Residency.
I originally knew about the Virtual Residency because some of my artist friends who work with digital media had already joined. But I perceived it as a program mainly for the artists dealing with digital media and artists like me had never really tried to join before.
I took the opportunity as a means to get used to this new world as I knew that I had to continue working in the current, unfamiliar situation.
I was supposed to take part in some of the residencies that were already scheduled and they were converted from the physical to the virtual. I am currently participating in five residencies, one of which is co・iki. Each residency is completely different with various tools being used.
As co・iki said in the previous presentation, an online residency is not a substitute for a physical residency but a completely different experience. I think it's something really new. It's interesting for me and for artists of all kinds to discover new aspects of their work and it actually helped me to be more flexible.
For example, I also took part in a performance art residency which was previously considered not to be possible online. I simply wondered how this could be done online and that’s why I took part in it. People who had been in physical performance art residencies got shocked when I talked about my experience in this “online performance art residency”. They see performance art as such a physical artform and there should be an audience.
However, now the new forms of residencies like online residencies are emerging and the new artistic ideas have also been generated. We need to be flexible in how we respond to this situation and how we create. I also feel that I could be more creative with the limitations under the pandemic.
It’s amazing that Olia’s doing more than five online residencies. You honestly told me before that it was sometimes a bit tiring as you had to be online, in front of the screen, all the time (laughs).
Another creator from Indonesia, Rizki, has also participated in at least three online residencies and we hope that he could share his experiences with us.
I participated in three residencies. The first was a four-month residency at co・iki in Japan, which consisted mainly of several online events; the second was a week-long virtual residency at the Spanish-based art space Serdel Nord (https://celdelnord.com/), where we met every morning and evening and presented our creative process. The third was the After Illusion Residency (https://www.instagram.com/afterillusion/) in the UK, where we were given a login to an Instagram account and were able to upload our work there.
I think there are both advantages and difficulties with virtual residencies. As it takes mainly verbal and vocal communication, body language and other forms of communication like physical movement, for example, can be difficult to be sensed and conveyed effectively.
Even though we had meetings every morning and evening during the week, it was of course not a physical meeting. So the communication process was quite hard to deal with (because the details were missing).
So the most difficult part for me is about language communication. And the second is about technical issues.
English is mainly used in residency but we all see different meanings of each word. I felt that it was very difficult to use English only orally.
I think it is amazing that he tried that many residencies during the pandemic. I guess it takes a lot of courage to take part in a remote residency of a foreign country that you don't really know.
The fact that artists are actively working even during the pandemic is what I discovered in this experimental residency and it was very encouraging for me.
It also made me think about how we could work together to build opportunities for creators from different countries. I also wondered how the organisers deal with this as I imagine that there would be a certain level of scrutiny depending on country, culture, age, language skills, etc.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you all very much. The time is running out but I would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce some of the other Japanese organizers. And if any of you have any questions for the artists today, please do not hesitate to ask. Now, let me introduce Mr. Kimura from 3331.
We have been running a residency program at 3331 Arts Chiyoda, a renovated junior high school in Tokyo, for 10 years. We have hosted around 270 artists from 50 different countries so far.
Just like you, we are not able to invite artists from abroad because of Corona.
The Tokyo Biennale which we are collaborating with was supposed to be held this year inviting 12 artists from abroad during July and August, under the title of Social Dive, but due to the pandemic, we need to decide whether we can hold it or not in the next year.
Under the pandemic, both our AIR and the Tokyo Biennale committee are now in close communication with the artists about what we can do.
As for the purpose of the online residency, I understand that people are trying to engage in cultural exchange with artists from abroad and make the most of the connections between the artists and the locals.
While there are still a number of countries that we could have the artists from, 3331 will be inviting a university professor/artist from Poland the day after tomorrow for a month-long program after two weeks of isolation. Although there is a considerable risk, we will be supporting those who are able to come even in this pandemic time and would like to discuss what we can do as an online residency, too.
After listening to what you have said today, I feel that there is a lot of potential and would like to think about what we can do in the “With Corona” time. Thank you very much.
Teiko Hinuma @Kesen AIR
Thank you very much. Now, please, Ms. Tsuji.
Tsuji-san has been a great supporter of co・iki's remote residency and has provided voluntary support.
I have been involved in residencies at Youkobo for about 5 years and I feel strongly that real physical experiences are important.But when I heard that co・iki’s going to start a experimental remote residency, I was attracted by Ms Negami's passion to experiment it and I followed her.I simply thought that we don’t know what would happen before we try it.
It must have been difficult to keep motivated during these four months as neither the artists nor the organizers were able to meet in person. As the program had frequent online talk sessions and the organizer, Ms. Negami, was meticulous in building relationships with a strong sense of “place-making for communal/international exchange”, I think that enabled the creators to continuously enjoy participating.
The atmosphere and content of the Remote Residency Program should vary greatly depending on the participants.
As well as the physical AIR, I was somewhat worried like “What if some of the participants might disappear during the remote residency as we communicate only via screen”, “If people stop logging in or accessing the website, there is nothing we can do…” . But actually it didn’t happen at all. I think it was wonderful that everyone seemed to enjoy the residency until the end, except for those who found it hard to participate because of their illness.
The active participation and interaction of the creators in connecting their own local networks made the program even more dynamic.
I also realized the importance of "place-making" where people can continuously participate, enjoy and at the same time maintain a certain tension exchanging stimulations, which I think is at the heart of residency programs.
I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about this so frankly, but some of the micro-residencies (private residencies) don't generate any income without the artists and co・iki's program this time was free of charge. I was wondering how to make it a pay program in the future, and how to set the value and price of an online residency.
I think it could be one of the future topics as every residency is different in terms of the structure and how it works financially.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you very much for sharing your personal story with us, it was very encouraging in many ways. The next speaker is Ms. Kurata from Do a Front in Yamaguchi.
Ayako Kurata@Do a Front
Do a Front runs a small residency in Yamaguchi which is rooted in the local community.
Unfortunately, a cluster of coronavirus occured in our neighborhood when we started an open call for artists, which made us reconsider whether to run the program. As a result, we decided to host two artists from Indonesia online and one from Japan on-site.
However, as we will be conducting the project on-site, we need to be well prepared to avoid clusters during their stay. After listening to you today, I felt that it would be very difficult to implement the residency online for us considering how much human resources and interactions are needed. As our residency is community-based in the local region, we will try to make it on-site as possible as we can. Thank you.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you Kurata-san. We wish you a safe and successful program. We hope that you could share the outcomes with us again. Now, Mr. Valckx from the Dutch Embassy, please also share the information of the upcoming international AIR conference.
Bas Valckx@Dutch Embassy
My name is Valckx and I am in charge of cultural exchange at the Dutch Embassy. The Dutch Embassy promotes the cultural exchange of Dutch artists in Japan.
Although the outbreak of the novel coronavirus prevented artists from coming from the Netherlands, we decided to subsidise an experimental online program. In one case, the Embassy is covering the costs of one of the three ARCUS invited artists, supporting an online residency and a physical residency next year.
Last week I spoke to two artists who are participating in the ARCUS online residency. They actually responded very positively to the situation after six weeks of their research-based residency project.
I got impressed by their comments that the promise of a physical residency next year is what keeps them motivated for the current online residency.
In addition to this, we have been working with a Dutch artist on an online residency at PARADISE AIR, where they made a documentary film and visuals that were exhibited at Paradise for a week while communicating with the local community online. The Embassy is also funding this project which brings together the online and the physical. We are trying to do what we can in this situation right now .
There will be an artist-in-residence symposium in Kyoto on 11 and 12 December 2020. ( https://www.villakujoyama.jp/air-on-air-online-symposium-2020/ )
The symposium will be held with Kyoto Art Centre, Villa Kujoyama, Villa Kamogawa and AIR Network Japan. We would like to send out a press release to everyone soon.
Having participated in the AIR Network Japan meeting in August, we felt that people in Japan were in need of more information about what’s happening in Europe, which became the basis for this symposium. The observer will be Ms. Hinuma and the panelists will be people from Germany, France, Kyoto city and Mr. Asakura from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
The Dutch Embassy is now preparing this project together with various cultural institutions in the hope that we could help with cultural exchange and the cultural infrastructure of Japan.
Teiko Hinuma@Kesen AIR
Thank you very much. I hope people can join us in December. I am sure we will be able to share many different perspectives, too.
Next, please welcome Marie. She runs a residency information platform in Canada called SpeakArt.
Hi, I actually joined you in the middle of the session due to the time difference. Today, I learnt a lot about how residencies operate in the midst of a pandemic and the struggles they face.
I run the website SpeakArt ( http://speakart.info/ ), which lists open calls of subsidised or free residencies.
In North America, the lockdown began in earnest around 16 March, and from then on, around April, the open call for online residencies began in Europe. The US had a particularly high number of cases and normal(physical) residencies were completely shut down.
Due to the pandemic, we estimated fewer open calls for residencies this year, but at this stage the number has not changed much compared to last year’s. We actually posted 262 open calls last year, and this year we have 227 calls listed on our website. The biggest difference is that the number of online residency programs has increased by 37 out of the 227.
Thank you for sharing your research data.I would like to thank Marie-san for her generosity to work with us and support us in interpreting and experimenting with creating a virtual space of co・iki residency. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude.
Teiko Hinuma @Kesen AIR
Thank you all for being with us for long hours. It was very encouraging to learn about the efforts of the organizers and to be able to share some of the experience with you. The artists are flexible, creative and resilient, which has made me realize that there is still a lot we can do together. We would like to thank you again for the opportunity to be part of the co・iki project.
Thank you all for joining. I'm sure we’ve got more to say and ask each other and hope to have another chance to talk with you again. Thank you also to Sara, our interpreter, for her great help.Thank you so much.
Summary (by Teiko Hinuma)
When we think about the definition of AIR, the element of "artist mobility" is very important. However, with the Corona disaster restricting human mobility, the post-2020 environment for AIR has changed dramatically. In order to compensate for the lack of physical mobility, remote AIR using ICT has started to be implemented all over the world, and co・iki was one of the first organizations to conduct the experimental remote residency "Creativity from HOME".
I was very much impressed by the flexible and positive thinking of both the artists and the organizers, and I believe that this project is also very encouraging for other AIR organizations.
The artists' reports and questionnaires revealed strengths and challenges in communication, creation and practice both physically and remotely. There were also positive discoveries and initiatives in all forms, as well as experiments and observations that are only possible in the virtual world.
We were also surprised by the resilience of some of the artists, who had participated in five AIRs at the same time. On the other hand, from the operator's point of view, the virtual platform of online AIR has been intended as a new method of publishing and archiving the residency activities, through questioning how to create an open environment for creation and interaction as well as maintaining mutual trust.
Following this session, and at the time of compiling this report (early April 2021), I’ve got some opportunities to participate in the case study of a number of online initiatives, including my own AIR.
Of course, there was a great deal of longing for the opportunity to have a physical experience, but we also heard many comments about the "completely different nature" of physical and online AIR and that they would like to continue to actively use the online options for the future.
Of course, we must not forget that there were many challenges, failures and setbacks that are not really mentioned here. We would like to have the opportunity to learn from them and extract their essence.
In any case, the "fountain" of AIR will never run dry with the power of imagination that transcends time and space, as long as there is a "platform" to work together.
The session made us feel that we should keep such hope strong. We would like to express our gratitude to all those who participated and supported us.