On the 26th of July, 2021 wendy.network had its 4th Quarterly Meeting, with several rooms and activities. In Room 2, we talked about a previous residency that took place in March 2021. Rita Palma was the moderator and talked with Jack Madden and Alexandra Papademetriou about the projects they developed in the residency and how the experience went.

 

Jack

The project Jack developed in the residency was about habitable planets. He researches about life on other planets and what it would feel like to discover a planet where there could be life. He talks about how there are so many galaxies and planets that there is a big chance that one of these planets actually exists. So Jack decided to try and create an image of a planet that could theoretically hold life and create the illusion of one seeing it for the first time, as if discovering it.

During his research, Jack learned that when you go into space and look at the Earth, you get overwhelmed, because you realise that Earth is so small when seen from this perspective. So Jack used images of the Earth taken during the Apollo program and altered them digitally, creating new possible planets that are somehow similar, but not exactly the same to ours. He had a hard time creating good images since the original photographs were so low quality. Having one final image, he created a dark room in his studio space and displayed the image inside it. He set up a telescope outside so that people could look through it and see this planet as if they were seeing it in the sky. The audience would  really need to be there and see it in person in order to understand the feeling of seeing this planet that one doesn’t expect to see. 

Jack didn’t get to exhibit this project, it only existed in his studio space. By being there and actually experiencing, that is what gives you the feeling of finding the planet when you see it. 

Regarding plans for the future, Jack has one more year of his MFA where he is working with digital mediums, astronomy data and the idea of isolation and photo manipulation. Jack has done other installations where he explored dark spaces. He creates these black rooms with no light and where you cannot see anything, not even yourself.

 

Alexandra

The work that Alexandra developed during the residency was a research that had started prior and is still ongoing. The name of this project is “The Degrowth toolbox for artistic practices”. This project started during the pandemic, from being stuck alone in a room, having plans canceled, not being able to go to the studio and having to reconsider her artistic work: what is it? what should it be? what does the world need it to be at this moment? So she developed the concept of “Degrowing” which is the idea that we need to construct our society around values of well-being, conviviality, autonomy, sustainability, inclusion and care. She suggests that instead of working in favour of capitalism, we should focus on building community and collaborating.

Alexandra realised that people just want to grow, have more money and more things  just for the sake of having more. So she started to think of this idea of “degrowthing”, recentering, not consuming things just because but instead looking inside ourselves and others. This is what she suggests in “The degrowth tool box for artistic practices”. We can create, not just find or get something but do it ourselves. The competitive aspect of the arts, which is even more evident during the pandemic, that we have to fight each other for opportunities, we need to send applications, create portfolios, to be better than everyone else; is making people pull apart, be individualistic and not actually work. She didn’t become an artist to fight her friends, but to create community.

Artists are so consumed with all this competition that they aren’t creating anymore. This is the opposite of what is needed and why this project is happening. Alexandra is questioning how artistic practices can create a social bond. This tool box is full of questions, propositions, and no answers. The questions’ purpose is to make us rethink our work, to create community and not just money. Some examples are: How can we use our particular skill set to positively contribute to our community? Consider what skills are needed in a post-capitalist future, how can we fill the gaps in our knowledge? There is an idealistic aspect to this project, but as artists we have to theorise about utopian possibilities.

Alexandra just conducted a workshop about this project in another residency. There were artists from all different fields such as visual arts, dance, music and literature. She felt apprehensive about not just having artists that worked about ecology or politics in the workshop but was surprised with the outcome.  The workshop was an invitation to think of ways of “degrowing”.  She realised that she should do more workshops about organisation because artists need to learn to communicate and learn to live together.

 

wendy.network’s Adapt, Change, Cope virtual residency was both Jack’s and Alexandra’s first virtual residency. They pointed out how structured the experience was, which felt staged at first but ended up becoming normal and very helpful. It gave them community but also individual space, since they weren’t physically in the same room. They really enjoyed getting to know each other’s work since it’s so different from one another and has such distinct approaches.  This was the first time they got the unique experience of meeting someone only through a digital medium. They continue to keep up with each other’s work through social media.

 

Nery

Art, Interview, Magazine, Virtual Residency, wendy.network

Art, Interview, Magazine, wendy.network

Art, Interview, Magazine, Virtual Residency, wendy.network