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Łukasz Grajewski

[Scholarships] Artists in Residence Program, Donetsk (Deadline: 8 June)

From 12 July through 25 August, 2012, IZOLYATSIA will hold its third annual artists-in-residence program. We are now accepting proposals from artists wanting to explore the notion of moving image via the prism of a determined research theme. Artists working in all media (including performance and text) are welcome to apply. Although moving image is the starting point, final projects do not need to conform to moving-image as a form of video-art. The residency is both process- and outcome- oriented. Six artists-in-residence will work closely with the curators – Agnieszka Pindera and Victoria Ivanova – on their individual and/or collective projects and the residency will culminate in an exhibition on the IZOLYATSIA territory (in 2013).

artists-in-residence program

AIR KEYWORDS:

MOVING IMAGE – just like an assortment of optical instruments in a scientific lab – it allows one to access spaces of most varied dimensions: from smallest to largest scale.

TURBOREALISM – a movement in Russian literature which emerged in the 1990s and stood in opposition to mainstream science-fiction in an attempt to escape the forces of propaganda on the mental space of imagination. It is characterized by psychological subjectivism and a particular ontological approach to reality and truth, with the former perceived as a collective fiction and the latter as that fiction’s verification technology. Despite its short-lived run and prolific criticisms for its inaccessibility, today it may serve as a symbol of a striving for transformation and a metaphor for a much needed effort to redefine through action.

DONETSK – a city with a population of about a million located in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, originally a coal mining area. Since the first industrial settlement was founded by a Welsh businessman in 1869 around a new-built steel plant, the cityscape underwent a series of rapid transformations, which may be traced through the grid plan development of the industrial base and the multiple layers of architectural power statements. Rich in socialist housing from all epochs of Soviet rule, falling apart Le Corbusier style buildings, sci-fi inspired orbicular structures that sit side by side with the iconic symbol of the urban landscape – hill-like slag-heaps (locally known as terrikons), today Donetsk is witnessing the appearance of new-age towers cropping up everywhere like mushrooms, thereby reflecting the demagogy of the neo-liberal mind-set.

IZOLYATSIA – a non-governmental arts foundation located on the territory of a former insulation materials plant in Donetsk. The name, inherited from the factory, reflects the institution’s mission: to preserve the industrial heritage of the region and simultaneously to construct something new, which would inspire social and cultural development. IZOLYATSIA is situated in the industrial outskirts of the city, surrounded by numerous factories, some of which are still active.

RESEARCH THEME: BREAKING GROUND

One can read Wnie Ziemli (Beyond the Earth) by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky as a story of an artist-in-residence program: six foreigners, of French, British, German, American, Italian, and Russian origins are living in a castle in the highest chains of the Himalayas and devoting themselves to research and pedagogical pursuits. However, the novel written in 1917 by one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics in Russia is a description of a possible future when the international community successfully undertakes space travel. During their very first spaceflight, the ‘residents’ conduct a series of scientific experiments, which consequently lead to a self-sufficient mode of living.

Science-fiction, similarly to fairy-tale and fantasy novel, expresses a tension between what a man can do and his unattainable desires. According to Roger Caillois’s studies on literature and visual arts, these genres emerge sequentially propelled by a time-specific logic. While fantasy was based on an anxious fascination with the ungraspable, science fiction is closer to allegory and can serve as a social satire.

At the time Caillois published his research, sci-fi was already receiving serious academic attention primarily as a literary discipline, which in the 1980s became part of cultural and film studies amongst other fields. Ten years later, a new self-directed movement – turborealism – emerged in Russian literary circles. Originally linked to the heritage of the Strugatskys’ ‘fantastical realism,’ turborealism stood for an ambitious intellectual project aimed at creating philosophical science-fiction, which could meaningfully attend to issues of psycho-social, political and metaphysical significance. Turborealism may be seen as an emancipation driven attempt to develop a new form of speech, which in effect is a kind of dialect or a regional speech in the wider circuits of fairy-tale, fantasy and science-fiction languages. Some of the conceptual underpinnings fomented by the turborealist writers continue to resonate: the idea of ‘epi-catastrophe,’ denoting a never-ceasing state of cosmological calamity within which humankind finds itself, obviates the need for utopian idealism and simultaneously encourages a down-to-earth humanism.

Today, in the era of boundary-shifting redefinitions, as for example in relation to natural resources with asteroid mining approximating real-time implementation, introduction of new forms of speech to discuss the future seems to be an urgent matter. Moreover, with the impending commercialization of space travels and cosmic resources, we are witnessing the opposite approach to the conquest of new spaces to the utopian vision of Tsiolkovsky, which was based on equality and fraternity – themselves fading and almost archival ideals to be left behind on the surfaces of planet Earth.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

HOST OFFERS

● Travel

● Communal accommodation (B&B, each resident has his/her own room and shower/toilet facilities) within easy reach to IZOLYATSIA

● Stipend for living and production expenses

● Simple studio space (more information on request)

● Support by local volunteer-assistants

● Exhibition as the concluding stage of the program

HOST EXPECTS

● Dedicated participation in the research project

● Collaboration with curators

● Collaboration with other artists-in-residence (optional)

● Resident-led educational event for the local community (format and content are up to each artist)

● Production of final piece at the end of the residency-period

TO APPLY

Send the following to residency@izolyatsia.org

● Letter of intent, with a brief project proposal

● Current CV and exhibition history (1 page approximately)

● Artist Statement (500 words)

● Documentation of relevant work (up to 5 projects)

DEADLINE 8 June 2012

The finalists of the open-call will be invited for an interview via Skype on 10 June 2012.

Successful applicants will be informed on 11 June 2012.

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Łukasz Grajewski

Socjolog, absolwent Studium Europy Wschodniej UW. Pracował w administracji publicznej, aktywny w trzecim sektorze (Fundacja Wspólna Europa, Polska Fundacja im. Roberta Schumana, Inicjatywa Wolna Białoruś). Autor licznych publikacji o Europie Wschodniej w polskich mediach.

Contact: l.grajewski@eastbook.eu

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