Helsinki, Finland September 19th-23rd 2002
Res Artis has chosen for continuity and experiment. That was the overall feeling among its members who attended the 8th General Meeting, which took place from September 19th to 23rd in Helsinki, Finland. The 110 attendants expressed a firm willingness to stay open to change and experiment. This attitude was significant in many respects, not only during the programme of lectures, discussions and workshops, but also during the business meeting of Res Artis’ members at the end of the conference.
Res Artis Award
At the opening of the meeting the Finnish minister of culture Kaarina Dromberg had the honour to present the first Res Artis Award to Barbara Reinhart, director and founder of the first European residency for women artists ‘Künstlerinnenhof Die Höge’, in Germany. The Award consists of the left and right heel of the shoes of the Award winner, each moulded in aluminium. One heel is given to the winner, the other stays at the secretariat of Res Artis to be part of a growing collection of heel-objects of future winners of the award. The concept of the Award is of the Iraqi artist Mohammed Abdulla. Being significantly moved by receiving the award Barbara Reinhart received a warm applause of the audience. A documentary of ‘Künstlerinnenhof Die Höge’ presented an informative and touching picture of the activities of ‘Die Höge’.
Lectures and presentations of the conference programme
During the first two days at the Cable Factory an extensive programme of lectures and presentations of papers took nearly the utmost of concentration from the attendants of the meeting. Keynote speakers addressed from different levels of abstraction the issues of globalization, international mobility and transnational cultural production.
Professor of Government and International Studies Raimo Väyrynen held an introductory lecture on several ways the concept of globalization is being approached by experts on cultural theory. Sociologist Bülent Diken made an impressive interpretation of the film ‘Fight Club’ to give an insight in theories on globalization. Down to earth was the lecture of N’Goné Fall, curator of the recent Biennial of Dakar, in which she came forward with challenging ideas concerning the presentation of African art within a global art community.
Focussing more on practical concerns four presentations took place in the course of the conference. Chris Fremantle of the Scottish Sculpture Workshop talked about his concept of visual knowledge, Gilbert Bastien presented the results of a research on artist-residencies at Québec artist-run centres. Director of the Dutch Rijksacademie Janwillem Schrofer introduced his programme, and the Iranian artist Ahmad Nadalian presented his thoughts about ‘How Cultures Blossom’.
Each day a cultural programme was offered to diverse from the abstract thougths of lectures and presentations. The cultural programme included studio visits at the Cable Factory, a visit of Vallila Studio Centre, where the Finnish Artists Studio Foundation resides, a dance presentation of the Zodiac Centre for New Dance and a visit to Kiasma Museum.
Nifca visit and workshops
The third conference day took place at the Isle of Suomenlinna, at the premises of the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art. Three workshops focussed on different topics concerning the world of artist in residence. At the workshop ‘Globalization and mobility’ Bülent Diken and artist Khaled Ramadan lead a debate about the ways artist in residence centres could be more aware on processes of selection. How to make policies of residence centres more inclusive to artists from non-western cultures was a hot issue.
At the workshop ‘The Art of Being Fake’ artist Juha Huuskonen and other artists focussed on processes of branding in the world of the arts and residencies. And the workshop ‘Artists and Mobility issues’ approached this subject from three different angles: Hüsein Alptekin, Pia Lindman and Agnieszka Wolodzko proposed their ways of dealing with art and mobility.
Workshop of new members
At the end of the third day at Nifca a workshop was held specifically meant to deal with starting a residency. There was a hot debate among representatives of new as well as established centres about different approaches to funding, organizing and programming within a cultural context that differs very much from what is common in western societies.
Main speakers were David Chirwa (Rockston Studio 1985, Woodlands Lusaka, Zambia), Carla Guarliardi (Capacete initiative in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil) and Guillermo Santamarina (Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City). The workshop raised important questions about the integration within the network of Res Artis of new artist in residence programmes from so many different regions and cultures.
Res Artis Business Meeting
Experimental model of presidency
The stepping down of president Laurens Schumacher enhanced fruitful discussions about Res Artis’ future presidency. A proposal of the Executive Committee for a new model of leadership of the organisation was approved. In this model two ‘co-presidents’, according to the Res Artis bye laws titled as president and vice-president, will take up leadership: Clayton Campbell (director 18th Street Arts Complex, Santa Monica) as president and Rudolf Brünger (director International Cultural Center UFA-Fabrik, Berlin) as vice-president.
Before the 1st of January 2003 these ‘co-presidents’ will propose a new job description, to be defined in consultation with the past president. In this description they will formulate their ideas in relation to Res Artis future policy, including targets concerning for example the juridical status, funding, membership and communication strategies. As for the coming General Meeting of 2004 they will come forward with a plan concerning the relation of the presidency-model to Res Artis future structure. One of the ‘co-presidents’ will be the contactperson for the organisers of the General Meeting 2004.
Profile Executive Committee 2002-2004
Because of the new presidency model and for the sake of Res Artis’ continuity, the currrent Executive Committee requested the ‘co-presidents’ to develop a proposal for new candidates, based on requirements needed to realize the Res Artis priorities. New candidates will be invited to the next EC meeting as guests and will be nominated for election at the next General Meeting in 2004.
Current Full Members:
Rudolph Brünger (Germany), Clayton Campbell (USA). Miro Zahra (Germany), Suzanne Fetscher (USA), Hanneke Frühauf (Switzerland), Irmeli Kokko (Finland), Magdalena Malm (Sweden), Mitch Loch (Brasil), Alexandra Keim (France) and Nick Tsoutas (Australia).
Current Advisory Members:
Souhire Berriche (France), Maria Tuerlings (Netherlands), O.P. Jain (India).
Current In Statu Nascendi Members:
Johan Pousette (Sweden), Marika Blossfeldt (Estonia).
Current Affiliate Member:
Gordon Knox (USA/Italy)
The Executive Committee regards an increase in membership fees reasonable. However a majority of the EC felt the proposed figures as too high. The new proposal is to raise membership fees to $ 275 (was $ 220) for full membership, $ 120 (was $ 100) for In Statu Nascendi, and $ 60 (was $ 50) for individuals. This proposal has been accepted.
Res Artis Office
The secretary, membership database and bookkeeping, as well as the financial administration will be integrated into one office, which will be hosted in the premises of Trans Artists in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The website of Res Artis and printed material will be co-ordinated from Schloss Plüschow in Germany.
The official establishment of the Res Artis seat will be officially and legally arranged before January 1st, 2003.
General Meeting 2004
The candidacy for hosting the 2004 General Meeting by the Australian consortium of Artspace Visual Arts Centre, the Bundanon Trust and 200 Gertrude Street was accepted unanimously. Nicholas Tsoutas (Artspace) presented his vision on how this meeting will foster the network of Res Artis by connecting residential art centres from the USA and Europe with those in Australia. Next to this the organisation of the meeting in Australia will stimulate networks of residential arts centres within South-East Asia.
The Business Meeting ended with a good-bye of former president Laurens Schumacher, photographed literally stepping down the stage. ‘Co-presidents’ Clayton Campbell and Rudolf Brünger spoke words of confidence in their mutual leadership and in their corporation with the officers, with the Executive Committee and with all members of Res Artis.