Katarzyna Pagowska (PL), Taavi Suisalu (EE) and Sepa Sama (IR/US/SE)
A.I.R. Blekinge, Artist in Residence Blekinge, Sweden
A residence with a focus on artists from countries around the Baltic Sea
October 7th – November 3rd, 2019
We are very glad to be able to invite the artists:
In her motivation to the residency Katarzyna Pagowska writes that she would like to embrace the unique socio-geographical setting of the Blekinge archipelago and the traditions and identities of the islands. Katarzyna Pagowska would like to collaborate with local institutions and various communities in participatory projects during her stay in Blekinge.
“Could the Blekinge archipelago be seen as a litmus paper, a magnifying glass that reﬂects global challenges? What does it mean to be an islander in Blekinge in the face of the global shifts: climate change, coastal erosion, growing income gap, migrations? Constant transition of people: tourists, permanent residents commuting to work on the mainland, the new absent islanders – second-home owners, refugees, and foreign economic migrants.
The search for a utopian isle, a northern paradise untouched by global problems, an uncharted oasis, safe from disquiet times is deeply rooted in our culture and now has been gaining new connotations.
Various researchers believe that in order to decipher an archipelago we need to examine the relations within. No island is an isolated isle, they exist in relation to each other, in relation to the surrounding sea, in relation to the mainland. Is “island hopping” offered by the Blekinge tourist companies a metaphor of the archipelago, or are there other ways to navigate the complexity of such relations?
In collaboration with local institutions I would like to design a participatory program for various communities around the theme of the Blekinge archipelago that provides multifarious perspectives on the archipelago’s geographical, cultural, historical, and economic relations, and contributes to forming new valuable social bridges.”
Katarzyna Pagowska is a Warsaw based visual artist; her foremost artistic ﬁelds are performative actions, installation and photography. She often produces or places socially responsive works in public spaces. She has run art workshops with participants from various communities in UK, Poland, Germany and Sweden. Katarzyna has studied Philosophy at the Warsaw University (M.A.), Sculpture at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts (M.A.), and Fine Art at the Falmouth College of Fine Arts, (UK).
Taavi Suisalu emphasizes the vital parts of the research and experiment oriented phase in artistic work during a residency in unknown territory, and it is something that A.I.R. Blekinge embraces during his residency period. “The escape from common routine and no stress of deadlines opens up and allows to follow directions not imagined otherwise.”.
In his motivation Taavi Suisalu writes that he would like to develop a new body of work to see where it can lead, conceptually and formally. “Although the underlying ideas of the work are quite global, and in a way also abstract, they are inspired by conditions affecting audiences in local scale as much as anywhere.”
The environments of Blekinge might find their way into his work, either physically, via representation or by inspiration. During his residency period he will connect to relevant actors in the region, such as Blekinge Institute of Technology, and exhibition plans are also in the pipeline.
Taavi Suisalu initially proposes to present either work-in-process sketches or a performative event, alternatively to lead a workshop during the residency, but can also turn out into a surprise depending on the development of research and meetings.
His conceptual starting point is the first ever photograph of a black hole in April 2019, which emanated from a very complex gathering of data. “But nothing escapes a black hole, not even light and thus what we see on that image, is a shadow of a black hole and not the object itself. Even data can’t escape black holes and thus we become mesmerized by the representation of what is not there.” By juxtaposing technological apparatuses designed to engage or manipulate its users; the attention economy; our fascination for the unknown and black holes – new narratives will appear and might even take form during the residency.
Taavi Suisalu works in the contexts of technology, sound and performance, mixing traditional and contemporary sensibilities and activating peripheral spaces for imaginative encounters. His practice is informed by phenomena of contemporary society and its relations to and use of technologies. He applies subjective research methods to study socio-cultural phenomena, being interested in the behaviour, perception and thinking of social beings.
In 2014, he received the Young Estonian Artist Prize for curating a distributed exhibition throughout non-existent villages of Southern Estonia. In 2017, his work Distant Self-Portrait was awarded 2nd prize in Riga Photography Biennial Awards. In 2018 he was one of the selected artists to participate in the European Media Art Platform.
In recent years he has shown at KUMU in Tallinn; Riga Art Space and Latvian National Museum of Art in Latvia; Le Lieu Unique in France; Impakt in Netherlands; European Central
Bank in Frankfurt; Bozar and European Parliament in Brussels; gallery Triumph in Moscow; gallery Horseandpony Fine Arts and Weisser Elefant in Berlin; Four Domes Pavilion in Poland and many venues and festivals in Estonia.
Sepa Sama (IR/US/SE)
Sepa Sama is an architect, researcher, photographer and explorer. His journey has started in Iran continued to the US and Europe. His transdisciplinary work focuses on architecture, art and urbanism and their relationships. He collaborates with different professionals across the fields to experiment and to formulate new possibilities. Currently, he is working on small cities in the global context in the face of displacement.
Sepa Sama proposes to work with participation, social production, walking, exploring, and documenting Blekinge together with different groups during his residency. He writes in his motivation that he would like to work with especially newcomers and students learning Swedish. How to learn a new language and culture when feeling displaced? How to remember your old country and how to search and find a new home?
In the artistic practice of Sepa Sama, one of his goals is to walk 50 million steps in search of new ideas and directions in Blekinge. The process while at residency would include walking and learning together in groups of inhabitants and newcomers, as well as classroom sessions. The process will be documented in photography and a blog, and at the end of the residency result in a long collage of photos seeing what is here and what is hidden. Each participant will be able to envision their future dreams in the collage and can be used as a document about a small region with lots of valuable perspectives by newcomers to listen to in visions for regional and municipal future planning.
Sepa Sama lives in Karlshamn, Sweden. His education includes a Master of Architecture and Urban Design, Student and Research Assistant of Thom Mayne and Karen Lohrmann at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Post-Professional Degree, Bachelor of Architecture, Student and Teacher Assistant at Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sci-arc), Los Angeles, Professional Degree. Sepa Sama developed the Crossroads Project in Gdansk, Norrtälje and Ronneby and designed the Think Tank Transbaltic Research Wall for the ongoing Baltic project with the same title. He works as a researcher in the intersection of art, design, and architecture and has exhibited in photographic exhibitions and created installations in the US, UK, Sweden, Iran, UAE, China, and Taiwan as well as been part of many publications.
Choice of artists and content of residency
In the choice of artists, the jury especially looked upon artistic ideas, earlier projects, artists’ motivation to the residency and the possibilities for co-operations in the region. Our aim is to establish long-term collaborations between different actors in the region with its starting point during the residency. We want to be a catalyst for new art productions.
In the call we looked upon artists who work in the fields below, but also stated that we are open to surprise and to other topic proposals relevant to the region.
…public spaces, city development and participatory projects – activating places.
…archipelago and cultural heritage.
…the relation city and countryside, the rural and urban.
The chosen artists have cross-connections in terms of common topics and working methods.
The department Digital media, Technology and Aesthetics at Blekinge Institute of Technology is our first AIR-hub. Their fields of interests are digital, physical, analogue and hybrid techniques as well as the public space. Artists specializing in this area will have the opportunity to have a more long-term dialogue with the faculty and a possibility to be a part of the international symposium Digital Urbanism.
The residency offers a stipend/grant, workshop studios and production facilities, travels, accommodation and per diem, meetings with curators in the extended South Swedish geography – and seeds for future long-term collaborations in the region.
The chosen artists will meet cultural actors in the region and present their work in an informal setting in the end of the residency period.
A.I.R Blekinge Jury
Leo Andrea Nordvall, Program director and lecturer at Digital Image Production, Blekinge Institute of Technology
Simon Berg, art coordinator, Karlshamn municipality
Kirsti Emaus, director Kulturcentrum Ronneby konsthall
Torun Ekstrand, art developer, Konst i Blekinge/Region Blekinge
Organizers and funding bodies
Konst i Blekinge, Region Blekinge, Kulturcentrum Ronneby konsthall, Ronneby kommun
Torun Ekstrand, art developer at Konst i Blekinge/Region Blekinge firstname.lastname@example.org