Geographic mobility has become a marker of success in the art world, but at what cost? The post-colonial implications of privileged western travel are far reaching and issues around climate change and sustainability call for a re-evaluation of the idea of the 'artist as traveller'. Those who are unable to travel due to (disability, parenthood or economic disenfranchisement) are excluded from this role of privileged nomad, while the ramifications of this exclusion go relatively un-critiqued.
aTE Virtual aims to address the inequities and barriers around conventional residencies by offering an alternative that does not involve physical travel.
We are interested in asking new questions of the artist residency model, namely: ‘Do you have to be physically present in a place in order to experience it and respond to it as an artist? And 'What kind of relationship with distant places can we develop through an experience mediated by others?'
aTE Virtual is a concept developed by Carly Butler and Gudrun Filipska, offering an alternative to the traditional artist residency model and opening up a space for artists unable or unwilling to travel, to have an immersive relationship with a distant location.
Selected artists will be 'resident' in a location and offered the opportunity to research the area and be introduced to local histories and habitats mirroring the experience they would have as an artist/tourist visiting in person. The artist will be privy to a series of live streamed videos of the location that they will view from their own homes. Through consultation with us they will develop their own explorative itinerary / research schedule which will be facilitated by a team of aTE facilitators and local residents who act as by proxy, eyes, ears on the ground. Artists will create work – which may be material or digital, ephemeral or permanent – in response to their immersive experience.
The concept is being developed as a trial in Ucluelet, Canada and we hope to have Virtual residency hubs around the World in the next few years. Gudrun and Carly have been working collaboratively over the past two years between the UK and Canada, developing a range of work around ideas of artist travel, navigation and technology as proxy. They have never met in person. See The S Project
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