1 October 2013 - 31 October 2015
Milena Kosec was born in January 1947 in Ljubljana (Slovenia, EU), where she has lived and worked her entire life. In 1974 she graduated in technical mathematics at Ljubljana University. In 1971 she started her first job at the JoÅ¾ef Stefan Institute. She planned and led the elaboration of new applications for different fields in different companies, usually by means of the most current computer technology. By the end of year 2002 she was retired. In the years between1975 to 1983 she primarily devoted herself to her family.
Her artistic work began spontaneously with her first work “DrÅ¾avica PtiÄjestrašilna” (The Pocket-size State of Scarecrows) in 1992. After that, she performed several public actions which commented on events in Slovenia intertwined with her own intimate stories. In 2007 she decided that she would no longer produce anything material-based nor document her work. In 2008 she was invited to the European Contemporary Art Biennial MANIFESTA7, with one of her immaterial projects Random Private Conversations.
After her last art action in 2012, Milena read a lot about the situation in her country and the world in general. Bewildered by the vast and contradictory information available and the number of the contemporary artists with similar practice, she became unsure if her critical approach to art was still relevant. This has made her stop her art practice and return to the question: “what are the basic needs for life?” Having “water and food” as her answer to this question, she decided to improve her knowledge on them through manual work and organic gardening. Her first attempt at gardening this past year made her realize that she needed more education about various aspects of organic gardening.
During her 2nd year at RFAOH, she will continue to educate herself on this front while she may report some other related on-hiatus activities throughout the year. She feels that this on-hiatus activity may be helpful for her art practice in the future.
To be an honorary resident was even more liberating than to be a normal resident. I enjoyed in gardening without thinking what would be important to write for residence page. I am grateful to Shinobu and Matt for opportunity in which I was connected with other residents one year more. To be without any obligation was wonderful feeling.
The last year of the residency I improved my knowledge about gardening through every day practice. It was important that I have enough time for working in garden and cooking fresh vegetable every day. As I had enough different vegetables I ate much healthier. The final consequence of all together is strong improvement of my health (much less problems with chronic diseases).
In two years of residency I completely broke with routine of making art. As I had enough time for looking around and thinking I saw or better I felt how quick society is changing. Contemporary art can't adequately follow this changes caused by technology on one hand and hegemonic states on another hand. We as society are not aware at all what is going on. In front of us I see total unknown world which is completely indescribable, which I hardly can even think about. How than can I make comments on it?
My plan for future is gardening and different other activities. As artist I will probably stay on hiatus.
November Garden Report: In the beginning of the month sunrise is at 6.42 am and sundown at 16.48 pm. At the end of the month a day is about 9.30 hours long. Also this month was warmer than usually. Weather was good with little rain and fog in the mornings with temperature about 5C. The first temperature under zero was not until November, 26th – on colourful sunny day.
I have had enough time to prepare soil for spring. First I have cut down shrubs to get more space (heavy work). As my soil is not very rich I have bought well-rotted farmyard manure. I have dug soil and spread manure over 1/3 of soil for which I suppose to be for vegetable garden next year. The final border and shape of the beds will be defined in early spring time. Two parts of three I have left without manure. After that I have covered soil with foliages and branches as protection from frost. In next spring I will use compost on the second part of soil and the third part will stay without any manure. Vegetable which is still in the garden I have covered with winter veil and old curtain and partly also with foliages. In a small cold bed I have parsley.
In next months the decorative part of the garden is waiting for me: protection against snow, winter cutting and trimming.
In the last years I try more and more to follow a natural approach, also to have less work and expenses. I try to follow these principles:
– not to buy chemical and plastic products for a garden, to use only that which is already at home,
– to do all work by myself,
– to collect my own seeds and to exchange them as much as possible,
– vegetable from my garden has to be cheaper than from the market.