EU presentation tour 2016 report
How lucky we were to be invited to present RFAOH at two amazing venues in two amazing cities! The first was on June 17 at Galerija Alkatraz in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The highlight was that we got to meet our former and honorary resident Milena Kosec and visit her organic garden we had only seen online!! She even prepared dinner for us with her own veggies, among all other nice things she did for us.
Milena joined our talk to share her experience at RFAOH in her own language, which we could only imagine to be fantastic as the audience was laughing and looked very amused. (; The additional discussions we had with her in person beyond her online reports were also truly thought-provoking and touching. We also gave interviews and visited interesting art collectives and individuals. It was an honor to present RFAOH at Galerija Alkatraz, a prominent part of Ljubljana’s legendary Metelkova with a rich social “DIY” history, in a country with a quite different art system from our own. It surely added layers to our limited G8 vision of and the issues with the “artworld”. Having our residents to talk about their experiences in person to the public has been one of our goals from the beggining; this was our second opportunity after Karen Zalamea who joined our talk in Vancouver last year. We surely hope more will follow.
On the following Friday, we visited Studio Das Weisse Haus in Vienna, Austria — a rare opportunity to present our residency within a real residency! It was their “Open Studios” night where DWH residents invited visitors into their studios and talked about their projects. Starting with an “interactive” dinner by one of the residents Evy Jokhova Metcalfe, the evening progressed in a laid-back manner and atmosphere — we wondered if anyone would stay for or come to our talk later that evening. (:
We were very happy that many DWH residents as well as visitors (even our b&b hosts!) came to our talk, and we had enthusiastic responses and exchanges. We were impressed to learn how this semi-nomadic but well organized residency operates, and curious about its main facilitator Katja’s thesis on “open calls” — wish we could read German! Now one of our RFAOH mugs sits on the kitchen shelf of Das Weiss Haus, to be used by many international residents in the future — how exciting! We would like to thank those who have purchased our various RFAOH multiples at both venues — please send us your photo with them! Our multiple’s inventory is getting low — do not miss getting yours and be hip with us (:
When we went to the Venice Biennale in 2013 for the official launch of RFAOH entirely on our own and handed out flyers to the art-enthusiasts on site, they were of course all strangers. Over these past years however, this DIY project has quietly, slowly, and modestly reached out, that on this visit, we felt a sense of “virtual community” built around its concept, brought together through diverse interpretations of what RFAOH represents to each interested individual. The applications for the 2016/2017 term are now in for review and we hope that our third year will continue to bring enthusiasm and invigorating exchanges.
We thank for the interest and support of both venues and their communities, particularly the respective director/facilitator, Jadranka Plut and Katja Stecher. Visiting these independent “institutions” and their communities to witness how they manage to thrive within their larger cultural sphere is a true ispiration for RFAOH. We also thank our Quebec Council for the Arts for partly helping to make this trip possible. Please leave a comment if you were one of the participants we didn’t get to talk to in person (or anyone of you, of course!)