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4Culture received eight applications, four applications from the network partners, one from Portugal,
and three from Romania for this residency. From these applications, 4Culture selected the following
ones: Matthias Sperling (UK), Florin Flueras (RO), Paul Dunca (RO) and Hajime Fujita (PT).

All the four artists received a three weeks residency (July 6-26, 2009), in Mogosoaia (RO), organized by 4Culture. During the residency they shared the working spaces from Mogosoaia Palace, receiving/offering feedbacks to each other.


Also, in 2009, artists Anna MacRae, Mette Ingvartsen & Jefta Van Dinther (represented by Great Investment Forening), Ivanna Muller (represented by Stichting IM Company) and Eleonore Didier (represented by Depose Incorp) where invited to present their work within a residency period in Bucharest.


During the first week of the residencies, on July 8, 2009, 4culture organised a press conference in collaboration with the EU Cultural Contact Point office in Romania, and introduced all the participating artists and the activities of Jardin d’Europe. For the press conference, 4Culture prepared dossiers with materials
and information regarding Jardin d’Europe and the activities they had schedule for 2009.

The selected non-Romanian dancers found themselves in a productive working environment and could therefore work intensively on their dance pieces.

The introduction to the local Romanian dance scene proved to be an important input, both to their personal and artistic ways of thinking and working. The works in progress were presented on July 25th, 2009.

*****
feedback interview Matthias Sperling

I benefited from the opportunity to have a Jardin D´Europe Wild Card Residency in Mogosoaia, Romania, hosted by Artlink from July 6-26 2009. The residency offered me concentrated research time to pursue a new direction in my practice, supported by the freedom from pressure to focus on producing work. The 3-week duration of the residency was important in allowing me time to settle in and deepen my research. The location of the residency in Mogosoaia was also an important contributor to my positive experience, partly because the setting within an 18th century palace was extraordinary, but primarily because of the excellent working environment created by the largely Bucharest-based group of other artists who attended. At my request, the host organisation facilitated a dialogue between myself and a scientist, which proved to be a particularly rich source of development. My research during the residency has strongly supported the varied work I have done since, serving as a resource to draw on artistically in a surprisingly wide range of ways.

1. Make a short description of the residency process from the artistic point of view (working plan, artistic objects, final results etc.)

Over the course of the residency, I developed a daily practice aiming to investigate consciousness and the brain.  I began with a simple meditation, just observing my own consciousness. After a gentle physical warm up, I videoed a 15 - 20 min improvisation each day.  I can describe my task in the improvisation practice as ‘aiming to allow my present consciousness to unfold through all my moving cells’ or ‘doing nothing but physical thinking out loud’.  I then watched the video, wrote a response about what I saw and read more of the brain-related books that I brought with me.

I decided that it would be interesting to extend my reading into a more embodied dialogue with a scientist, and was very glad that Artlink were able to arrange for me to meet Ioana Lazar, a Bucharest-based psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. By happy co-incidence, she recently translated into Romanian one of the Antonio Damasio books that I was reading and she is active in an association of psychiatrists seeking links with artists.  We met first in Bucharest, then in Mogosoaia, and finally again at the presentation.  Her generous involvement in my research was an unexpected highlight of the residency for me.  As I had hoped, she brought a very interesting other perspective to my work and ideas.  I hadn’t expected, however, to encounter a scientist-collaborator who was so supportive and nurturing that she actively contributed to the development of my practice.  I had intended to show only video of my studio practice at the presentation, but through the encouragement and feedback of both Ioana and the other artists at the residency, I decided to also attempt a live performance of this fledgling practice and certainly got more out of the residency for doing so.  I am very pleased that Ioana and I are both interested in keeping in touch and continuing our dialogue further.

 
2. How would you describe the residency from logistic and organizational point of view?

In general, very good.  From my perspective, the things that could be improved in future years are: - more detailed information in the call for applications, such as exact dates and fees.

- more detailed information about the residency structure before arrival, such as what to expect in terms of accommodation arrangements and working spaces.

- the staff at the palace were overall very helpful and looked after us well, but there was sometimes a sense that, compared to the many other events happening at the palace, the Jardin D’Europe residencies simply weren’t such a high priority or weren’t something that they could understand the value of.  If the residencies occur at the palace again, perhaps something more could be done to address this, even something like involving the palace staff more directly in the residency, for example by inviting an artist who proposes some form of collaboration with them, if they are willing.

- higher quality of food or more freedom to self-cater.

- more investment in the suitability and upkeep of the working spaces – fleas were a problem in some spaces, for example.

3. How would you describe the relation with the other artists in the residency? Did you have feedbacks exchange collaboration?

From my perspective, the close-knit scene among dance artists living in Bucharest is something very special and very exciting to be a part of.  This existing dynamic is what I felt I immediately entered into upon arriving in Romania- a very welcoming, sociable group of highly individual artists who I feel have established an excellent network of collaboration and dialogue with one another. We had a great deal of discussion, mostly focused around meal times and evenings.  And when I was ready for it, later in the residency, useful feedback was freely given by all of the other artists.


4. Do you think it was helpful to share the living and working space with the other artists or you would’ve preferred to in the residency?

Although I like to work in relative isolation, in my opinion three weeks would be too long a period for working entirely by myself, particularly in an environment like the Palace.  I enjoyed having personal working and living space for focused concentration, and balancing this with daily interaction with the other artists.  The fact that the Romanian artists already know each other (and each other’s work) so well creates a very down-to-earth atmosphere that was a real pleasure to be a part of and a great support for my working process.

5. How did the residency offered by Jardin d’Europe contribute to the development of your proposed project?

I proposed a research project rather than a creation for the residency, so my time in Mogosoaia made it possible to enter into and focus on this, which was very useful for me.  The most important contributions for me were the dedicated time, space and artistic milieu offered by the residency, as well as the contact with Ioana Lazar.

6. What is your opinion regarding your personal artistic results during the residency in comparison with your original objectives before the 3 week residency?

My original objective was to collect together many different types of documentation of my artistic research and present these in the form of a diary-like performance lecture, involving speech.  What I actually did was develop the beginning stages of an evolving performance practice involving movement and speech-like sound-making, but not actual speech.  I think the reasons for this choice are good ones, related to my developing ideas around a scientifically influenced model for understanding how dance/movement might work as a communicative medium between performer and viewer, and what this medium might particularly offer that others cannot.  I’m satisfied with the direction I took in this research and feel it is the necessary next step for my artistic development.  I don’t, however, feel that this research has yet reached a stage of readiness for performance.  The presentation was useful for reminding me how far removed the situation of performance is from my solitary studio practice, and how much more development is necessary in order to really be able to perform a consciousness-related movement practice such as the one I am imagining.

 
7. Would you consider that the residency contribute to your artistic research and professional development? Please motivate.

The residency undoubtedly contributed to my artistic research and professional development.  I was able to take time to read, think and do more of the kind of thing I feel is currently necessary for my further development, even if this doesn’t immediately generate a performable product.  The practice may appear to be rather indistinct and quotidian, at least for the moment, but I feel that there is something really honest about this direction of research, which I find very grounding and nourishing for my other current projects. I think that the daily practice of physically investigating a territory inevitably starts to generate a subtle but important evolution of a more individual artistic voice, which remains a very important developmental process for me as someone who was primarily a performer of work by other choreographers for many years. The process of dialogue with Ioana Lazar was also very important for me.  It confirmed that I would like to continue this type of interaction, both with Ioana and other scientists, and it was such a positive first experience of this type of collaboration that it gives me confidence and skills to bring to future interactions.  

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