Residency #1

Next level arts residency: Video & Installation Art with Laure Prouvost at CAMPfr.

9-15 October 2018, Aulus-les-Bains, France.

Background:

  • Course due to be led by Laure Prouvost. Her sudden cancellation of all commitments for the rest of 2018 / early 2019 (for Venice Bienalle reasons) I opted for a self-led residency and the option to join her at CAMPfr in October 2019 with no extra charge.
  • I met Julie Stoneman at Toulouse-Matabiau train station at the rendezvous point emailed to us by James. We were collected around 5.30pm and driven to Aulus-les-Bains (about 2 hours south of Toulouse).

Key Contacts:

Sarah Faraday and James Birchall, directors of Fuse Art Space, Bradford and CAMP, France. Sarah was in Morocco on a R&D visit to look for a future location when CAMPfr is closed due to the snowy weather conditions during winter. James was our host for the week, and introduced hikes and orientation around the area as well as technical support in the studios.

Julie Stoneman, artist from Tasmania, Australia. Julie works in various mediums including ceramics, drawing, painting and installation exploring personal and environmental issues. Her visual arts practice is also informed by her experience working as a Landscape Architect. Julie had brought with her elements of a video piece drawing on the notions of Achilles.   

Diary:

[distracted by hunger / the lizards lick their lips]

Deciding on the idea to write fast and without looking at my keyboard… after pinpointing the style of spontaneous thought and freewriting as the very beginning of my development into the arts, I sit here at the foot of a mountain range in the Pyrenees, drenched in bright sunlight, the bells of the animals ringing through the village. This is surely inspiration for the future. /// 9.10.2018

I appreciate that there is punctuation within my text, and although the impregnation of the beat movement and subsequently the spontaneous prose derivative of which courses through my veins, I cannot bear to omit full stops and commas. I need the space to breathe.  /// 10.10.2018

I look up as I hit enter, and I see the chimney first, and then the mountains reaching up to the clouds beyond. I am in a dream state. The birds, the moths, the cows, sheep and horses, they sound content. The vultures circling the mountaintops seem blissful in their sweeps and lifts. Achingly blue sky, mottled with the white breath of the gods  holds us in its gaze (wherever we choose to wander here). /// 11.10.2018

Textured narrative

Texture permeates all we see; in the current landscape and back home. For this, a sign of creation and of time is the justification of the imperfection of all living things.  Textured narrative begins to unpeel the central aspects of the authenticity of spontaneous flow. A river winding through the landscape, over rocks and swirling around grasses is a textured narrative, as we watch its haste to reach the place for which it seeks. A textured narrative is a visual impression which is pressed like a fern in the pages of a handwritten book. Let me dream of the personal intensity of that which I seek. All things: narratives, sounds & mediums. /// 12.10.2018

And then you talk to me of artistic homogeny? Of creating across different media – writing, film, video, pen & ink sketching, talking and dreaming. All spun from the same desire to work with the ‘experimental; challenging the preconceptions of the audience and expanding beyond traditionally ascribed cultural boundaries’.  As Kerouac saw his work as functioning in a manner analogous to painting or jazz, I see my work as functioning in a manner to the sound of a scratchy ink pen-nib as a diarist frantically sketches a fleeting moment. /// 13.10.2018

To weave a textured narrative is to be at one with your mind, your surroundings and your medium of expression. Create a cognitive map of the mountain peaks, write a sentence, and look up. /// 14.10.2018

Aims:

Title of proposed study: Time, Place, Platform: An inquiry into the curation of time-based media arts; comprising of collaborative activities in video & installation art with Laure Prouvost.

I am a Masters student in my first year of a part time two year program in Curatorial Practice at Bath School of Art and Design, Bath Spa University.

My specialism is in time-based media, video, film, and installation art.  My overarching research is titled ‘Time, Place, Platform: An inquiry into the curation of time-based media arts’, comprising of installations, interruptions and curatorial research papers. The research aims to develop my own understanding of the approaches to curating sound, video, and other moving image practices in order to develop strategies for pushing the boundaries of curatorial practice in this area.  The opportunity to work closely with Laure Prouvost is highly significant to the R&D to my long-study research, and the work produced at CAMPfr will form practical experience in developing projects for my final group module, Reaching Audiences.

I have been offered a grant to participate in a residency in France with CAMP, in Aulus les Bains. The week long residency will be led by video installation artist and 2013 Turner prize winner, Laure Prouvost, and will examine the key ideas, moments and questions of conceptual installation art, allowing for individual working sessions with prouvost and unlimited use of their Pro Tools recording studios, digital editing suites and other facilities*, which I do not have access to otherwise, in developing my practice and research.  It is also an opportunity to work with artists from France and other neighbouring European countries, to share, and collaborate.

*fixed facilities (A/V classroom, multichannel listening environment, arts library, digital editing suites, recording studio) we have a modular bank of audio, video, high tech and fine art equipment which can be set up in any of CAMP’s many workspaces. Participants enjoy selecting a workspace, choosing equipment, and building a unique, tailored project space for their work with the help of our technical staff.

Through this residency I will produce a piece of work which will enable me to contribute experience to the final group module Reaching Audiences in year 2 of my study.  The residency provides the platform and collaborative partnerships which will enhance the learning outcomes of the module, by addressing collaboration and engagement as integral components of contemporary curatorial practice.  In the period after the residency, an exhibition or performance is held in the CAMP project space, and then the participants have the oportunity for work to be transferred to the UK to be showcased at Fuse Art Space., Bradford.

Reflections /// outcomes:

With the understanding that I was now embarking on part one of my residency to CAMPfr, I could begin to map out how the two would work together to give me a richer, more quantifiable experience. Without knowing who I would be sharing this first residency with, or how it would be day-to-day, I had to step into the blue.

I had sourced and packed up my small pieces of kit, art materials, and some warm clothes, and had made it to Toulouse-Matabiau with plenty of time to spare. Time enough to meet with Julie Stoneman, another of the artists in residence I would be spending my week with, and then James arrived to collect us, explaining that we were the only ones who had accepted the self-led residency option from the 16 who were booked to do the residency with Laure.

The first couple of days were spent hiking in the mountains, photographing the geometric shapes in the rocks, and talking between us on what we wanted to achieve in the time we were here. Julie and I formed a quick bond, and established the outline of a collaborative project, through which we could both use our skills, and also develop new ways of working that was outside of our comfort zones.

Julie had wanted for a while to draw a waterfall, one which would flow through her and from her, and for the experience of drawing out in nature, from life be captured. From this we planned our route to a waterfall considered one of the most beautiful of the Pyrenees, Cascade d’Ars, about an hour hike from Aulus-les-Bains and sketched out a rough idea of the outcome. A film piece with sound, which showed the experiential as well as the real-life moment, and the conditions of being high up in the mountains.

From this initial collaboration, we spent hours sharing a digital editing suite, as I worked and reworked the film, and Julie began to edit a piece she had brought with her from her home in Australia. Her video work examined the myth of Achilles in the context of the Tasmanian wilderness, and was due to be shown in an exhibition in February 2019. We were both learning the tricks of iMovie from the beginning and collaborated through sharing ideas and digital skills throughout the week on both projects.

The sounds for the film were recorded both at the site of the waterfall and also from the rooftop of the studio, in the courtyard as Julie scratched pencils to paper, and whilst walking through the village past fields of cows. These were all edited and overlaid in a painstakingly slow fashion, but allowing me to master the skills needed to finish the film within the week.

We hosted a preview in the cinema screening room of the residency, something which is something of a tradition at CAMPfr, with the locals now expecting it every week from the new groups coming and going. Although we had only a private showing this time, in October 2019, I can imagine quite the crowd will appear from all over the village to see the video and installation works created by Laure and her students.

Throughout my Masters, I have worked to develop into a curator specialising not only in video work and moving image, but also in the solo show and monographic studies of artists working in this area. 

The research and development for my Masters Project 2019/20 will include a week with Laure Prouvost, developing a performance piece and video work highlighting the complexities of spoken language, communication and miscommunication.  This work will feed into my Masters thesis, which looks at these issues within the larger context of the curatorial practice of video, performance and sound art exhibitions.

The residency in October 2019 will feed into my masters thesis as primary research, both in terms of first hand interviews with one of the most exciting French multi-media artists working today, but also as an opportunity to study the medium from a turner prize-winning, Venice Biennale exhibiting artist whose practice spans performance, sound and installation in a way which confuses, challenges and excites audiences all over the world.

Acknowledgements:

This residency , and certainly the next one in October 2019 would not have been possible without the support of Bath Spa University Enterprise Showcase Fund, my tutor Mike Tooby, CAMPfr Director James Birchall, and artist Julie Stoneman. Julie’s work can be found here