Returning residents will create new works for the exhibition “Hybrid(…)scapes” in June and July

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From left to right: Björn Kühn, Marika Troili, Franziska Nast, Anna Romanenko, Liddy Scheffknecht,
Taavi Suisalu. Photo by Vytautas Michelkevičius.
A curated residency programme “Hybrid(…)scapes” in which invited artists will collaborate with the curator Vytautas Michelkevičius starts at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts. 
Since 2011, when the artist-in-residence programme was launched, about 250 artists and others professionals from the cultural field have stayed at Nida Art Colony. After almost a year of discussions and selection of project proposals, 7 projects by artists and artist groups have been chosen to revisit the Colony, continuing previous site-sensitive ideas or realizing new ones. The residency participants are artists who work in not only international, but also hybrid contexts. This summer they also participate in various contemporary art events, from exhibitions at the MUMOK Museum of Modern Art in Vienna to the European Biennial of Contemporary Art Manifesta 11 in Zurich.

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Residents of Nida Art Colony are coming back to Nida to produce new works and bring their experiences from different residency periods and seasons to the hybrid body of the show. The theme of the show is not only Nida and the artists’ relationship with it, but also the global context like rising waters and sinking islands, geopolitical tensions as well as accelerating technocratic systems which control us. One of the aims of this residency and the exhibition is to rethink site-specific and locally relevant art, to create place-based pieces in an effort to avoid stereotypes about Nida and Neringa, and instead act upon the global landscape. 

 

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The curator Vytautas Michelkevičius says that a hybrid landscape could be seen when you climb on the fresh forest clearing in front of the Colony and see the new panorama – not only the forested dune areas but also 19th and 20th century technologies which made it possible to forest those dunes and form a new terrain. This is when you not only see the horizon of the sea and the sunset, but also start unintentionally thinking about the border and geopolitical tensions between the EU (Lithuania) and Russia (Kaliningrad) if you look on the left. The shores of Sweden, which has already signed an agreement with NATO, are looming in the distance; just a few decades ago they were a dream destination for those who were trying to escape from the USSR with a boat. Then suddenly as you are looking around, electromagnetic wave signals transmit a message into the sensor implanted under your skin, informing you that the level of radiation has suddenly increased, and there is no time to admire the view of the Lukoil D-6 oil platform turning into a blast of fireworks, or to romanticise the landscape of rotating wind turbines.

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The Austrian artist Liddy Scheffknecht was one of the first Nida Art Colony residents in 2011. She works with light, photography, videography and manipulations of reality perception. During her residency at the Colony, the artist explored how intervention into natural light and its changes can create new realities. This time Liddy Scheffknecht is interested in the landscape of local geopolitical situation and the politics of its representation.

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The artist duo of Anna Romanenko & Björn Kühn (DE) are known to the audience of Nida Art Colony for their amazing Liminal Dome project, which was produced during the Techno-Ecologies curated residency in the spring of 2014. The piece was presented to the public during the 4th Inter-format symposium On Flux of Sand and Aquatic Eco-systems, when several dozen people had the opportunity to test their strength and, after swimming a few hundred meters off the coast into the Baltic sea, dive under the black floating dome, which shuts out the environment and affects the participants’ vestibular apparatus. Impressions of the journey to the Liminal Dome and the context of Techno Ecologies were described by the artist Ernest Truely (USA/FIN/EE) and the art critic Jurij Dobriakov.

In this residency, Anna Romanenko & Björn Kühn will construct an interactive sound instrument which might resemble a part of human body. This instrument is going to refer to the environmental context of the Baltic Sea and might be played as if it was the Nordstream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. 

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The German artist Franziska Nast is going to augment the Nida lanscape with the giant palm images , which could perhaps make Nida a full-fledged resort, because such an attribute is essential for almost every such holiday destination. The artist lives and works in the dynamic port of Hamburg, thus her artistic practice is influenced by the intersection of daily life and street culture, activism, graphic design and contemporary art. Franziska Nast is also a professional tattoo artist, so these skills influence her artistic practise as well – she comes back to Nida with a tattoo of a palm tree on her leg. This image represents her residency in 2012, when the artist held an exhibition of posters titled Never say Ever, where she situated her personal stories in the historical and aesthetic Nida environment.

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The Estonian sound and media artist Taavi Suisalu was a Colony resident for several times. Currently he is interested in the differences between the sea noise and the highway bustle. The artist will respond to this background sound and will attempt to create a sound barrier or an instrument which measures the noise level in order to reveal the sonic landscape of Nida. Moreover, Taavi is interested in merging the close and the distant view in a landscape and erasing the horizon. While in residency at Nida Art Colony during the darkest winter season in 2013, Taavi organised DIY Nightseeing walking and cycling tours, in which he tried to erase the visibility zone and shift the experience to other senses.

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The Swedish artist Marika Troili (SE) has been a Colony resident once and has participated in two Inter-format symposiums, in one of which she presented a site-specific artist-directed dinner, and in the other a techno-ecological performative lecture titled “Abracadabra simsalabim grow big! Grow fast! Grow now!”, which was based on her research of fertilizer factories in Lithuania. Marika is interested in institutional structures, politics of technology, and the artist’s work. In this curated residence, the artist will reflect on the hybridity and the infrastructure of the Colony’s new hall by using a curtain as one of the main transformation agents.

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Pakui Hardware is the brand name of a collaboration between the Lithuanian artists Ugnius Gelguda and Neringa Černiauskaitė. The artists were residents at Nida Art Colony in the winter of 2015 and used the icy landscape of the Curonian Spit. The project titled “Get the Freeze Habit” was created for the second issue of the Berlin-based KubaParis magazine (2015). “While researching ideas of new synthetic biology and Prometheanism, Pakui Hardware created synthetic bodies and froze them in ice as if they were meant for future archaeologists. “Get the Freeze Habit” existed only very briefly, until it became a puddle of water with unrecognizable synthetic objects lying in the middle”. This time, these bodies will be reborn again in the summer heat and will be frozen in the exhibition space.

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In the weeks leading up to the exhibition, the Berlin-based Brazilian artist duo DISTRUKTUR (Gustavo Jahn, Melissa Dullius) will join the other artists working at Nida Art Colony. The artist duo will bring their 16 mm film titled “In the Traveler’s Heart”, which they shot in 2013 while in residency at NAC. The movie will reveal the mystical midwinter landscape of Nida that looks like a timeless desert where ice turns into sand and vice versa.

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Juha Pekka Matias Laakkonen (FIN/SE) will arrive in the residence in July. The artist spent four months from winter to spring at Nida Art Colony in 2012. In his final piece “creaking / cracking” (an acoustic whip for trees), Juha revealed an intimate relationship with the forest. In this residence, he will continue his research of tree anthropology and present his perspective on the hybrid landscape.