Artists who were residents at the remote Nida Art Colony once or several times have come back from Austria, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Brazil, and have been working in Nida over the recent month. Seven artists and artist groups participate in two months long curated summer residency programme for returning residents, in which the artists will shape prospects for completely new hybrid landscapes.
Nida: not a nature site, but a hybrid green museum
Vytautas Michelkevičius, the artistic director of VAA Nida Art Colony, 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.
According to the curator of the residents programme and this exhibition, one of the aims is to rethink not only geographical and geo-political but also social and even cultural landscapes, which change over time, to see the hybrid nature of these landscapes. The second goal is to encouage artists to create place-based pieces in an effort to avoid stereotypes about Nida and Neringa as a natural idyll or a resort, and instead act upon the worldwide landscape; at the same time, we need to think about the global context like rising waters and sinking islands, geopolitical tensions as well as accelerating technocratic systems which control us and act as mediators. In general, the main objective is to draw attention to the fact that Neringa isn’t a nature site, but is situated in a landscape constructed by social and technological artifacts, where one feels like in a green museum formed by a variety of forces.
Featured artists represent places from Lithuania to Brazil
Since 2011, when the artist-in-residence programme was launched, about 250 artists and other professionals from the cultural field have stayed at Nida Art Colony. 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. In June and July, former residents of Nida Art Colony are coming back from Austria, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Brazil to produce new works and bring their experiences from different residency periods and seasons to the hybrid body of the show.
For example, the German artist Franziska Nast 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. This time she is going to augment the Nida lanscape with giant palm images, which could perhaps make Nida a full-fledged resort. The Lithuanian artist duo Pakui Hardware were residents at Nida Art Colony in the winter of 2015, when they created synthetic bodies and froze them in ice. This time, these bodies will be reborn again in the summer heat and will be frozen in the exhibition space. The Berlin-based Brazilian artist duo DISTRUKTUR (Gustavo Jahn, Melissa Dullius) 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.
The residency will culminate in an exhibition and a symposium on hybrid natures
The results of the curated residency will be presented in an exhibition titled “Hybrid(…)scapes” on 23th July – 28th August in the new exhibition hall at Nida Art Colony. The show will be complemented with the 6th Interformat Symposium, a unique phenomenon in the contemporary art field, which this year will focus on hybridity in its various forms – from architecture to geology. The symposium attracts not only culture and art professionals, but also experts and scholars from other disciplines – philosophers, natural scientists, sociologists, historians, anthropologists and other researchers. The hybrid content and form of the festival will be curated by Vytautas Michelkevičius and the artist duo Pakui Hardware. This year’s symposium will feature guests like the researcher and curator Christophe Leclercq (FR), performance artist Kira O’Reilly (UK / FIN), co-curators of the Baltic Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale Jurga Daubaraitė and Jonas Žukauskas, curator and writer Valentinas Klimašauskas, musician and designer Norman Orro (EE), programmer and artist Victor Timofejev (USA / GB), and