Joya Residency

I have recently come back from Cortijada de Los Gazquez, having spent seven days on the Joya Residency along with 11 of my coursemates. The residency was curated by Anna Baker and Lois Farningham, who graduated from MA Fine Art Camberwell in 2011.

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The week was to centre around three key words: Collaboration, Participation and Activation. The idea was for all twelve of us to explore these ideas in any way we found interesting, or useful. There was a daily group activity which everyone took part in, and then we were all left to our own devices for the rest of the day. To begin with I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to do – there seemed to be a lot of pressure to produce a coherent piece of work to then present to the group at the end of the week, and I think a few of us struggled with this idea slightly.

Initially I found myself drawn out into the surrounding landscape, which is completely isolated, and shows traces of agricultural activity, but otherwise remains relatively untouched. There were lots of conversations about the ethics of making art that existed out in the landscape, and whether one could be justified in producing an artwork, and leaving it somewhere in the land. This got me thinkking about human interventions in the landscape, and the possible differences between collaboration and intervention. I began photographing things around the peripheral land of the house, usually with some fairly obvious human trace, and tried to find some kind of rationale that would knit various images and interventions together.

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I then started to video some of these interventions in the landscape, and noticed suddenly how the landscape always seemed to be moving in the wind to some degree, and I went off around the grounds of the house looking for interesting things to film.

With collaboration in mind, I found a few ants nests, and began filming ant activity, and even started planting food around their nest to try and encourage some action. The result was a kind of collaboration with the surrounding environment that formed a kind of narrative.

Having watched it back a few times, I do quite enjoy this film – although it is a bit clunky in parts, I feel like for a first attempt at film production since my AS level Media Studies project it is not too bad. As an artwork rooted in themes of collaboration, participation and activation i feel it was the best way for me to sum up the whole experience of the Joya Residency.

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