Repost: All About Programmed Residencies

The Toronto Islands—rich with history, flora and fauna, and close-knit residential community—have an inspiring presence that attracts artists of all kinds. You probably know that Artscape Gibraltar Point is a year-round destination for artists engaged in self-directed residencies. But if a solo residency isn’t what you’re looking for, you might find inspiration in one of our Programmed Residencies.

Programmed residencies bring together up to 18 artists to work around a specific theme with the help of a facilitator/curator. Participants explore new modes of thought in a variety of collaborative settings including studio work, formal lectures, group discussions and outdoor retreats. Programmed residencies encourage dialogue and discovery between disparate practices.

Some programmed residencies culminate in a final exhibition or performance. Kicking off our first year of programmed residencies, our friends at Whippersnapper Gallery hosted a one-month residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point for four emerging artists in 2012. The residency gave these artists a special opportunity to live on the island, undertake site-specific research and create new work that was presented at the immensely successful NEW TRADITIONS Art & Music Festival.

Artists-in-residence often find inspiration in the leisure grounds of Centre Island, the ghostly 19th century lighthouse, the unobstructed views across Lake Ontario, and trees that have been standing since Toronto came into being. Teresa Ascencao, media artist, OCAD University instructor and facilitator for the upcoming residency Luminous Bodies (July 10 to 23, 2013) found her inspiration at the clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point Beach while on a self-directed residency.

As she explains, “I began to peel away the layers of culture that hyper-sexualizes, shames, excludes and normalizes the body—a culture that dismisses the whole genuine person in favour of idealized body forms and behaviors.” Ascencao’s repeating residency Luminous Bodies is named after “a metaphor for shedding light onto heterogeneous bodies,” she says. Participants work individually or collaboratively to create artworks that reinvent the body through media of their choice, such as photography, video, installation, drawing, performance art, new media, etc.

Between Intimacy and Architecture: Subtle and Relational Performance in Public Space also made use of the particular location of Artscape Gibraltar Point. Curated by Johannes Zits and facilitated by interdisciplinary artist Victoria Stanton, the workshop explored the ways in which we experience and foster intimacy and connection in ourselves, towards others and in relation to place. Asked what they hope participants would take away from the workshop, Stanton and Zits responded:

“An increased awareness of our particular state of being at any given time, along with an increased awareness of the state of those in our field of action around us. A heightened sensitivity toward how our (performative) actions can affect those around us, and how we can use elements in the environment around us to feed our actions. A greater sense of the possibilities of—and capacity for—activating our peripheral vision. To also create an ease of movement, whereby we start to listen more to our inner intuitive voice in order to inform our actions, and our interactions with others.”