5 Artistic Residencies to produce in close contact with nature

Against the chaos of the city, rural and forest artistic residencies can provide regenerating experiences

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Lab Verde
Intervención Fusion, by Bianca Lee Vasquez, performed at the Lab Verde Artistic Residency

With city life returning to its frenetic pace, artistic production often needs another time for creation. With that in mind, we selected 5 artist residencies ideal multidisciplinary courses for those who want to work with the body present in nature. These are artistic residencies that are organized independently and in dialogue with the territories in which they are located.

Located in the southeast, northeast and north of Brazil, each artist residency proposal is unique and presents specific features that vary according to the biome in which it is located. And unlike many projects that are aimed only at artists, they also receive curators, cultural producers and art agents, in addition to professionals from other areas, according to the residency proposal. The contact with the forest, mountains, beach and waterfall are some of its main attractions, as well as the human relationships they provide among the residents themselves.

Casero Residência
Agulhas Negras Expedition, Casero Residence
Casero Residência
Osiel Magalhães at Casero Residence

Casero Residence is an initiative that proposes projects and experiences in the field of art, landscape and nature. His artistic residencies take place in the Itatiaia National Park and in the Serra da Mantiqueira region, on the triple border between São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. Often working in partnership with regional artists, the immersions and experiences seek to strengthen the relationship between the local cultural imaginary and all its biodiversity.

Conceived in 2017 by the artist from Rio de Janeiro Patrcia Stagi, Casero Residência's main objective is to mediate the creation processes that take place in direct dialogue with nature. In his words, “The residencies are aimed at integrating the artist, the biologist, the curator, the photographer and others with the local landscape. And for that, we propose some dynamics that encourage contemplation, inspiration and exchange among residents. The whole program is focused on the relationship between the body and nature”.

With two forest artistic residency formats, immersions take place in groups, over the course of a week and according to the calendar of the seasons, or individually, according to the needs of the resident artist's project. Both formats are based on idleness and spontaneous creation, having as their axis three main concepts: contemplate, reflect and create. Entries for individual immersions, named after Break, are always open and take place in a modernist house located within the Itatiaia National Park.

In addition to artistic residencies, Casero Residência also operates in the production of art projects in the region, promoting the tangible and intangible heritage of Serra da Mantiqueira and the towns on the foot of the mountain. For example, Circuito Resende Cultural and Projeto Manta, which aims to link regional artists with creative processes mediated by the local landscape.

Terra Afefé
Terra Afefe
Terra Afefé
Rafa Black during the Apaziá immersion in Terra Afefé

Terra Afefe is an art and bioconstruction project that periodically hosts artistic immersions in Ibicoara, in Chapada Diamantina, Bahia. Conceived in 2018 by Bahian artist Rose Afefé, the proposal stems from the idea of building a microcity inspired by her childhood, which welcomes people passing through and creates relationships between those who come from outside and those who live locally. In the words of Rose Afefé “The intention is to create a more affectionate and loving possibility of existence, beyond what is romantic”.

Starting from affection, Terra Afefé immersions aim to move dissident bodies so that they occupy spaces hitherto reserved for hegemonic bodies, as well as affirming a territory of contemporary art on the margins of metropolises and large economic centers. Priority is also given to the presence of black artists, people with disabilities, lgbtqia+, indigenous people and those with few financial resources.

Based on open calls and invitations, the immersions take place periodically and are mediated by Rose Afefé, often accompanied by different art professionals in its broad and transdisciplinary sense. In all immersions, it is common to have activities with clay, inviting residents to work together on a bioconstruction project, in order to leave a non-polluting contribution to the city.

Terra Afefé currently has three open calls: 1) Paredão is an artistic immersion that will take place at the turn of the year and will be carried out in partnership with the multi-artist Paulilio Paredão, with music and dance as its axis; 2) Reconstruir is a proposal for artistic immersion mediated by Rose Afefé that takes place in January and February 2022 and aims to rescue the constructive doing from artistic practices without judgments between right and wrong; 3) Coexistir is an artistic immersion that will take place in the second half of January 2022 and will be carried out in partnership with researcher Nathalia Grilo, in order to stimulate intuitive and genuine actions in coexistence with nature, community, body and ancestry .

Lab Verde
Work by Renata Padovan, Lab Verde
Lab Verde
Observation Tower, Lab Verde

Green Lab is a language production platform about the environment, which has been presenting since 2013 an artistic residency program in the Amazon Forest, in Manaus. In partnership with the National Institute for Research in the Amazon – INPA, the program offers immersions into the forest for groups of 15 artists (local, national and international) to work in the field on the scientific bases of environmental reserves. Besides the artistic production, the project also promotes the training and qualification of residents in the area of ecology, counting on the interlocution of researchers from INPA, academics from the Federal University of the Amazon and indigenous intellectuals.

The artistic residency is aimed at artists in its broad and transdisciplinary sense, receiving scientists, anthropologists and others. In the words of Lilian Fraiji, curator and creator of the project, “We offer a series of mediations in the areas of natural history, anthropology, biology, physics, art, art-ecology and activism. It is a very different residency, as the artist does not come just to create, he comes to study and have access to the latest cutting-edge research that is being developed here in the Amazon”.

Lab Verde focuses on thinking about what the Amazon is, the ecologies of the world and the issues that pervade the Anthropocene. Always based on interdisciplinary proposals, the artistic residencies have durations and locations that vary according to the current program. It is important to mention that in addition to the immersions, the platform also holds events, publications, exhibitions and festivals. For next year, in addition to the artistic residencies held in the Amazon rainforest with input from INPA, Lab Verde will be immersing itself in Patagonia and partnering with Se Rasgum, an Amazonian music festival.

Residência São João
São João Residence
Residência São João
Somsocosmos, São João Residence

São João Residence is a project focused on experiences in art within an agroecological farm, located in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro. Working with some formats, immersions take place through invitations and open calls, in a group or autonomously. The programs are multidisciplinary and some residencies are thematic, such as Somsocosmos, which is aimed at musicians and artists whose works are permeated by sound.

Conceived by the artist Antonio Sobral in 2012, the São João Residence aims to strengthen ties between agroecology, art, music, the local community and editorial production. In his words, “We also have the Deep Editora, which works with the residence publishing intangible heritage of this territory. They are published from fictional works, which in their report have to do with the local context, to herbaria of medicinal plants, which talk about the knowledge of plants. They are projects that are born during the residencies and that are later published”.

All immersions are guided by a collaborative calendar built by the residents themselves, where what each one wants to learn and teach is shared. According to the calendar, activities are listed in order to be as horizontal as possible. Another characteristic of Residência São João is the presence of therapists or people who work with the body in the groups, in order to bring people together and create a more affectionate environment. It is also worth mentioning that this is a project conceived and carried out by artists, in connection with local policies and citizen participation in the cultural production of the territory. Agroecology, environmental preservation, culture and education are the fundamental pillars of the project, as well as experimentation and the artistic process.

Regarding registration, calls are open for the fourth edition of Somsocosmos, which will take place in April 2022, and for Casa Figueira, the new space at Residência São João, which will receive from February 2022 residents who can stay from one to three months working and living on the farm.

View of the collective studio, Kaaysá

KAYSA is an artistic residency that is allocated in an inactive inn on the beach of Boiçucanga, on the south coast of São Paulo. Located in an Atlantic forest region, the space is a few meters from the beach and the waterfall, a three-hour drive from São Paulo and thirty minutes from a village indigenous of the Guarani people. With capacity for up to 30 residents, immersions take place with an average of 15 artists per immersion.

Conceived in 2017 by writer Lucila Manto and gallerist Lourdina Jean Rabieh, the project has already received more than 400 residents, including artists, writers, musicians and curators. As Lourdina mentions, “The residency is multidisciplinary and we have space to attend almost all disciplines. We have a carpentry shop, a ceramic kiln, a music recording studio, collective kitchens, collective ateliers and several other spaces that can be used as free ateliers”.

The residencies take place with the accompaniment of curators and receive both local, national and foreign artists. Within the project, there are several types of residence. The most common residency at KAAYSÁ lasts an average of one month and is accompanied by a curator, in addition to receiving special guests during the period, such as gallery owners, other curators, collectors and artists. There is also the possibility for the artist to choose the period of his own residency and autonomously develop his project, ranging from one week to three months. The project also receives residency groups that have already been formed, either through artist collectives or study groups, ranging from one to two weeks.

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