By Jenny Hillenbrand
Who is here?
25 artists are participating in the Salem2Salem project this year. Together they work in a variety of fields: writing, music, video/ animation, performance, sculpture, and painting. The artists come from all over the US and Germany for the most part, with a few exceptions such as several artists from Romania, Switzerland, and England. There are also administrators from Germany and the US who work both onsite and remotely to coordinate and organize activities, documentation of the experience and the final exhibition. Outside presence of people include workers doing renovations, maids tidying common spaces and rooms, tourists exploring the property, locals walking on the side streets with dogs or biking, cooks in the cafeteria, local artists in the surrounding area, and four cows who "chow down" on grass across the street.
What is happening here?
Meals are served in a cafeteria from 8-8:30am for breakfast, 12:30pm -1:30pm for lunch, and 6:30pm to 7pm. Meals are available only during this time but there is a kitchen and lounge with sink, drinks, refrigerator, and plenty of places to sit. There has been four articles written about the residency, stay tuned! There was a grand opening with performance, reading, singing, collaborating, presentations about the artists, and speeches from several notable figures. Activities are scheduled for artists to participate in including a BBQ last night, field trips to historical sites, museums, artists studios, gallery openings, and to the lake in the morning. Artists can choose to participate or stay behind to work in the studio.
Some projects I have become aware of is an internet cafe with expresso and coffee ground reading, independent travel on bike to paint en plein air, site specific research, a collaborative involving drums, small wooden wind instruments made from scrap wood and piano parts, and individual projects in animation, involving drawings and sculpture, writing, painting, music rehearsals, and offsite black smithing.
With the use of the facilities, studios, fieldtrips, and meals I have experienced a sense of deep and casual conversations about making work, life, family, friends, and travel. There is a sense of community forming and also a strong sense of independent focus. From the looks of it, many are interested in incorporating performance or collaboration into their work. This experimentation is creating an excellent dialog and energy amongst everyone.
This residency is taking place from August 5th to the 25th. There will be an exhibition opening on the 22nd along with a variety of planned activities which are also significant. Our hope is that what is begun hear will carry on into the next year and beyond, to keep with the nature of collaborative, experimentation and reflection.
Room and board, and studios are located in a boarding school which typically houses 200 11th and 12th graders during the school year. The housing is set up that men and women stay in different buildings here, but that every building is open during the day. Artists are staying in about four buildings together in groups. The campus is located north of the town of Goldbach, and is a few miles from Lake Constance. Not much beyond residencial spaces are within walking distance but there are several bikes to get around on, along with cars. We are also just a few miles from the Schloss Castle. Lake Constance really reminds me of the fingerlakes in NY and a little bit like a lake town in general. There are Vineyards, boating, small lake homes, small shops, slow meandering travel by car and bike, and faster more direct roads leading to and from each city/town.
The purpose of this residency is to establish a place and time for artists to share space, ideas, and work with one another. The hope is for them to establish a sense of community and collaboration which is ongoing after they leave. What will specifically happen is still unknown, but the purpose and structure is clear.
Most artists are working in their rooms, some are constantly in the studio together. Even when everyone is together they listen to music privately and focus. One artist said something along the lines of ...I was alone in the studio and everyone went on a field trip. I didn't realize how much I was getting used to working with other people. Having them around I felt more focused and worked harder because of the energy. When they were all gone for the day I was in the studio for about five hours, and the last three I just couldn't wait for everyone to get back... it was like waiting for your family to come home!