Open Call – Twenty-Three Days at Sea: A Travelling Artist Residency

Twenty-Three Days at Sea: A Travelling Artist Residency
Year Two 2016-17
DEADLINE: Monday, February 15, 2016

Access Gallery, in partnership with Burrard Arts Foundation, invites submissions for the second year of its Travelling Artist Residency Program, Twenty-Three Days at Sea. Twenty-Three Days at Sea grants selected emergent visual artists passage aboard cargo ships sailing from Vancouver, Canada to Shanghai. Crossing the Pacific Ocean takes approximately twenty-three days, during which time the artist will be considered “in residence” aboard the vessel.

There are many hundreds of residency programs worldwide. Twenty-Three Days at Sea follows the “aberrant” turn in artist residencies, in that it imposes specific conditions and constraints (the strictures of the port; the solitude of the freighter cabin; the expanse of the open sea) that will, in turn shape artists’ ideas and work. It offers the opportunity to integrate critical and creative practices into a new set of parameters, and the potential of challenging established routines, activities and assumptions. At its base, Twenty-Three Days at Sea asks artists to question what constitutes creative space, and to consider how time is experienced over the highly charged, yet largely invisible, spatial trajectory of a trans-Pacific shipping route. It offers a profoundly generative time and space—in the unconventional studio space of the cargo ship cabin—for focused research and the creation of provocative new ideas and work.

For the 2016-17 year, successful candidates will sail on separate freighters between the months of June and September, 2016.

The Objectives
The aim of this residency program is to generate a new work or body of work (which, depending upon the artists’ practices, may take place aboard the vessel or in the months following) in response to the sea voyage, which will then be exhibited before audiences at Access Gallery in the following months. For the extent of the residency voyage, artists will also be requested to keep a daily “log.” Subsequently published by Access, these logbooks will accumulate as an ongoing collection of bookworks, chronicling diverse responses to a shared experience of being at sea.

The Proposal
In keeping with our organizations’ mandates, proposals will be considered from emergent visual artists working in any and all media. Submissions will be adjudicated by committee and successful candidates will be notified in late March, 2016.

Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that consider issues resonant with sea travel and with the ubiquitous but, for most of us, largely invisible world of the global shipping industry. These may include, but are by no means limited to, matters of trans-Pacific connectivity, traffic and trade; maritime histories and culture; and, significantly, notions of time and space, since crossing a great expanse of water is experienced far differently on an ocean vessel than by more conventional air travel.

The Logistics
+ The Residency will cover the cost of travel aboard the freighter (single cabin and all meals), accommodations for four days in China, and return airfare back to Vancouver
+ Residency artists are expected to fund their own travel to and from Vancouver (the point of departure)
+ Residency artists must prove their own purchase of international travel insurance and to secure all necessary travel documents
+ Artists are free to travel at their own cost within Asia following disembarkation, provided details are arranged in advance for the purpose of booking return airfare from Shanghai
+ Residency artists are expected to arrive in Vancouver prepared to work independently on his/her work for the duration of the residency in whatever capacity that is possible or to use the voyage to gather research in order to produce the new work independently following the close of the residency

Conditions at Sea
+ Artists must understand that there is no internet connectivity aboard ship. Email is often reserved only for ship’s business
+ Residency artists must produce medical certificates proving good health. There are generally no doctors on board. The vessel has a well-stocked ship’s dispensary and a treatment room. The Captain and officers have the necessary skills to give first aid and are also able to provide further treatment
+ Since this is a working ship (with no elevators), there are unfortunately no facilities for individuals requiring wheelchairs, walking sticks or crutches, etc.
+ All meals are taken in the officer’s mess
+ Sea voyages can be unpredictable and the artist must prepare for and manage any unexpected obstacles resulting from his/her time at sea (ie. Seasickness). Access Gallery and Burrard Arts Foundation cannot be held responsible for delays in the production of work due to these obstacles. The artist assumes responsibility for all costs of the research, production and shipment of any work produced while at sea.

In keeping with our organizations’ mandates, this residency invites emergent visual artists, or artists entering an experimental phase of their practice, to submit proposals. They accept work in all forms of media, time based, process, research based, exhibition focus, social practice etc.

Access will accept ELECTRONIC submissions in the following format ONLY:
+ one page cv
+ artist statement (maximum 250 words)
+ a residency proposal (maximum 250 words) accompanied by a maximum of 5 images (if applicable)
+ maximum 10 images (or hyperlinked videos) of relevant previous work
+ please format your proposal into a single pdf (under 20 mb)


DEADLINE: Monday, February 15, 2016
Please title your email subject line “23 Days at Sea 2016”

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