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Artist residency programme takes to the high seas

Seven artists will live and work on board commercial cargo ships, criss-crossing the globe along maritime routes

by Gareth Harris  |  25 February 2016
Artist residency programme takes to the high seas
All aboard the latest residency programme! Photo: courtesy of ZIM Integrated Shipping Services
One of the most unusual, and intrepid, artist residency programmes will launch this spring: on board a series of commercial cargo ships. Seven artists selected for the first Container Artist Residency project will spend up to six weeks on the oceangoing vessels, travelling along an international shipping route of their choice. Studio space, accommodation and production funding are all provided as part of the residency package.

The aim, according to a project statement, is to “forge new connections between individual practices and vast global networks by providing artists with a different outlook”. The project sponsor and partner is ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, Israel’s largest shipping company.

More than 2,000 artists applied last year for the residency; the UK painter Christopher Page is among the final seven selected. His residency route will take in locations such as Valencia in Spain and Nova Scotia.

He tells The Art Newspaper: “I have recently moved to Athens to be amongst the mass migration of people. I found myself there because of some trips last year on ferries, some more cargo than tourist, around the Mediterranean. The movement of people and things around the world by ship is a fundamental, and largely invisible, realm of the world we live in.”

The New York-based film-maker Tyler Coburn, who examined Google trends in his 2013 piece I’m That Angel, is also participating. “I'm taking a New York-Ashdod [Israel] trip, as the exhibition related to the residency will begin in New York and end in Tel Aviv.  I'm interested in my container journey simulating the form that the travelling exhibition will take,” he says. The other artists chosen are Mari Bastashevski, artist duo Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, Erin Diebboll, Ferenc Gróf and Samson Young.

Maayan Strauss, the founder and director of the Container Artist Residency, says that the works made will go on public display in a series of group exhibitions, which will travel internationally later this year through mid 2017.

“The artists will begin to produce works while on the residency, although many will complete their projects in the period thereafter. This depends on their individual process and the way in which they choose to use their time on board the ship,” she says. Future editions of the programme are in the planning.

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