Arctic Culture Lab

AiR Greenland: Arctic Reflections 2020/21

In the stunning land of contrasts of the Disko Bay area, an UNESCO site, Arctic Culture Lab strives for a critical multidisciplinary platform for the increasing artistic interest in the Arctic. How to get here is shortly decribed in this video

The residency-program 2021 was running under the topic Arctic Reflections and we welcomed the following selected artists:
Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir, Iceland *
Páll Ásgeir Ásgeirsson, Iceland
Eva Faché, Norway *
Jet Pascua, Norway *
Jette Ellgaard Kristensen, Denmark *
Lærke Posselt, Denmark
Lenka Novak, Canada
Misha del Val, Finland (watch Misha`s short reflections) *
Renzo Signori, Finland
Silje Strøm, Faroe Islands (watch Silja`s schort reflections) *

The visit of selected Nordic artists * was generously supported by the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, OCA and Dansk kunstfond.

Why are we doing this?
We focus on long-term residences because in our short winded times artists are rarely willing to invest the necessary time span to understand the Greenlandic Arctic. Encountering the end of the world, the unknown and mystical Ultima Thule became intellectual fast food, the artist`s mission completed with the return from short «study-visits», filled with impressions and opinions made up before arrival, often presenting the artists back home as explorers and experts. Because they have been there.

The consumption of the Arctic as an exotic place might add some fancy event on the CV of a visiting artist, howabeit it will not contribute to the Arctic. To speak with Edward Said`s critizism of Orientalism: the Arctic is nothing more than a simplificating, western concept which compensates lack of knowledge by projecting a world-view towards a place far away. A short residency doesn`t challenge the artists perception and thus the mental construct rooted in subjective experience isn`t congruent with the physical and psychological space.

Our program 2020/21 is called «Arctic Research» and is open to international artists and curators who can help us to formulate another narrative of the Arctic and Greenland as predominantly presented in the mainstream media.

By naming our program «Arctic Research» we reflect on Linda Tuhiwai Smith`s (1999) warning, that «the word itself, ‘research’, is probably one of the dirties words in the indigenous world`s vocabulary». On the other hand, the term Arctic itself reveals to be unreliable, unsubstantial and inable to call forth a description of something concrete. Therefor artists as critical thinkers should be able to distance themselves from the conventional shared idea of the Arctic without repeating stereotypes which have been created to meet an Arctic agenda.

We are interested in artistic processes, experimentation and fearless curiosity in respectful interaction with the local community. We expect our residency artists to be aware of research methodologies related to indigenous people and to accept our expectation of a reciprocal approach. The residency gives visitors an unique opportunity to discover Greenlands cultural and sociopolitical context. We expect our residency guests to be aware of research methologies related to indigenous peoples and to accept our expectation of a reciprocal aproach. Through this, artists and curators can expand the scope of their practice and learn about the under-communicated Greenlandic art scene.

Administrative, curatorial and professional support is guaranteed by our staff. Arctic Culture Lab will provide the artist with all necessary help concerning logistics in situ as well as knowledge based help.

The open call for 2022/23 is coming up soon. No deadline; that wouldn`t make sense in a land where the weather has the last word.