Since 2004 TRADE developed to become one of the most significant professional development opportunities for visual artists in the northwest offering opportunities for international artists to engage locally and local artists to engage internationally. The programme challenges the perceived necessity to follow traditional cultural trade routes from regional location to capital city to international arts capital in order to maintain an arts practice.
Leitrim County Council has developed links with Residence Botkyrka in Sweden and the Centre of Contemporary Art in Torún, Poland with a view to developing an international programme which would see the TRADE residency format replicated in the other countries. In 2012 Leitrim County Council Arts Office hosted a short residency with each of these partners and a means towards developing the mechanism of a longer term multi-annual programme.
Residence in partnership with Residence Botkyrka
As part of TRADE 2012, ISABEL LÖFGREN (Sweden/Brazil) undertook a residency that featured visits to artists in their studios/homes/workshops across Leitrim, an exhibition of Isabel’s work arising from a recent project with residents or over 80 nationalities in Botkyrka. A public lecture on her work and a workshop on collaborative arts practice
Isabel Löfgren b. 1975 is a Swedish-Brazilian artist, researcher and curator currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. She is interested in creating installations in public space at the intersection between art, new media and network cultures. Her work usually involves a dialogue with the act of travelling and she is interested in investigating spaces of flows, whether of people, objects and/or information. Her installations and curatorial work often includes public participation. Isabel has lived in many different countries, Brazil, the United States, France, Sweden and Singapore. While in Asia, she travelled extensively with photography, research, and education projects in places such as East Timor, Nepal, and Cambodia. Isabel has been active as an artist since 2002 and has participated in over 30 collective exhibitions internationally. Solo shows in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Lisbon (Portugal) and Stockholm, Sweden.
Residence in partnership with Centre of Contemporary Art in Torún
As part of TRADE from the 8th to 20th September, Victoria Vesna undertook a residency coordinated by Anna MacLeod, based at Leitrim Sculpture Centre where Victoria worked with a Leitrim artists Daniel Branley, Padraig Cunningham, Bridget Dolan, Claire Duffy, Róisín Loughrey, Anne O’Neill, Kathy O’Leary, Tracy Walsh looking at the heritage, folklore and scientific properties of holy wells in County Leitrim.
Holy wells are significant social and cultural features of the water rich landscape of the north west of Ireland. In some parts of the county specific ‘cures’ are associated with the waters found there and communities often have deep-rooted connections with the sites. Over a period of ten days the artists went into the countryside and searched for wells across Leitrim Interviewing locals about their experiences and memories of Holy Wells in their locality. Seven wells were visited and sampled and one, St Hugh’s Well, was imaged by scientists at the CRANN Institute using Transmission Electron Microscopy – a focused beam of high energy electrons instead of light to pass through thin sample and form a picture or micrograph. The artists hope to map the wells in the area, share the information gathered and connect to other wells in the country and the world. The ultimate goal is not only to preserve and remind people of past wisdom and sets of knowledge about the therapeutic properties of water, but also to raise awareness of the lurking dangers to these pure waters.
Victoria Vesna, PhD
Victoria Vesna is a media artist and professor at the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and Director of the Art|Sci center at the School of the Arts and California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI). Her work can be defined as experimental creative research that resides between disciplines and technologies. With her installations she explores how communication technologies affect collective behaviour and how perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation. She is currently a senior researcher at IMéRA – Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées in Marseille, France. Victoria has exhibited her work in over twenty solo exhibitions, more than seventy group shows, has been published in excess of twenty papers and has given 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is the North American editor of AI & Society and in 2007 published an edited volume – Database Aesthetics: Art in the age of Information Overflow, Minnesota Press and most recently an edited volume entitled Context Providers: Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts. Edited with Christiane Paul and Margot Lovejoy, Intellect Press, 2011.