From Sunnstede

01 Oct 2016 - 05 Jan 2017

View from the artist’s kitchen’s window

Are you looking for a nice and quiet place to delve deep into whatever practice you’re involved in? 
Are you, like me, tired of wasting precious time writing applications, statements, résumés or useless descriptions of « the project you intend to work on during your stay »?
Do you enjoy the company of endearing and crazy bilingual dogs? 
Do you like cows? 

If you answered « yes » to at least one of the questions above, then the Trelex Residency might be for you.  

Switzerland. Cows. Lots of cows. Everywhere.

The place
Located in a peaceful countryside town surrounded by fields, prairies and forests, the residency place is a big, beautiful and cozy house. Artists live on the top floor: each resident has a bedroom — big enough to be used as an intimate office, like I did — and the common work space is adjustable thanks to amazing rolling walls.
This place will boost your productivity as the atmosphere is a nice blend of quietness/time alone (allowing you to focus on your work) and vibrancy: more or less regularly, new faces show up (arriving residents, Nina’s kids, family’s friends…), keeping things stimulating by bringing refreshing social interactions or simply making and enjoying meals together.
The open house/exhibition we organized in November brought even more opportunities to meet new people and get some feedback on ongoing artworks.

Note to upcoming residents: 
do not leave ANY piece of paper 
around — unless you want to 
work with papier mâché.

Trust and generosity
There are tons of tools and art supplies generously made available by Nina, and you can even use the family’s car if you need to go to the groceries. I really value those practical details that make artist’s lives much easier and simply better.

Delving into work
I had the opportunity to stay there for three months in a row during wintertime. When nature’s rhythms slow down, this quiet place almost becomes like a temple where « work » turns into actual « meditation ». Which was a good thing, as I came here with the aim of getting work done in the fields of music and video.

Music — Upon arrival, I immediately started to work on one of the three musical projects I started to develop a few weeks ago. I wrote and made significant progress on seven songs for this project — most of them were completed then, and now just need to be mixed.

My location-independent home studio.

When I settled in my room, I was intrigued by what I thought was a weird piece of furniture: turned out it was a home-made light box with UV lamps inside. I liked the temperature of the light so much that I ended up using it to create the cover picture for one of my latest sound pieces.

Experimenting with the simplest tools: light and paper. 
© Sunnstede

The final cover for the single. © Sunnstede

I also kept advancing on the two other projects, recording additional tracks and refining arrangements for several songs. I brought my own electric guitar, but there’s a piano and an acoustic guitar you can borrow from the family — another great thing to keep in mind if you are a musician interested in applying for this residency.
The area surrounding the house includes a micro forest where lies a little shack that I did use as an improvised recording booth to sing. I enjoyed the opportunity to take advantage of whatever was lying around, which is something Nina always encourages artists to do.
You can find my music online on Bandcamp.

Video — If you like to go on scavenger hunts, the space is full of stuff lying around. That’s how I found work lights in the attic that I could use to shoot some videos outdoor at night: a nice experiment that provided lots of sequences that I will use for upcoming video works.

New tools = new possibilities.

My own private backyard night-time scenery, ready for
a shooting session. 
© Sunnstede 

Besides the experiments opportunities, I could finish three video works and refine several others: one of them is « Subterraneans », the others include a video clip I’ll release soon (containing sequences from my previous residency in Iceland) and a 9 minutes experiential video work.
You can find all my video works here.

Thank you
This residency made me feel truly supported as an artist, and I'm grateful for the time spent there.
My whole experience can be summed up with two words: quietness + generosity.
A big thank you to Nina, her family (Talisker included), Nadia and Abi!

A cozy sunset