Microresidence Network

March 2019

Thoughts on Microresidence Meeting held in February 2019

Tatsuhiko Murata
Microresidence Network, Youkobo Art Space

The Microresidence Network is a network of small-scale, artist-run AIR that was established by several microresidence directors following the Res Artis General Meeting 2012 Tokyo. Recent international meetings held by the network include a microresidence session held concurrently with the ResArtis Meeting 2018 Rovaniemi (Finland) in June of 2018, which was organized with the cooperation of a locally based microresidence called Artbreak. It was as a continuation of that session in Finland that the Microresidence International Meeting was arranged in Japan in February 2019. That is to say, as a continuation of the Microresidencies workshop at the three-day ResArtis Meeting 2019 Kyoto, the Microresidence Meeting 2019 Kyoto in Nishi-jin was held over two days at Koshoji Temple in the Nishi-jin area of Kyoto through the cooperation of the Kyoto-based microresidence, ANEWAL Gallery. This was followed at Youkobo in Tokyo with Armenia Evening, a microresidence mini-forum or terakoya (signifying an informal study group in Japanese) held to bring this series of international microresidence meetings to a close.

  First of all, the successful gathering of microresidence colleagues through the ResArtis Meeting 2019 Kyoto was an important achievement. Honestly speaking, all the participants made time to participate despite their busy schedules, some travelling long distances to join the meeting. In addition, the feedback received from the participants about the planning and organization of the three sessions outlined above, as well as their thoughts after joining the sessions contained valuable suggestions. In addition to introductions of various microresidencies from respective directors, opinions were sought about AIR networks such as Artist-run Alliance, On The Move and Trans Artists, as well as from artists who had participated in microresidencies, while the resulting discussions permitted consideration of the possibilities for microresidencies. 

  Set against the reality faced by artists within society, and the uncertain state of AIR as societal vessels, many issues were raised through dialogue among the microresidence presenters about the significance of microresidencies. These include the global nature of AIR that surpasses religion and race, and diverse perspectives and intentions at a national level. Even if some of the discussion seemed fruitless, and some uncertainty remained due to differences in senses of value and standards, I believe it is important to create a mutual space for the sharing of information and in order to bring renewed awareness and understanding of various perspectives and ways of thinking. I also felt a sense of estrangement at the reality of not being able to contribute easily to international discussions due to the particularities of the Japanese language and Japan as an island nation. On the other hand, the issues raised through the experience of staying for one week in Kyoto at the respective microresidence spaces in Kyoto (venue names and no. of participants who stayed: ANEWAL Gallery, 3 persons; Yosuga 3 persons; Contemporary Art House Higashiyama, 4 persons; Koshoji Temple, 4 persons) are also of importance. A report about these experiences will be summarized through contact with our colleagues and made public through the Microresidence Network website.

  Here, I would like to express my gratitude to Kyoto Art Center, which provided special support to realize the microresidence meeting on this occasion, as well as the Villa Kujoyama and the Embassy of the Netherlands for providing our microresdience colleagues with the opportunity to participate in the Networks + Artworks Evening (a satellite event for ResArtis 2019 Kyoto) held at the Villa Kujoyama. Additionally, I would like to thank respective microresidence hosts for providing the participating international microresidence directors with such a valuable experience of staying in Kyoto.

  Finally, what is a microresidence? A microresidence may have some relation to microeconomics and the thinking behind microfinance, but not to Microsoft. I believe it refers to a space for the creative activities of artists, the activities of which emphasize relations born from direct dialogue through face-to-face or knee-to-knee meetings. A microresidence is signified by AIR that are run with “micro spirits” that have no relation to limitations of size, scale or location that is to say, budget, administrative structure or facilities. In the various discussions that took place in Kyoto, it is unclear whether a renewed awareness of microresidencies was achieved, but I wish to make this and related issues my goal this year. By a curious coincidence, 2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of Youkobo. We are thankful to everyone who supports what we do.