What a Residency Be? is a ten-episode video series on hypothetical residencies, how they could look and what they have the capacity to be. Created by Mitchell Gilbert Messina in collaboration with artists from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg’s programme, each weekly episode takes a proposed artist-in-residence model and unpacks its broader implications, thematics and logistics within a minute.
Episode One | An Introduction
In this episode Mitchell introduces the series by elaborating on his initial impetus to explore residency models: His uncertainty as to whether he was on an official Pro Helvetia residency or not.
Episode Two | Travelling Abroad with Rudi van der Merwe
Rudi van der Merwe proposes a residency where the artist must backpack and barter their way to the hosting destination, raising the broader question of freedom of movement.
(This series was conceptualised and developed prior to the current global pandemic)
episode three | Trading Places with Sarah Elena Müller
Sarah Elena Müller proposes a residency where one artist swaps lives with another, broaching the topic of authorship and the benefits of relinquishing control.
Episode Four | Tag You’re It with Lineo Segoete
Lineo Segoete proposes a residency where childhood games are revisited as spaces for collective imagining, reframing the playground as a hallowed space for improvisation and intuition.
Episode Five | Job Shadowing with Jul Dillier
Jul Dillier outlines a residency where artists spend time integrating into local workforces to better understand the ecosystem of their surrounding society, considering the benefits of reforming the arts, encouraging a cross-pollination, and standing in solidarity with workers.
Episode Six | Making Mxnifestos with Goldendean
Goldendean proposes a residency where hosted workshops use collaborative collage to produce a collective vision and mxnifesto of action, considering collage’s inherent capacity to produce meaning from the interaction between unexpected and diverse sources.
Episode Seven | Sound and Movement with Roland Dahinden
Roland Dahinden proposes a residency where musicians and dancers develop various pieces together and in relation to each other, touching upon the merits of permeable disciplines that sculpt in time.
Episode Eight | Being Alienated with Georgia Munnik
Georgia Munnik proposes several residencies that encapsulate the model’s ability to fall apart, and the alienation and self-doubt it begets when it does, re framing the residency as an endurance in feeling failure.
Episode Nine | No Location with Valentina Pini
Valentina Pini proposes a residency where participants don’t know their own location, raising the question of how a sudden geographical dislocation would affect a person’s understanding of place by bypassing their preconceived ideas about it, and querying the purpose of location in a residency.
Episode ten | Catching Up with Mitchell Gilbert Messina
Mitchell Gilbert Messina proposes a residency where participants are given the opportunity to catch up on overdue, unfinished and abandoned projects without interruption or pressure, and considers how relentlessly and aimlessly moving forward, upwards and onwards might discourage one from giving things time to figure themselves out.