The Museum of Loss and Renewal was delighted that in complex Covid times the following artists, musicians and writers made the extra effort to come to Collemacchia from Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Scotland, Canada, Denmark, USA, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden and England.

NOVEMBER 2021 | Catherine Street

My aim is to pursue what could be called a yearning for synthesis within the complex web of sciences and spiritual practices that pivot on the mind. I am moving away from previous, quite austere performance-to-camera work, that has focused on repetition and endurance, towards a much more free and joyful mode of presentation that admits other bodies, minds and voices to the process.

Nature is becoming more important in my practice and so I am undertaking periods of free writing and sound recording, outside amongst lush vegetation, arid soils, and nearby hills.

I am using the relatively new area of scholarship in queer theology to guide the research. Here I’m interested in how this scholarship articulates themes of pleasure, joy and freedom. Overall I work towards the creation of diverse, synthetic work that envelops the viewer in vitality and joy whilst engendering contemplation of spiritual and psychological themes.

NOVEMBER 2021 | Annie Eliasson

My time in Collemacchia is being used to dedicate myself to research for a new project. I am reconnecting to my creativity and research methods by taking time to explore and learn in a new environment.

I’m currently researching the history of female music-making and particularly polyphonic singing. I’m interested in singing as a medium to connect to other people and give voice to experiences that cannot be phrased in other ways. I am exploring voice as a tool for women to form their own language and make space for their bodies and their reflections. 

In Collemacchia I am delving further into these ideas and finding connections to local music, landscape and soundscapes.

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2021 | Sharon Stevens

As a curator and media artist, I have been producing artist-led events and digital art installations to memorialize the dead since 2010. The Digital Shrine, which I conceptualized in 2011 consists of a specially designed installation where the public write tributes that are digitized onto a screen. My residency plan includes research of data software programs to improve the practicalities and output of the Digital Shrine including platforms that could be expanded to include photographs.

I believe artists have a creative and sacred responsibility to offer innovative, safe, and communal ways of honouring our dead. This is not necessarily a sustaining outlook, so my residency at will contribute to restoring and fuelling my energy and commitment.

There are so few artists and collaborators working in the field of memorializing the dead that a chance to connect and build more networks internationally will expand how I curate and program into the future.

OCTOBER 2021 | Giovanna MacKenna

During my residency with The Museum of Loss and Renewal I worked to complete my first poetry collection, which is drawn from writing created over the last five years.

While engaging with my familial ties to the area, my time in Collemacchia was being used to further investigate my poems’ themes of family / depression / grief / nature / remembrance.

The space offered allowed me to write, edit, and to explore new ways of working with individual words and extracts from the poems, to draw out the connections between them and thereby create a cohesive path for the reader to follow.

Additionally, the residency gave me the invaluable opportunity to work on site with The Museum of Loss and Renewal Publishing, on creating the final form of my book How the Heart can Falter, which was published in June 2022.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 | Fiona Morehouse

Fiona Morehouse is an American painter based in Putney Vermont and Rockland Maine. Trusting that what we perceive from above is equally influenced by what lies within, she paints landscapes from the inside out.

Engaging the reciprocity of the internal and external, she brings the subtle realms of the inside and underneath to the surface, emphasising how these hidden landscapes affect our relationship to space and place.

Engaged in a transnational collaboration focused on art making as mindful practice with Paris-based artist Tal Waldman, they met in Collemacchia to complete their project, ‘Visualizing The Invisible’. Together, they created and documented an ephemeral art installation, made a collaborative painting, and finalised the last chapters of their book in preparation for publication.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 | Tal Waldman

Tal Waldman is a polymorphic artist who works across sculpture, drawing, painting, photography and installation. Influences derive from cultures encountered during residencies and studies in art and architecture in Israel, India, Germany, Greece and Paris where she currently lives. 

Tal focuses on experimentation, foregrounding natural expressive qualities of different mediums, respecting their contribution as ’emotional generators’. Works are often made in series, including studies, data visualisation and writing. She investigates her identity as a mother, woman and immigrant.

With Vermont-based artist Fiona Morehouse, Tal is engaged in a collaboration focused on art, body and spirit: art making as mindful practice and as a collaborative process. In Collemachia, their project ‘Visualizing The Invisible’ was worked on together for the first time in a common space, creating a collaborative painting, preparing a book for publication and filming an ephemeral art installation.

SEPTEMBER 2021 | Päivi Setälä

Words, photos, and history.

I work with photography and texts. I am interested in the details and the views. Works are created by experimenting with and combining various imaging techniques, photographic techniques and finishing techniques for photography.

I use both fast and slow photography processes. My subjects are animals, deserted spaces, sign-language gestures, flower dresses and greenhouses. The photographic in my pictures is about natural light and staged natural influences. The pictures have built-in images and are uncontrolled.

My texts are lyric essays, short stories, and multimedia poems. While in residence I looked for a focus on writing in a historic setting. The Museum of Loss and Renewal’s context that ‘stimulates people to take time in which to generate thoughts, feelings and ideas’, was for me the best possible place for this.

Nature, a historic region and events, together.

SEPTEMBER 2021 | Semay Wu

Semay’s artistic practice explores sound through compositional strategies that look for relationships in and amongst sound, space and movement, and what emerges from this.

She owes much to the essence of the Social Space described, by D.Massey (2013), as alive, dynamic and relevant. This space involves our relations with each other, whether from ‘human to human’ or ‘human to non-human’.

Time during the residency allowed Semay to work on developing a series of graphic scores that can be performed individually, but also seen as one cumulative composition. She reflected, discussed and found perspectives; exploring methods for visualising and translating; and realising the relations of her own internal trajectories, along the themes of loss and renewal, questioning the role of the creator, and what these pieces will come to mean.

SEPTEMBER 2021 | Remi Picó

Remi Picó is an Italian multidisciplinary researcher and conceptual artist. His trajectory towards art is quite unconventional. He is a researcher in computational sciences, artificial intelligence, biological, and nanotechnologies sciences at University College London (UK), Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology in London, London Centre for Nanotechnologies, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (USA).

Remi’s art production concentrates on a variety of artistic enquiries and develops lines of work on language/semiotics, temporality, reality, de-subjectivisation and contemporary archaeology through painting, installation and video-art. His work is represented in public and private collections in the USA and Europe.

During his residency he worked on a new interdisciplinary and collaborative paradigm overarching art, artificial intelligence, and language which uses art as a resonance chamber related to specific subjects and social issues. The final artwork will be in the form of a video-installation and will use artificial intelligence to ‘generate’ the subject matter and narrative based on the specific location where the installation is due to be sited.

SEPTEMBER 2021 | Kirstie McCubbin

While based in Collemacchia I investigated aerosols – substances enclosed under pressure and released as a fine spray by means of a propellant gas – and their relation to global warming, and how that affects the way in which we perceive our world.

In this long-term project I aim to bring attention to the effects and problems of climate crisis and global warming, in a confrontational but poetically engaging way.

I explored and therefore learned about the residency’s local environment, and heard from local citizens about changes they have noticed or been affected by over recent decades. The series of images that I made reflect my findings in an attempt to contribute to awareness of environmental issues.

Additionally, multimedia and/or collaging techniques were used to create images that resemble realities, but that speak to the future scenarios that humankind is creating.

SEPTEMBER 2021 | Ruth Gilmour

Considering my residency as a return to place, I investigated my maternal and paternal ancestors who emigrated to Scotland from Collemacchia and Filignano at the turn of the 20th Century.

Searching for un/familiar kinships, my fieldwork and research responded to place and intergenerational transmission, to develop my understanding of the different ways in which our bodies are informed to evolve, deviate and heal.

Discovering that a restorative kind of mysticism can occur during the artistic manipulation of natural materials, I was motivated to develop interpretations of ex-votos – artworks of gratitude created in response to the success of a healing ritual.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2021 | Marianne Charlebois

I illustrated a version of the book Le Drap Blanc by Céline Huyguébart. This is an autobiographic inquiry where the author goes looking for her deceased father, searching for who he really was.

I have pictured the common events and objects that represent the complexity of a human being, and what is left when they are gone. The illustrations I make are mixed media drawings that combine the screen printing process with watercolour, coloured pencil and graphite techniques.

To represent what grief might feel like inside, I use the concept of repetition in both my imagery and the content. As Huyguébart writes, “It is this loss that started the writing of this book, this absence left by the dead, with which those who survive weave fictions to pass through”.

AUGUST 2021 | Iona Wheeler

Iona used Super 8 analogue film for the first time, to consider aspects of ‘loss’ and ‘renewal’.

Engaging film’s technical processes, and activating technologies, she digitised the films she makes, including old scraps of film that she works over. Her processes include writing, sewing and cutting into and onto the film stock, to convey nature in various states.

Interested in how humans interact with the earth and its products, she spent time alone outdoors to understand and focus on her own engagement with the planet.

In summer 2022, Iona will complete a B.A. Hons Fine Art degree at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee.

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | Kornel Janczy

During the residency period I worked on my ongoing series that is titled Landscapes.

Landscapes are three-dimensional objects and paintings produced as the result of inspiration drawn from Romantic landscape painting, fascination with science models, and observations of natural phenomena.

In these works I conceptualise space, reducing it to simple forms, effecting visualisations of landscapes where scientific knowledge and observation combine with naïve, romantic understandings of nature.

JULY 2021 | Bettina Rolyn

The first night after the removal, I swung the windows wide open and peered up past the scaffolding. I caught my first glimpse of the half ripe moon, begging me to greet her and harvest her rays. Mars twinkled underneath her, just over Pisces. I know this because of the planet identifier app on my phone, not because I know the real sky. The true heavens were veiled from me for so long I have forgotten the twinkling light of stars, the sweet rush of wind on a spring night, summoning my attention to nature; replaced by polymers, glass, and industrial creativity: byproducts of human genius.

Excerpt from VEIL, Bettina Rolyn

Full text

I am a US-American writer, linguist and army veteran based in Berlin.

The memoir that I am writing is about beautiful suffering: physical and metaphysical constriction as a path to freedom. My explorations encapsulate subjects such as identity, initiation, the polarities of spiritual and idealistic worlds, and the life of the body.

In Italy as a younger person, I was motivated to consider higher ideals, for the potential of a better world, while learning to appreciate the life of the senses. I returned, interested to experience how place itself carries an impulse, streaming out of the ground like an energy-spring. The residency has allowed me to peel back a few layers of idealism and write about the tension between those and reality.

Bettina’s non-fiction essay ‘Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?’, arising from her ‘fight to flee herself’ reflects on her time at The Museum of Loss and Renewal and her considerations of life and death.

Published in 2022 by The Wrath-Bearing Tree, Bettina’s essay can be read here:
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?