Making new sculptures at The Vyrsodepseio, an expanding independent art space. Launching their visual artist residency!
My name is Alexandra Phillips I am a Brooklyn based artist. I have been invited by The Vyrsodepseio to be their first visual artist in residence. They are offering a living space and a large studio where I will make a new body of work using materials collected in Votanikos, the area in which The Vyrsodepseio is located.
As the first artist of my kind to have a prolonged stay at the center, I will lay the foundation for what will become a platform for others who wish to engage with this specific artistic community.
The residency begins in September and lasts at least a month.
Read on to find out more about my work, The Vyrsodepseio and the surrounding area plus how this program will benefit other visual artists the in the future!
About my work. I primarily make sculptures that are inspired by and fabricated from found material. The type of material that attracts me most is that which began functional but has become functionless.
My work deals with the balance between the need for/connection with everyday objects and our fleeting relationship with such objects. I am interested in the moment when something useful becomes useless. I try to interfere with this transition. By exploring my environment and closely observing the materials it accumulates, I try to highlight the designation of liability verses asset.
My practice attempts reverse these labels. I spend time collecting and cataloging castoff materials. I use this hunter/gatherer activity as a way to really understand my environment and the people in it. The residency will allow me a new domain in which to explore and collect and will prompt a series of sculptures that represent Votanikos as I experienced it.
The Vyrsodepseio is constantly hosting performance and theater artists. I will do a series of studio visits with these artists and gain new insights into my work. The sculptures I make will be affected by the energy and vibrancy of these exchanges in addition to being heavily impacted by the environment.
The residency offers time to focus on a specific set of parameters: the space itself, the people working in it and the materials sourced from the surrounding neighborhood…
The sculptures and images I make during this period will be documented in a small printed catalog that will include a text detailing my experience at the residency. The catalog will be a way to create a buzz about The Vyrsodepseio and further our efforts to make this independent art center available for other resident visual artists in the future.
Why is The Vyrsodepseio an ideal place for a productive artist residency? What is attractive about the surrounding area?
About the space. The Vyrsodepseio is a space created for and by artists. The center is founded by performance and theater artists and is a member of IETM, an international network for contemporary performing arts. Their focus has been to bring together performers from various backgrounds, hosting workshops, seminars and site specific performances in the 30,000 sqft building.
The artistic director and founder of the space (Elli Papakonstantinou) invited me to be a visual artist in residence as a means to connect different artistic disciplines and further the aims of The Vyrsodepseio. Because of the nature of my work, she has offered me the chance to engage with a relatively isolated community (the artists working within The Vyrsodepseio and the neighborhood of Votanikos).
A unique location/situation. The Vyrsodepseio is located in Votanikos, a neighborhood of Athens that has become an infamous no-mans land, despite the fact it is located less than two miles from the Acropolis. The place has a very rich and curious history. The neighborhood Votanikos is located in an area known as Eleonas, the name means "olive grove". It was here that, as myth has it, the goddess Athena planted the first olive tree, winning the polis over and becoming its patron deity. Eleonas was considered a sacred area. It was a source of income as well as identity for the Athenian people. The grove supported Athens during ancient times because olive oil was the city's major industry.
As the population of the city grew the people needed land for agriculture and in the 18th century the oil trees were gradually cut to make room for this endeavor. By the 19th century industry began to over take the farmland eventually diminishing the grove all together. Votanikos became the supporting industrial zone, the location of warehouses, and other necessities for a thriving city. This industrial boom continued, reaching its peak in the 1960's and 70's.
Fast forward to 2013. The economic downturn and the collapse of industry in Athens left Votanikos basically deserted. Today it is more or less ignored by the Athenian state. It is a place of slow transition: a patchwork of Roma settlements, ancient ruins and abandoned industrial buildings. It exists in a sort of limbo filled with the remains of uses past.
This neighborhood, described as a derelict "unwelcoming disorderly mosaic" is actually an inspiring area ripe with potential. It offers a wealth of material and space available for discovery. What to some is an urban disaster seems to us like an artistic haven. This project is about adding a layer to the history of the neighborhood. We will achieve this by launching the residency program, a new facet of the already existing positive artistic force that is The Vyrsodepseio.
About the vision. We feel that other visual artists will be interested in spending time in this type of environment. Historically, areas that have been cast off by the rest of society, areas that seem dilapidated, defunct and void of creature comforts are perfect places for artists to thrive. In these areas there is space, cheap rent and an unmatched feeling of new discovery.
An artist community paired with a pioneering spirit can shed light on possibilities that otherwise go unnoticed. The Vyrsodepseio has already carved out a space for these activities to take place. They have a massive building protected by the historic board (it was a 19th century tannery and has great structural beauty), they have visibility within the performance art world, and they possess the spirit and desire to expand the space to other disciplines. Vibrancy and new ideas can transform any landscape. It is our hope that this residency will contribute to the rejuvenation of the neighborhood.
Much of the funds raised will go towards making renovations on the living space and purchasing staples that will remain at The Vyrsodepseio to be used by future residence artist. Find a more detailed discussion below.
There is a small, one room house on the grounds that will be the living quarters. Although it is no palace, it has basic necessities such as electricity and plumbing. As the first to take part in the residency I will be repairing the house. It needs to be cleaned out, painted, minor structural repairs need to be made and it needs to be modestly furnished (bedding, kitchenware). Funds raised thru your pledge will help finance these renovations.
A bicycle is the best way to get to know any city. I will purchase a bicycle that will enable me to explore Votanikos and collect materials to be used in my work. It will be left for the next artist to use.
A basic set of tools such as a hack saw, drill, hammer, etc are a must. I will compile a workshop of tools that will remain at The Vyrsodepseio and allow the next artist to begin his or her work with more ease.
As I mentioned earlier, the residency will culminate into a catalog that documents the work I'll make while at The Vyrsodepseio and explain more about the space, the area and its availability to other artists. Your pledge will help make the production of this catalog possible.
I will need to purchase non-found art materials that I cannot transport from Brooklyn, such as plaster and concrete.Your pledge will also support my daily expenses such as food and a lot of water (its pretty hot in Greece) and allow partial funding for travel.
I am a low maintenance and resourceful person and will do my best to stretch the funds as far as possible.
In the event that extra money is raised, it will be donated to The Vysrodepseio. The sum will be held as stipend to assist future artists during their stay at the space.
Thank you very much for your time!
Thank you in advance for your pledge!
As with all Kickstarter projects, if the funding goal is not reached, the project gets no money, so please check out the rewards and make your pledge today.
I look forward to sending you a reward in the coming months!!
Special thanks to Andi Schmeid for allowing me to use her images of Votanikos in this proposal.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact me at email@example.com.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Funding this project is the biggest challenge, once that obstacle is over come I will make the most of this opportunity and will lead by example encouraging other artists to participate in this budding residency program!
Thank you again for your support!!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
You will receive a daily newsletter detailing the progress of my work, the renovations on the small house, and other discoveries. This email will include images as well as thoughts on my experience.Estimated delivery:
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A thank you postcard send from Athens straight to you. You will also be included in the email newsletter with images and thoughts on my experience.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
16 backers Limited (4 left of 20)
A piece of mail art, a small original work. The residency is located in a post industrial no-mans land where i will collect a wide range of materials. You will receive a piece of Votanikos. This may come in the form of a small sculpture or a small flat work. Depending on the nature of the work it will be shipped during the residency or upon my return to the United States.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
9 backers Limited (6 left of 15)
A copy of the printed catalog documenting the sculptures made at The Vyrsodepseio with text discussing the experience and personal reflections on the residency.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
A limited edition print of an original drawing or photograph made while at The Vyrsodepseio (editions of 3). I will provide a range of options, drawings and photographs that capture aspects of the residency experience. You will also receive a copy of the catalog and your name on the special thanks page within.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
Come visit my studio in Brooklyn. We will have a drink, talk about my work and about the residency. At the end of the visit you can pick a piece of work to add to your collection. If you are not able to come to the studio this pledge point gets you an original drawing that will be packed and mailed to you upon my return to the US. You will also get a copy of the catalog and your name will appear in the special thanks page with in.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
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