Building on years of experience from EEA-Germany, Beelitz, which has been organised outside Berlin each year for the past decade, the European Exchange Academy is proud to present: EEA-Turkey, Cunda – a brand new intensive course for emerging artists.
EEA-Turkey is a comprehensive three-week course that takes place on the small Cunda Island in the Aegean Sea, just off the Turkish coast.
This solitary setting allows you as a participant to step out of one daily routine, and create a new one, built solely around, and centered on a creative frame of mind. Over the course of three and a half weeks, you, as a participant, can test your practice and, at a high speed, try out different possibilities. Simultaneously you can slow down your reflection process, and benefit from the fact that you have an almost 24/7 access to a diverse group of advisors and fellow participants.
The program of EEA12-Turkey, Cunda revolves around the notion that the single most important knowledge an artist can posses is the understanding of his or her own practice. Without this understanding, acquired skills – be it technical or theoretical – will remain isolated entities. At best, and with a good portion of luck, these skills will result in sporadic successful works of art.
By obtaining an understanding of their own practice, young artists are able to recognize and make better use of their strengths, and work on their weaknesses. And most importantly, the young artist will be able to merge his or her different skills and fields of interest into a coherent and sustainable practice, while maintaining his or her diversity and individuality.
The main focus and goal of EEA12-Turkey is to assist the participants in acquiring the theoretical and practical tools needed to obtain this understanding. We acknowledge the fact that the path to gaining these insights are, and must be,
unique to each participant. This said, there are aspects
that all artists have to relate to.
Together with the fellow participants and advisors, the students will be encouraged to find out how they relate to these individual and shared aspects. They will be encouraged to investigate how they can shape and sharpen their ‘approach’ into a methodology. This methodology then serves as a HQ or home base, from where different campaigns can be launched. Having this secure platform provides the creative process with a more relaxed state of mind, while providing the confidence to experiment and take risks when developing works and the methodology itself.
Can you create something from nothing?
What is inspiration, where does it come from and what does it mean to be inspired? By paying attention to, and finding patterns in the ways in which we come up with ideas, we can learn to provide ourselves with the right circumstances in order to decrease the risk of ‘being uninspired’.
Once we have an idea, we still need to develop it into a concept. Sometimes this is a very straightforward translation, but just as often we find ourselves not even remembering where the original idea came from. The same goes for when the work is being produced or finalised into the form in which it will be presented. Often it is hard to differentiate between, and thereby also acknowledge, these processes. This is inevitable and even a good thing, since the development of a project has to be an open process in which different aspects are allowed to influence, tweak and change each other as well as the outcome. However, this also comes with the potential risk of blurring the own understanding of the project, which in turn can result in an overly complicated presentation to an audience.
As artists we are not only responsible for how the work will ‘handle itself’ once it leaves the comforting walls of the studio; we can also influence the way in which the work is perceived by an audience. On a very practical level we have to understand that the manner in which the work is presented can hardly be separated from the form of the work ‘itself’. The presentation has to correspond with (and this can sometimes mean that it deliberately clashes with) the form and the content of the work. On a more theoretical level we have to understand that the work is both made and received within a context. Be it a political, religious, philosophical, aesthetical and / or any other context – if we neglect to consider the contextualisation of a work, we risk seeing our work burn and plunge, like Icarus, to the ground.
In individual conversations, group discussions and –presentations, and through practical work, the participants will be asked to examine their understanding of their own practice.
During three intensive and highly focused weeks, we will also investigate how we can relate to notions of innovation, originality and autonomy, and see to the multitude of ways in which we can make use of fields such as history, sociology, philosophy and art history in developing projects.
The European Exchange Academy gathers a diverse group of advisors from different geographical and artistic backgrounds to support the participants in their development. A core group will stay during the whole period, others for one or two weeks, and yet others come in only for a day or two.
Participation is based on motivation, responsibility and knowledge.
The participants are expected to work independently, and to engage in focused development of one or more concepts or projects during the three weeks. You must also to be able to function well within a group on a day-to-day basis, as well as when giving and receiving critique.
In addition, a proactive attitude is expected, and the participants must take part in the full program. Success depends largely on the willingness to inspire and help each other.
As a form of closure, the last three days of EEA12-Turkey will be dedicated to presentations of the projects the participants have worked and received feedback on, including written and visual components, and an exhibition that is open to the public.