2016 Back Apartment Residencies Fellows

CEC ArtsLink is pleased to announce the 2016 CEC ArtsLink Back Apartment Residencies Fellows. The program provides opportunities for international artists and curators to conduct research, collaborate with the local arts community and create new work in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Farrah Karapetian (Los Angeles, CA)
Residency in May 2016

Farrah Karapetian is a California-based artist working primarily with camera-less photography. Exploring struggle as her subject, Karapetian achieves imagery that refigures the medium of photography around bodily experience. She received a California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship, a grant for Artistic Innovation from the Center for Cultural Innovation in 2012 and was a resident at the MacDowell Colony in 2010. Karapetian’s most recent solo exhibition was at Danziger Gallery in New York in 2015.

Karapetian is particularly interested in the idea of what makes propaganda successful. Her work is influenced by the Russian avant-garde tradition which strongly ties abstraction, photography, and political expression. The National Library of Russia has an extensive collection of global propaganda. Karapetian will explore this historical work and the Library's collection of avant-garde photography and books. Collecting relevant imagery and text, she will work to achieve an abstract visual system and distill it into the camera-less photographic language.

Mantu Das (Assam, India)
Residency in May 2016

Mantu Das is a painter currently working in the Space Studio Baroda, India. Das is inspired by the rich tradition of the folk-lore, proverbs and fables from his native Assam in the Northeastern India. A raconteur in visuals, his practice focuses on pictorial satires juxtaposing regional history and fables with contemporary popular culture and current events. Das unfolds multiple narratives within a single frame, often an imaginary realm where he artist interrogates and addresses the present socio-politico-cultural events. Das’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in India, UK, South Korea, and France.

Mantu Das will explore St. Petersburg’s history of evolution, power transfer, religious supremacy and transformation. As an outsider-observer, he will seek a deeper sociological, political or religious context. Referencing the current popular and mundane, the artist will create new narratives to re-establish facts through personal fantasies, myth and stories.

Marni Shindelman (Athens, GA) and Nate Larson (Baltimore, MD)
Residency in June 2016

Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman investigate the data tracks we amass through networked communication. Their collaborative work ties the invisible to actual sites, anchoring the ephemeral in photographs and immersive video installations. The artists recently completed site-specific projects for the Dumbo Business Improvement District in New York, the Indianapolis International Airport in Indiana, Atlanta Celebrates Photography and the Digital Arts and Entertainment Laboratory (DAEL) in Georgia, the Format International Photography Festival in the UK, the Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts in California, and Third Space Gallery in New Brunswick. They were artists-in-residence at Light Work and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Twitter estimates that there are over 500 million posts daily. In the ongoing project Geolocation, the artists track the locations of hundreds of tweets in the US, Canada and the UK through their GPS coordinates and make photographs to mark their sites in the real world. The photographs are paired with the originating text. The artists’ process explores the massive collection of personal data, grounding it in physical form.  Since 2011, the artists have accumulated over seven hundred images. In St. Petersburg, they will make a portfolio of fifty photographs, thus embarking on the investigation of multiple non-Western sites.

Martina Stefanova (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Residency June 1-10, 2016

Martina Stefanova is the founder and CEO of DOMA Art Foundation in Bulgaria. She produced, curated and managed three editions of the festival of contemporary art and culture DOMA Art Fest: “NORDICA” in 2015 on contemporary art of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway; “The heARTbeat of New Russia” in 2014; and “The heARTbeat of South Korea” in 2013. The DOMA Art Festival’s goal is to increase public engagement with culture, art, urban architecture and development, to encourage cultural exchange between local and international artists.

Stefanova will visit arts organizations and meet new artists and cultural producers. She will share and exchange expertise and explore possibilities for collaborative projects.

Joshua Goode (Fort Worth, TX)
Residency in July 2016

Joshua Goode chairs the Department of Fine Arts at Tarrant County College South in Fort Worth, TX. His artistic practice centers on creating an alternate history and mythology to preserve memories of childhood and to deal with traumatic family issues. Goode created the fictitious Aurora – Rhoman civilization inspired by the achievements of major historical figures. Having studied history and worked as an archaeologist on many actual excavations, Goode conducts staged excavations around the world, working with the community as a performance. His constructed artifacts of the invented civilization mix fact and fiction to appropriate and distort the history and myths of each region he engages. The actual and fake objects “found” during these digs have been exhibited in Spain, Germany, Russia, Croatia, Egypt, Italy, China, and the US, among others.

Goode and his research institute, The Aurora-Rhoman Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics, will examine the evidence of the ancient civilization in St. Petersburg. Inspired by amateur archeologists such as Heinrich Schliemann who discovered Troy and by past elaborate hoaxes like that of the Piltdown Man, Goode will use his “discoveries” to manipulate and verify the invented civilization. The archaeological performance and installation will begin with an extensive historical research and end in an exhibit. The discoveries and claims will be false and absurdly comical but based on real research.

Felipe Castelblanco

Felipe Castelblanco (lives and works between the US, UK and Colombia)
Residency time TBC

Felipe Castelblanco is a Colombian/American interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of socially engaged and new media art. Most recently, he has constructed an invisible wall connecting children across two continents (Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh); collaborated with participants from 10 countries to turn the world upside-down (Future Tenant Gallery); and assembled a team of day laborers to paint houses—on canvas—in the streets of Philadelphia (Practice Gallery). Among his collaborative endeavors is THE DRIFT, a floating platform for creative projects that explore the rivers and waterfronts within the city of Pittsburgh through performances, lectures, and buoyant interventions. Castelblanco’s work has been exhibited in the US and internationally, including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the San Diego Museum of Art in California, FAD festival in Brazil, FIVAC festival in Cuba, and the Valenzuela Klenner Gallery in Colombia.

Castelblanco will examine the work of several contemporary Russian art collectives, such as VOINA, that engage with public space, politics and institutional critique. He will research and sketch participatory projects and public interventions exploring issues of representation, access to public space and social engagement for unlikely sites around the city. The point of departure will be the fictional and historic geography of St. Petersburg described in the short stories of Nikolai Gogol. The writer, his legacy and production will serve as a reference to navigate and understand the ongoing dynamics, relations and tensions.

Ernest Truely (lives and works between the US, Finland and Estonia)
Residency September 2-27, 2016

Ernest Truely is a US artist s and a founding member of Error Collective with the artists from Nordic and Baltic countries. Error dedicates disused spaces for cultural and social exchange through the design and construction of functional, site specific installation from available materials. The Error’s projects and installations were realized in the UK, Germany, Turkey, Sweden, Finland and Slovenia. Truely is currently working on his PhD at the School of Art, Architecture and Design in Helsinki, Finland and ?teaching new media classes at Tallinn University, Estonia.

Truely will research beauty and spa culture in St. Petersburg to build upon his experience in creating sauna and spa installations in Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and UK. He will collaborate with local artists, cultural producers and people in the beauty industry to create work about spa and salon experience. During the Art Prospect festival 2016 Truely will make a series of public performances titled @ErniesPopUpSpa where he invites the public to join him exploring trust, touch, intimacy and transformation through haircuts and the salon experience.

Photo by Svarzbein

Kathryn Bonansinga (Cincinnati, OH)
Residency mid-September 2016

Kathryn Bonansinga is the Director of School of Art at the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. She is a contemporary art curator interested in public art that engages audiences and embraces social practice and environmental sustainability. Bonansinga teaches a studio course about public art which culminates annually with a design of a public art project for a specific neighborhood in Cincinnati. Her recent book, "Curating at the Edge: Art at the U.S./Mexico Border," addresses projects realized with the artists Alejandro Almanza, Marcela Armas, Atherton/Keener, Margarita Cabrera, Tania Candiani, and Liz Cohen among others.

Bonansinga will research the annual Art Prospect Festival of contemporary art in St. Petersburg. During the festival, she will meet with the participants and observe the interactive and socially engaged public art projects. Bonansinga will write a paper for the international art press about the model practices at the festival. She will also meet with curators of contemporary art, specifically Alexander Borovsky, Head of the Department of Contemporary Art at the State Russian Museum, to research Russia’s current museology.

Clare Dolan (Glover, VT)
Residency in October 2016

Clare Dolan is a Nurse/Puppeteer and the Founder and Chief Operating Philosopher of the Museum of Everyday Life in Glover, Vermont. Her early interest in object collection and experience as a touring puppeteer with the Bread and Puppet Theater informs the mission of the Museum to explore, analyze and celebrate banal but beloved objects we touch every day. Dolan’s work appropriates the visual vocabulary of the Museum (drawers, cabinets, vitrines, frames, titles and labels, pedestals, wall text, etc.) and the performative vocabulary of museums (guided tours, docents, security guards, educational lectures, surveys, promotional posters, maps and cordons and barriers). These familiar devices are re-assembled into installations and performances that challenge the notions of culture and upend understanding of the mundane and the extraordinary.


During the residency, Dolan plans to develop the next chapter of Museum of Everyday Life drawing inspiration from St. Petersburg’s cultural institutions and the grassroots cultural productions. She’ll work with several small museums with particular visions and subject matter charting the display strategies of the exhibitions and observing visitors as they interact. She will seek out collectors and performative installation artists working in similar arenas.

Walker Tufts (Fishersville, VA)
Residency in November 2016

Walker Tufts is US artist and collaborator who uses writing, art and dialogue to build new creative knowledge. At Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, NC, he created A Field Guide to Empty Lots, 2015 that explores ecological and minority histories of empty lots in one of the neighborhoods. During artist residencies at CorwenField Stwdio in Wales, Tufts helped to develop an art strategy for the town and create the Dol Corwenna park that explores the present and future of the Welsh landscape in the face of climate change and biosecurity threats (2013-14). The Bibotorium, an educational saloon during the Hidden City Festival in Philadelphia in 2013, included a time machine, tea bar, boatyard, and public think-tank that explored drinking water’s future in Philadelphia. Tufts’s numerous projects were realized in the US and abroad. He lectures extensively.

Walker Tufts will expand Kitchens & Capitalism, a long-term research project that examines the way different types of kitchens resist and/or replicate capitalism. The Nixon / Khrushchev kitchen debate shaped the initial direction of this work. Inventories of each item in a kitchen reveal the complex global network that comes to rest in our cabinets. Tuft will complete an inventory of a contemporary kitchen in St. Petersburg and research the Soviet kitchens. Weekly, he will host a public event as a performance and research. The participants will be able to critique and extend the work. After the residency, the collected materials will be curated for the artist’s website and a small publication.

Seth Ellis (US artist based in Brisbane, Australia)
Residency in December 2016

Seth Ellis is a narrative and visual artist. His current work examines how written stories alter with their media of transmission, and how technology helps contemporary readers become co-authors. Ellis produced prints, artist’s books, screen-based interactive projects and collaborative performance. He has shown and performed work in Madrid, Spain, the International Digital Media and Arts conference in San Diego, CA, the New Music Festival in Greensboro, NC, and, most recently, at the Pratt-MWP Gallery in Utica, NY. He has been a resident artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and a Research Fellow at the Center for Critical Inquiry, UNC-Greensboro.

Ellis will continue his ongoing project, Monuments of Kronstadt that began in 2015 as a three-channel video installation investigating the history of the town from the point of view of an outsider. He plans to collaborate with local artists and curators, test new interactive work, and continue assembling the materials for a book of research, photography, collage and essays. Ellis will also develop an interactive audio project, ????????, that explores the history of Russian radio as a parallel narrative to the history of that medium in the U.S.

Maria Chávez

Photo by Jamie O. Bradovich

Maria Chavez (Brooklyn, NY)
Residency in 2017 (TBD)

Born in Peru, Maria Chávez is an abstract turntablist, sound artist & DJ.  She is currently a research fellow for the Sound Practice Research Department at Goldsmith’s University of London. She presents workshops and lectures for major universities and institutions worldwide. Chavez was awarded the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble commission in 2015 to present a new sound piece at the Brooklyn Museum & Morgan Library and a New Works commission from the Jerome Foundation.  In 2015, her sound installations and sculptures were exhibited at BRIC Arts | Media in Brooklyn, MoMA PS1 Printshop, Present Company, Brooklyn and CONTEXT Art Miami at the Sound Positions Pavilion in conjunction with Art Basel, Miami. Influenced by chance & improvisation in contemporary art, Chavez collaborated with Christian Marclay and the Whitney Museum of American Art, performed alongside Pauline Oliveros, Thurston Moore, Phill Niblock and worked with Merce Cunningham.

The Rain of Applause is a multi-channel sound installation containing the audio of continuous applause, recorded from live events in theaters and performance spaces. The sound of applause creates an auditory illusion. As the perception of the listener shifts, the recordings of applause can sound as a rainstorm. The artist will create a sonic map of the city composing a sound piece The Rain of Applause: St. Petersburg that will contain live recordings of applause from various local venues. Presented as a 12 channel speaker installation, the exhibition with be accompanied by an artist talk, workshop and a sound performance.