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Friday, 20 February 2015

Barbora Uríková (Stanica Žilina-Záriečie SK)_interview by Orsolya Bálint (KÖM)

The Biennial creates a live platform for meeting and discussion

The first Performing V4 – Biennial of VARP-PA Residents taking place in Prague on the 26-27-28th of February will provide an exclusive insight into the Visegrad countries’ (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) contemporary art scene by presenting the very best works – theatre and dance performances, film premiere, concerts, workshops and a fine art exhibition – created in the framework of Visegrad Artist Residency Program—Performing Arts. We talked to Barbora Uríková from Stanica Žilina-Záriečie (SK), one of the organizing partner associations about selecting the participants of the Biennial and the unique possibilities offered by the VARP-PA program supporting performing art residencies in the region.

What is your artistic background and what did the possibility mean to you to work as a project partner in the framework of VARP-PA?
I am not an artist, but I work in a cultural node (Stanica Žilina–Záriečie), where artists are like “daily stuff”. It is a closed circle – we need each other to be able to work, one would not exist without the other. The program VARP-PA supports this mutual cooperation, exchange, enrichment, network, inspiration... and many other things, which make this common circle stronger and more meaningful. For me, as a theatre curator, it is necessary to constantly meet new artists, projects, organizations or venues and know more possibilities of collaboration. VARP-PA offers all these possibilities.

What is the significance of this program - and especially of the Biennial -, for the artists, the audience and for the region? 
The Biennial pushes the meaning of the VARP-PA program forward. It opens the program up to the public, makes it visible. However, the Biennial doesn’t only provide general information about the program itself, but what is even more important, it also advertises its results. The program takes care of the artist, supports their work, the process of creation, but doesn‘t follow their next steps – this is the assigmnet of the Biennial. The Biennial is a public confirmation that the program is successful and is really able to support creation of new shows in V4 countries. Another important part is that through the program, applicants cannot meet or even know each other. On the other hand, the Biennial creates a live platform among artists, venues, promoters and the audience. It gives a possibility to move out from the closed program process.

What were your experiences during the selection process for the Biennial? Along which principles did you chose the final participants?
I am happy that we could choose from 22 applications of different projects and genres. I always look forward to find something new, progressive, courageous. I think the final program of the Biennial offers to see various possibilities from performing arts. I like that some applicants applied with unusual outcomes of the program, for example an exhibition, a movie or a workshop. That can help the program to define itself and open the discussion about all the various fields performing arts can cover. When I was selecting the participants of the Biennial, of course I had my subjective point of view. I trust my first feeling right after watching the show. I try to focus on the quality of the project, not only its meaning, contents or form. These are the first things which you can see or get, but I also look at the particular projects in the context of the program – what kind of impact the program made on the artist and on his/her project. I am glad to see that the artists knew why they chose that particular host organisation, why they wanted to make this exact project and that their main reason was not money, but to make it happen. I am happy to see when the program and its financial support really helps artists to realise their projects.

Have you ever been part of a V4 program before?
Through Stanica we co-operate in many V4 projects as a partner, as well as an applicant. There are lots of collaborations, not only in the field of performing arts, but also in other genres. The International Visegrad Fund offers a great possibility to establish long term connections among V4 countries.

Who would you recommend the VARP-PA program to?
To the artists who have an idea of a new project, but don’t know how to start. I would recommend it to artists who mix various genres in their project and I would encourage them not to be afraid whether they still fit into the performing arts or not, and to all venues which have the possibility to host artists, even if they don’t have a studio. For example, in 2013 there was a residency in the cultural venue Banska St a nica that focused on managing artists in residency for contemporary visual arts. The Czech artistic group Handa Gote Research & Development (also performing an ‘Audiovisual Freestyle’ concert on the Biennial) used their residency there to create the set design which is very important part of their shows. They used the maximum the venue could give them, even though it didn’t have a dance studio, neither theatre technical equipment. Their residency resulted in a successful show titled Mission. 

What other countries or specific groups or artists do you have regular contact with within V4?
Through Stanica I have very close collaborations and relationships with Czech artists and organizations, little less in Hungary and Poland.

Have you ever been to Prague before? 
I used to visit Prague quite often.

What do you hope to gain from being present at the Biennial?
Personal meetings with all residents and succesfull applicants – that‘s something very special that the Biennial offers.

Do you have any wishes or suggestions regarding the future of the program and the Biennial? 
The Biennial has the ambition to be held each time in a different country, in a different city. It is a great idea, but not easy to realize. The Biennial has a potential to be able to create a portable network / platform through V4 countries and throug that to open discussion about performing arts in these countries and that‘s a challenge! 

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