UTOPIA & NATURE
Based on H.D. Thoreau's “Walden

EXPERIMENTATION AND RESEARCH IN CONTEMPORARY
ARTISTIC
PRACTICES



Utopia as an expression of unlimited imagination and desire is a concept that has always fascinated artists. Art can see in utopia a means to lift the restrictions of reality and accomplish the free expression of its visions. Starting from this connection and its various instantiations in the history of art, this workshop deals with the multiple significations, implications and dimensions of utopia. In everyday discourse the term ‘utopia’ is usually connected with an ideal future, with what seems impossible within the confines of reality, and is thus bound to create margins for many and often contradictory interpretations. Utopias are the places of dreams and hopes for a better life, which provide an escape from an always incomplete and constraining status quo. Sometimes they involve grandiose metaphysical schemata, other times they take the form of ephemeral shelters distanced from detailed sociopolitical reflection. Always, however, their creation is based on the criticism of established (political and aesthetical) institutions and social structures. Inspiring antithetical political and artistic practices, praised but also criticized, utopia has been a focus of debate for many disciplines and approaches. By blending theoretical discussion, aesthetic reflection and the artistic work of the participants, this workshop aims at critically exploring the various interconnections between theory and praxis, vision and reality, desire and finitude, utopia and dystopia.
In this workshop we will research methods and tactics and we will ask from the students to collect material or to archive material that they already have and reconsider it, to think alternative ways of presentation of materials, ways of incorporation of them in their pictorial language. The aim of the workshop is to exhibit the results of this research, the ideas or the work that will come out of it.

This year’s workshop investigates the relationship between contemporary artistic practices and the natural environment. Art is often seen and spoken in terms of being environmental, critical and subversive. For the past decades, the natural environment has seen radical changes and has been at the forefront of many contemporary art projects. What is the relationship between art and nature? During the workshop, we will consider different ideas in contemporary art making and theory to examine from varying perspectives the question of art and nature.


.

ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts)

Organizers-Facilitators: Vassilis Vlastaras, artist, Lecturer, Athens School of Fine Arts and Maria Glyka, visual artist, teacher BA & MA Vakalo college of Art and Design.

ASFA annex
Evligia Hill, Rethymno

Basic timetable:
4 July: arrivals
5 July – 7 July: artists presentations
8 - 20 July: preparation of the work
21-23 July: show and presentations of final works
24 July: end of show – departures

Number of participants: 11

In collaboration with:
Mr. Gary Woodley, artist and lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
Mr. Klaas Hoek, artist, head of the postgraduate department of University of Utrecht and head of the printmaking of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

Guests Professors and artists:

Mrs Caroline de Lannoy , artist and lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, Byam Shaw School of Art, Central St Martins College of Art - University of the Arts London, and West Dean College.
Mr. Jim Hobs, visual artist.
Dr.Yannis Stavrakakis, associate Professor of Political Sciences of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica,
Dr. Fay Zika, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Theory of Art Department of Theory and History of Art The Athens School of Fine Arts
Mrs. Katerina Gouziouli, art theorist.


info



UTOPIA PROJECT 2010
"Utopia project" is an annual summer workshop organized by the Athens School of Fine Arts in Rethymno Crete.”


Athens School of Fine Arts


Organizers-Facilitators: V. Vlastaras, artist, Lecturer, ASFA and M. Glyka, visual artist, teacher BA & MA Vakalo college of Art and Design.

Basic timetable:
4 July: arrivals
5 July – 7 July: artists presentations
8 - 20 July: preparation of the work
21-23 July: show and presentations of final works
24 July: end of show – departures
Number of participants: 14

In collaboration with:
Mr. Gary Woodley, artist and lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
Mr. Klaas Hoek, artist, head of the postgraduate department of University of Utrecht and head of the printmaking of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

This year project:

 


UTOPIA & NATURE
Based on H.D. Thoreau's “Walden
EXPERIMENTATION AND RESEARCH IN CONTEMPORARY
ARTISTIC
PRACTICES






General Information

Program
Athens School of Fine Arts offers an annual summer residency program under the title Utopia Project for postgraduate or recent graduates artists who intend to collaborate with experienced artists, theorists and political scientists in order to explore, under a different every year theme, artistic practices and theoretical approaches in the contemporary society.
Participants join the project in workshops, lectures, group and individual tutorials and critiques and leave the residency with input on new project plans organized accordingly each year's theme. Artists attend the program to get a creative surge, get a fresh perspective on their work, revitalize their practice, take their work in a new direction, make plans for a focused praxis and to become part of an international community of artists, theorists and curators.

History
Utopia Project has started by the initiative of two artists. Vassilis Vlastaras, visual artist and lecturer in the Athens School of Fine Arts and Maria Glyka, visual artist and teacher in the Ba and Ma Program of Vakalo College of Art and Design. The workshop is organized by the Athens School of Fine Arts and it is taking part every July in the Asfa annex in Rethymno Crete. The first Utopia Project was held in 2006 in Rethymno under the title "Utopia as an Island" with an international body of 15 participants, guests and faculty. That was followed by "Utopia and Violence" in 2007, "Utopia and Praxis: May68-May08" in 2008, "Utopia and Youth" in 2009. This year it runs under the title "Utopia and Nature, based on H.D. Thoreau's "Walden". By now the whole body of participants guests artists, theorists counts over the number of eighty people.

Goals
In this a-disciplinary program, students are free to pursue work in any art-related genre and to create their own course of study, working independently and with the support of the the coordinating and guest artists and theorists.

Purpose 
The workshop is intended to lift the boundaries between fine arts, traditional and new media, artists and theorists. It aims to create a space for participants of all disciplines to interact with a wide range of artists, scientists, theorists, media practitioners and visionaries and provoke them to investigate their work independently and transdisciplinarily in both a cultural and studio context according to the year's subject.

Location
Utopia Project is an international program organized by Asfa. The residencies take place in the annex of Asfa in Rethyno Crete every July for about 20 days. Asfa provides a range of accommodation listings and arranges a special group rate at a student hotel each summer as well as student travel and city guides.
Participants make their own arrangements for travel from their country of origin to Crete. Nevertheless accommodation in shared rooms, basic meals and basic materials are provided by Asfa. The annex is uniquely placed on the top of Evligias Hill in Rethymno, 15 min walk from the center of the old historical town. Daily bus schedule links Rethymno to the airports of Chania and Heraklio.

Language
The whole part of the workshop takes place in English. Many languages are spoken but talks, critiques and lectures all take place in English. Participants must have a good command of spoken English.

Facilities, Equipment and Resources
Inside and outside working spaces for making or install art work, workshop and computer stations with scanner and printer and WiFi access fulfill the residency needs.

Achievement
Each year, artists create art projects (paintings, film or videos, installations, performances, photographs, etc. Participants’ exhibit or present documentation of their final art and research projects in the exhibition space inside the site.  Through discussions they gain the critical, technological, and aesthetic experiences from the guest artists and theorists. The last week beside concluding their final personal work they are expected to take part on the organization and realization of a small publication that presents the group's idea of each year's subject.

Community Alumni
Past years' participants continue to take part in residencies by giving and receiving critiques, exhibiting, as program advisors, and as guests of the Utopia Project.

UTOPIANS 2010

UTOPIANS 2010
michalis, aglae
giannis, anna, andreas, klaas
natalia, maria, alkistis, Kristbjorg
fanis, garry, fay, giannis
maria, panagiotis, ryan, katerina
giannis, bryan, caroline, giorgos
victor, vassilis, jim, julia