Specjalnie dla Was przeprowadziliśmy wywiad z naszą rezydentką Justyną Werbel, która gościłą u nas w ramach projketu "INKU Szczecin Incubator for Culture Artist in Residence." Życzymy miłej lektury.

Justyna Werbel (b.1983) - obtained her BDes in Industrial Design and is currently perusing her masters in the IAMD program at OCADU in Toronto, Canada. Werbel's works dance between social practice,film, performance, sculptural installation, drawing and photography. She creates interdisciplinary
projects that require participation from an audience and involve social engagement as a method ofresearch. Justyna recently has been selected to participate in a 4-month long mentorship alongside filmmaker Isaac Julien as part of OCADU’s Global Experience Project. She is currently in the midst of an artistic residency at the INKU Szczecin Incubator for Culture in Poland.

What is an artist residency program?

Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academics, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow an individual to explore their practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.

IK: Why did you decide to do a residency and why in Szczecin?

JW: My current master's program at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto requires their candidates to fulfill a residency program. When I learned about this, without a second thought I knew exactly where I wanted to explore my practice. This is the first part of the answer to your question, the second part , why Szczecin...has a bit more history. In 1986 my family fled Szczecin, Poland to Canada with a four-year stop in Germany. In 2011 I returned to Szczecin with intentions to meet and create a relationship with the individuals who raised my parents.. so my grandmothers. Subsequently, I decided to stay and reside in Szczecin for the next 4 years. During these four years I met a really wonderful community of people that essentially became my second family. When I mentioned I was looking for a residency program in Szczecin to artist and friend Natalia Szostak this past winter, she highly recommended INKU. Upon further research and conversation I found out that this venue once housed the ‘Palace of Youth’. From what I have gathered, this was the place where children learned how to draw paint, sculpt, dance etc. ... it made sense. I didn’t get my opportunity to participate and engage with the building in the 80’s due to my emigration, so this experience has kind of been a substitute... filling a void of sorts.

IK:Is Szczecin open to cultural projects? And What have you done during this time in Szczecin?

JW: I think we (and when I say we I mean the people who reside in Szczecin), Szczecin’s cultural promoters both public and private and visitors from abroad certainly would agree with me when I say that Szczecin is in a constant state of engaging with and promoting cultural initiatives. Just in the short time I have been here I have attended the TICASS project initiated by the Academy of Art in Szczecin, where I had the opportunity to present during the ‘Theoretical Basis of Visuality from Intercultural Perspective’ Conference. I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful project named ‘Places and Borders’ in Stolec organized by Teatr Kana, Teatr Brama and the Pommersches Landesmuseum. I attended at least eight art exhibitions, three concerts, two artist talks and a handful of events. This is all while coordinating studio visits and trying to develop my own body of work.

IK: What are your plans for this residency?

JW: My practice usually involves a collaborative component, so during these talks with Natalia we decided to develop this project together. Natalia is currently working on her Ph.D in Poznan and while exchanging and reflecting on what we are currently involved in, we realized that some of our research themes and methodologies overlap. I don’t want to give too much away before the exhibition but I will mention that the work is divided into two halves: fieldwork documentation as well as happenings and studio practice. I can say that it will be a sort of inventory of the circumstances and situations that occurred during the duration of our time spent together. Another important element of this residency is community involvement. I will be hosting two workshops, one for youth and another for adults. I’m hoping to create a permanent installation for INKU, so stay tuned for more information. The dates forthese will be the 12th of July and space is limited.

IK: How is your residency so far?

JW: I have been here for nearly a month at INKU, so I have many things to say about both the institution and my collaboration. But I will begin with an anecdote that will summarize my experience thus far... when I first arrived and walked up to the gate of the institution, I encountered a women in
the front yard with her hands and knees deep in a pile of earth carefully planting flowers for the summer months, we exchanged warm glances. Shortly after she was introduced to me as the Deputy Director of the Institution. It speaks volumes when individuals that run an institution give care to the
smallest things. Since I have arrived I have felt nothing but support and encouragement. Without trying to sound like too much of a romantic, I have an affinity for this city and the people that reside here, this in itself has been a very large part of my residency experience.

IK: When can we see the results of your residency?

JW: The date for the exhibition will be on July the 15th at 7pm. Natalia and I invite everyone to come join us for the opening and perhaps a goodbye embrace.

IK: Any last thoughts, or comments?

JW: Even the ghosts here are kind.