Koumaria 2020 Open Call
This year’s theme:
Transforming the Archive: Improvising Across Media/Medea
Improvising the Archive/Archiving the Improvisatory
By artist collective Medea Electronique
FROM MAY 7th to MAY 17th
Deadline: Feb 1st. 2020
Please take note of the dates—we have moved the residency to the EARLY SUMMER to take advantage of different weather patterns and natural landscapes.
Applications from artists, musicians, composers, performer, philosophers, archivists/researchers, video artists, designers, dancers and anyone who designs, builds and/or employs new interfaces or pre-existing interfaces in innovative ways, and performers who are excited by the prospect of working with new interfaces, or becoming one.
Since 2009 the artist collective Medea Electronique has organized an annual 10-day experimental artist residency, Koumaria, near Sparta, Greece (in the village of Sellasia), focusing on improvisation and new media practices. New-media artists from all over the world, inspired by the Greek natural landscape, come together to create a multicultural and cross-media ‘dialogue’ culminating in a collective presentation at the end of the residency. Past residents have formed lasting friendships and new artistic partnerships. For us the residency serves as a model for future creative collaborations.
The residency is held at an organic olive oil farm at the foot of Mount Taygetos in Sparta. The base for the residency, a modern and comfortable house, features dormitory-style bedrooms, large and comfortable common rooms (featuring fireplaces and magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and fields), two primary spaces for project development and practice, terraces, rooftop overlooks, and a large and modern kitchen. The surrounding hills, mountains, villages and the not so distant sea, coupled with a vast expanse of sky, stars, and ever-changing mountain vistas, afford the residents amble space and opportunity for creative work. Meals are taken communally, with an emphasis on fresh and local produce and traditional recipes. In this environment, artists not only have the chance to live and work together interacting with the Greek landscape, but also to trade their experiences concerning everyday life and culture. Chores are undertaken collectively, but there is ample time for residents to work, create, explore the surroundings and enter into new artistic partnerships.
This year’s theme:
Transforming the Archive: Improvising Across Media/Medea
This year’s residency is on the theme of Transforming the Archive: Improvising Across Media/Medea. Medea Electronique has collected documentation (audio, video, photos, text, image) of its past 11 residencies, in and about Sellasia, approx. 10 km north of Sparta. Focusing on site-specific mixed media performance, this material not only traces the history and development of Koumaria, but also that of the village of Sellasia—stories told, histories revealed, places explored, narratives uncovered. What are the potentials of an archive that is simultaneously a collection of cutting-edge site specific new media art, and a repository of village life and change? How can the improvisatory impulse behind the art created at Koumaria interact creatively, faithfully and responsibly with the highly improvisatory ways in which communities evolve and grow? What might an archive be like which can reveal both, and allow the archive visitor to themselves be an active improvising creative agent—an archivist of the archive? Medea is in the process of designing and implementing an innovative digital archive of all this documentation, an archive which is intended to allow visitors to play the role of archivists, and to allow the archival material itself to play the role of materials for new content.
Koumaria 2020 will explore these themes. In particular we will focus on translating previous archival content into new media. How can one dance a photograph, or musically perform a text? How can archival fixed media serve as the basis of an interactive installation? We therefore invite applicants to explore past Koumaria performances/projects as found at: https://medeaelectronique.com/koumaria/
Your application should include a way you would like to reimagine one or more of these projects in a different medium or media. Examples might include (but of course feel free to propose your own idea!):
What would it mean to re-stage a past performance in the original site, but in a new medium (say dance in situ a musical piece)?
How might a past piece of documentation have its meaning altered when translated into a new medium?
What happens when the same work, presented in two media is brought into dialogue with itself?
How might a digital archive both facilitate such transformations, and present them?
Your proposed project should think creatively about our existing archive—about ways to improvise with it.
Given the theme, we are looking for artists excited by the idea of collaborative artistic creation, grounded in an improvisatory spirit and practice, who are excited by the thought of reanimating our archived works. We hope this call will be of interest not only to new and mixed media artists, but also to archivists excited by the idea of thinking about the archive itself, and methodologies for its creation and access, in new ways.
We will present the outputs of the residency in a performance and mixed-media presentation in Sellasia (the local village) at the end of our time there.
It is worth emphasizing that Koumaria’s focus is COLLECTIVE art creation. Individual should expect, and desire, substantive input from other residents, and be open to having their projects morph considerably during the course of the residency. While the final outputs we produce may each have a primary producer behind them, Koumaria is not the place for the development and presentation of solo works/content.
Medea Electronique, being an eclectic art collective, is interested in people from diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds. Past residents have come from a variety of artistic backgrounds, and from numerous countries. While assorted nationalities and ethnicities have been represented, the common language of the residency is English (although fluency is not necessary, an ability to interact with other artists in English is necessary).
Members of Medea Electronique will be on hand to both assist in guiding the overall direction of the residency, and to fully participate in the residency as artists. While these members will be able to lend their expertise in assorted new media practices, and have great knowledge of the area, they are equal partners with the residents in the artistic production. In other words, the Koumaria Residency is not a school, or workshop in new media art production run or taught by Medea Electronique, the residents are expected to be experienced in their chosen media, understand the use of the technologies they interact with, and come with these technologies or make it clear in advance what they will need to be supplied.
(Note: This is a remote region of Greece, with limited ability to obtain tech/electronic materials while we are there. Residents will need to check in advance concerning what materials will be available, and what they will need to bring. It is far easier to get in the area a bail of wire, or a piece of pipe then a semi-conductor or an obscure battery!)
Artists working in any media or practice are welcome, as long as you have experience in collective improvised work, and interest in the archive project outlined above.
Please submit the following materials to the online application link
Or sent an email at
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- A completed application form
- A personal statement detailing why you wish to participate (which should address the 2020 residency theme)
- A small sample of your individual work (site, demo, pictures etc.)
- Your C.V.