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Joya: arte + ecología, Almeria AER resident announced

Large fabric light installation
Large fabric light installation
Gwen Van Den Bout - Sanctuary of serenity
Written by
Abbi Fletcher
Published date
03 April 2019

Gwen Van Den Bout is currently on the MA Narrative Environment course at CSM. She has been selected as the AER artist in residence at Joya: arte + ecología, Spain.

The not-for-profit arts organisation is an arts led field-research centre based at the farmstead of Cortijada Los Gázquez. The residency offers an ‘off-grid’ experience in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez in the north of the Provincia de Almería, Andalucía.

In collaboration with The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme, set up by Professor Lucy Orta UAL Chair of Art for the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Fashion in 2015, (AER) provides UAL graduates with the exceptional opportunity to apply for short residencies at one of our internationally renowned host institutions, to explore concerns that define the 21st century – biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy, and human rights. Through research, studio practice, critiques and mentoring the AER programme is designed to envision a world of tomorrow; to imagine and create work that challenges how we interact with the environment and each other.


Read Gwen Van Den Bout's successful residency proposal:

My work is often described as spatial, narrative and material research-oriented. Last academic year I graduated from my Master “Narrative Environments” at UAL, specialising in site-specific installations. I have a broad knowledge of storytelling, material futures and 'spaceology'.

With this residency I am hoping to achieve personal and professional developments. Currently, I am running my own studio. What I do mis a lot is conversation and collaboration with fellow artists. To spark ideas and help each other further. Professionally, the region and geology of the area appeals to me, because the project I would like to focus on during the residency “Future Geology” would benefit from this. In the residency I would like to research the mountain area and let that inform the art. I am welcoming the opportunity to extend my current knowledge in a challenging and multi-disciplinary context.

For this residency I would like to expand on the project “Future Geology”. This is one of my ongoing material futures projects which I propose to conduct further research and material experimentation for during the focused period of the residency. As a multi-disciplinary artist my work always involves creative research, narratives, installation art and material innovation.

“Future Geology” focusses on the simulation of human effects on the earth’s crust. In the era of Anthropocene, human activities have a global impact on the Earth. The project addresses the effects of humankind depleting natural resources and polluting our soil. In reading rocks, we read the story of our restless planet. We come to understand its complex patterns of interaction and the nature of change over deep geological time.

Therefore, I created ‘future stones’; made of artificial materials such as metal, chemical resin, plastic, aluminium, concrete, textile, plaster, glass fiber and glass. In this project I am looking for new compositions that question how our soil can be used for aesthetic purposes, exploring the design opportunities presented by recycled materials. In the residency I would like to develop and discover the potential of these new materials further.

The main execution plan is extend and develop new material tests. The aim is to create a installation where my findings are reflected and translated 3dimensionally. Furthermore, I am looking into options and possibilities to create a new and sustainable material as a source in itself.

The passion for this residency grew from the fascination in sustainability, contemporary practice and bridging the gap between the cultural, commercial and natural realm. The main drive in my work is the admiration of the ecology and its relationship with the Anthropocene. Last year I got shortlisted for the “Universal Sea Project – Pure or Plastic?!” with my installation artwork and I won the open call of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2015. My CV and portfolio show how my skills and experiences developed into this direction and demonstrates that this residency would be of great value and a logical future step. I hope you will consider my application favourably and grant me the opportunity to give you more information about myself.

Find out more about the AER 2019 Programme