I'm happy to announce I've been selected for the Open Lab at Centre for Urbanistics in Berlin, Germany. Over the course of a few weeks I will in residence at ZK/U, where I intend to develop my interest in honey bees as a metphor for creativity, community and a vision of Utopia.
My original proposal for ZK/U below:
Open Lab Project Proposal
I am a scavenger, a collector, a researcher and a fabricator. I prefer to work in non-traditional sites creating work that integrates into the character of a place. I like a site with some experience - unfinished floors, walls with layers of paint, a site that tells its’ story through architecture, materials and wear – a place with a life of its’ own - past, present and future. All of my previous residencies have resulted in work that I would never have made, had I stayed home and which I could not really imagine until I got to the sites. I re-grouted the stone floors of a 13th Granary with spices in the Czech Republic, covered the walls of what was once a private home in wall paper made from white feathers in Malmo Sweden and made a natural history museum display with dozens of toy plastic animals in an abandoned Store Front in Greensborough, NC. I most recently diagrammed a section of human DNA in found plywood in an industrial space in San Francisco.
These projects are conversations with the site, grounded in physical investigation and historical research. I spent the first ten years of my professional life restoring antiques and art objects. I begin every site-based project by exploring and repairing some aspect of the site where I am working. It is an introduction, a gesture of appreciation for the hospitality given me by the space. In the Czech Republic I swept and washed the stone floors of the granary where I was working. It was through the activity of sweeping that I was inspired to create a work that could be smelled before it was seen. I wanted to make something that would integrate with the spirit of the granary, without interrupting the light, the silence or the symmetry of the building. At the end of my residency they kept the piece and let the elements remove the spices over time.
My Project with Open Lab would be similarly site inspired but driven by an investigation of Utopian metaphors of the beehive. I have been studying Utopian impulses in art and society for most of my adult life. I am currently teaching a class that studies utopian communal experiments in the early 20th Century as a way to better contextualize the circumstances that lead to interdisciplinary practices in art and design. I wrote my Master’s Thesis on the search for Utopia in honeybee communities, comparing scientific and creative interpretations of the beehive as a utopian ideal in the late 19th and early 20th Cent. I have been longing for an opportunity to return to my bee research and combine it with my current studies of Utopian communal experiments. Exploring the ideas and idealism that inspire people to adapt, invent and create as a means to transform society.
I have considerable experience in building and installing for art, performance and film. I like to collaborate and am a good teacher. I want to meet other trans disciplinary practitioners and learn from them. I would like to do some research at The Weimar Bee Museum for a few days. But my main focus would be ZK/U and the city of Berlin.
Sincerely, Christina La Sala