SENSING PLACE

SENSING PLACE

Five day sensory workshop / residency, in beautiful surroundings of South Bohemia, focused on exploring our relationship to landscape/place, in order to inspire creativity, fuel the imagination and ground the body.

Introduction: brief concept

How do we get to know a particular place and how do we learn to experience it fully with all our senses? How can such an immersion in a place, create a space that helps us connect with who we are, in a particular moment in our lives? And how can this experience be used creatively, to feed the imagination, to open up our own habitual way of going about our business, to new ways of approaching challenge, whether artistic, professional or personal.

We will offer 5 days of focused and reflective workshop sessions, centred on exploring the relationship between oneself and our surroundings, through all the senses, in a small and focused group (maximum 16 participants), led by experienced artists/educators, within the tranquil surroundings of South Bohemian landscape. The approach is holistic, which means that even meals and their preparation and sharing, will be an integral part of the experience.

The last evening (Saturday) will involve a music performance, film screening and a feast in situ, with invited guests from Prague, as an occasion to celebrate the coming together of everyone, reflecting on the creative process and sharing the findings of our explorations.

Dates of workshop: PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE WORKSHOP WILL BE DELAYED TO SUMMER 2021 

Location: Chválkov, Vysočina Region, Czech republic 

Nearest town Kamenice Nad Lipou  http://www.kamenicenl.cz/

About the place and the motivation behind wanting to do this, there:

Ever since being fortunate enough to discover the calming beauty of this particular part of South Bohemia, nestled in Vysočina highlands, I understood the place has a unique genius loci, which helps to nourish the creative soul. Unlike other more dramatic locations, with spectacular nature, where landscape draws all the attention onto itself, this landscape is unassuming, gentle, expansive, while its openness and quality of light invites reflection, introspection and by extension, inspires in a number of ways. The fields and rolling hills allow the sky to breathe, while the surrounding spruce forest embodies the unknown, inviting one to get lost. On hot summer days, a walk through the forest can feel like a dive through an ocean, encountering mushrooms of all colours that grow in the moss like corals on a sea bed.

There are fields, small lakes and ponds, which one can swim in (if not too squeamish) as well as wild mushrooms and berries to pick. Because this used to be a relatively poor rural area, the landscape is sparsely populated and has so far escaped major waves of tourism.

The area itself has had some notable artists living there, such as: Vitezslav Novak (composer) or Otokar Brezina (poet, writer), who have been inspired by the landscape, in their own unique ways.

I personally have been coming to spend my summers (and also some winters) in the area for the past 20 years and the location already inspired number of my short films, with the landscape becoming a back drop or even the main protagonist:

From You to Me: https://vimeo.com/136716698

Summer Rituals: https://vimeo.com/93383147

Red Riding Hood: https://vimeo.com/48229619

Winter landscape:

RAILTRACKS with John Berger and Anne Michaels

From: 4 Generations of Women: Water Rituals, (Farmhouse in Chvalkov)

WORKSHOP VENUE:

The venue, where the workshop will be hosted (but not confined to) is a countryside farmhouse, with an enclosed courtyard, as well as beautiful barn, built as a theatre stage, with a large garden at the back. The house is located on the edge of a tiny village, with only a post office and a shop which opens for just a few hours on specific days.

The village is surrounded by fields and forests and is itself is 7 km from the nearest small town of Kamenice nad Lipou, where all accommodation will be provided (and transport too). However, expect to explore surrounding areas on foot as well as on a small local train.

Our dinners will also take place here.

Our workshop base – farmhouse in Chvalkov:

WHO and WHAT is the workshop for:

This workshop idea came to me slowly over the years and extended visits to this tranquil place, because of my own aspirations and needs as a creative city-based person, who equally craves spending time immersed in a landscape to counterbalance the fragmented city existence. As an artist whose practice spans over number of different disciplines, who feels excited by the potential of cross-fertilisation between the unexpected, I decided I wanted to create an opportunity for similar minds to meet, grounded in and inspired by these surroundings.

The concept for this programme comes out of my 15 year artistic research into the importance of touch, in dialogue with all other senses, in giving meaning to our human experience, including the aesthetic. Whether in art or everyday life, the embodied experience through all the senses allows for depth of engagement that often lacks in our “civilised” lives, where much of every day experience is mediated by technology, hence disembodied.

This workshop is open to all existing as well aspiring “inbetweeners” (term coined by the wonderful Sissel Tolaas), those who refuse to fit in a box (or unable to decided which box they prefer, being excited by many). You may be an artist, curator, writer, scientist, chef, or work in completely unrelated field. There is no need of prior experience of anything mentioned in the programme, all you need to bring is an open mind, curiosity and spirit of sharing.

The programme is designed to provide you with a space and structure to explore ideas without a fixed outcome, a space removed from your everyday reality, but grounded in a landscape, so as to allow for new (multi-sensory) experience and insight.

You may also wish to use the opportunity to explore an existing project, working on it from different, unexpected perspectives, with the intention of gaining new understanding, or even to find other potential collaborators to bring something surprising to your established approach.

Or perhaps your goal is more general, you are keen to try and shift your professional life in a new, more creative direction, by opening up to unique experiences, without knowing where exactly this might take you.

The key is openness and no fixed expectation on the outcome: simply allowing oneself to be surprised! Additionally, the programme can grow and adjust based on the particular needs of its participants, so that there is a fluidity of form and intention.

Dates of workshop: Tuesday 1st September – 5th September – Tuesday to Saturday (arriving Monday 31st August – leaving Sunday 6th September)

Location: Chválkov, Vysočina Region, Czech republic 

Nearest town: Kamenice Nad Lipou  http://www.kamenicenl.cz/

Price: £650  – please email: Tereza Stehlikova if you would like more details on how to reserve a place.

Note: we ask for a deposit of £150 to reserve your place. This is fully refundable till 30th June 2020. This is also the date when we ask you to pay the remaining £500 for the final confirmation of your place.

Price includes:

  • Shared accommodation in a rural farmhouse, on the edge of nearby town of Kamenice nad Lipou
  • Transport to and from the location of workshops by a minibus (10 min drive)
  • Tuesday – Saturday: Light lunch and evening dinner (alcoholic beverage can be purchased additionally)

Price does not include:

  • Transport to and from Prague (i.e. your flight/train)
  • Breakfasts (self-catering, with access to kitchen)

Details of accommodation:

The accommodation will be offered “in Solitude by the Forest”, a farmhouse with shared rooms of varied sizes (with options of 2 people or 3 people max.). You can get in touch with Tereza to state your preference in terms of sharing (or not) with others.

More information and images are here:

https://nasamoteulesa.net/

We encourage everyone to embrace this shared experience (or bring a fiend/partner) but understand some of you may prefer a private space. In this case we can will help you in finding an alternative accommodation nearby, which would have to be paid for separately (i.e. on top of the £650).

Getting there

We will expect you to arrive to Prague by Monday 31st August, midday. There are a number of budget airlines flying to Prague, as well as trains and coaches. If booked in advance, this can be a very reasonable price, as it is just after the busy summer season.

Transport between Prague and Kamenice nad Lipou

We will meet on Monday 31st August, at 2pm, in Prague Main Train station (Praha hlavni nadrazi)

From there we will travel together to the location (130km), the train takes 1 hour 50 minutes and is followed by a 30 minutes bus journey to Kamenice nad Lipou (on a minibus which will be organised for you).

On Sunday 6th September, we will organise transport back for you, from Kamenice nad Lipou, to the train station, where a direct train can be taken back to Prague. Tickets don’t need to be purchased in advance and only cost about 200 CZK (i.e. £7).

More travel information on request, as well as nearer the time.

Key organisers/workshop leaders:

Tereza Stehlíková works as an artist, filmmaker and a senior lecturer in still and moving image theory and practice, at the University of Westminster. She holds a PhD from the Royal College of Art, where she researched the tactile language of moving image. She is currently engaged in a cross-disciplinary research, investigating how moving image can be used to communicate embodied experience, by exploring multi-sensory aesthetics and embodiment. Tereza is a founder of Sensory Sites, an international collective based in London, generating collaborative exhibitions, installations and research projects that explore multi-sensory perception and bodily experience.  In the past she also co-founded Artesian, a journal for committed creativity, featuring the writings of John Berger, Don DeLillo amongst many others. Stehlikova has presented her research at a number of international conferences and her films and performances have been shown at a variety of film and art festivals around the world (including Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, 2017, and Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, 2019). Apart from the UK, she exhibited and shared her work internationally (Tokyo, Prague, Montreal, Helsinki, Iceland, China etc.).  Her ongoing long-term artist film project, 4 Generations of Women (capturing the complex relationships between four generations of women in her own family) has been Shortlisted for BFI 61st London Film Festival Experimenta pitch, presented at Svetozor Cinema in Prague and exhibited in a solo exhibition at Alchemy Film and Art Festival, in Hawick, 2019. http://www.terezast.com, http://cinestheticfeasts.com

Nitish Jain is an experiential-environments designer from India and currently based in Prague, Czech Republic. He holds an M.A. in Scenography (2018) from the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU), Prague and a Bachelors in Architecture (2012) from Sushant School of Art and Architecture (SSAA) India. Jain’s practice Studio MoreThanThat lays at the intersection of design, performance and architecture. It focuses on creating environments (through a phenomenological approach) that are centered around the sensory spectrum (touch, smell, taste, sound and sight) of the spectator. His projects playfully delve into perception and memory of space, as well as critically question the dominance of “visual” in our surrounding environments, often involve obscuring or de-emphasizing ‘the need to see’ in a performance. His recent architectural works include FČIL Espresso Bar (2019) in Uherské Hradiště, CR and Exposition of the Czech Republic for Sharjah Days of Heritage Festival (2018) UAE, and performances such as Spoonfed (2019) – an intimate, sensory theatre piece in which the audience perceive the show through tactility, smells, hearing; Sense and Edibility (2019) – a blindfolded dinner; and Stories [from], [to] & [by] Faraway Lands (2018) – an immersive, walking-theatre performance that combines storytelling traditions from India, Persia, Czech Republic and Norway. He has collaborated with various international artists and on multi-sensory project such as Fine Dining by E. Rosemarijn at Festival of Intimate Theatre (2019) and 4+4 Days in Motion (2018); Tangible Territory (2019) by T. Stehlikova as part of 36Q Blue Hour at PQ 2019; Memory Palace (2018) at Galerie AMU etc. He has previously been an architect at Atelier Anonyme Design, New Delhi (2010- 2015); and a design tutor at SSAA, Ansal University (2013-2015) developing pedagogy on the experience of architecture, which he continues as a design and creative educator in Czech Republic and India. www.studiomorethanthat.com

Vaughn Tan is based in London, where he is an assistant professor in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at University College London’s School of Management. He received a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Sociology jointly from Harvard University and Harvard Business School in 2013. His research focuses on understanding how people and organisations can design themselves to respond to true uncertainty with grace and facility instead of panic or denial—and become innovative and adaptable in the process. His book, The Uncertainty Mindset: Innovation Insights from the Frontiers of Food, will be published in Spring 2020 by Columbia University Press. He advises for-profit and not-for-profit organisations in defining and communicating their strategic objectives and goals. He is currently on the executive board of Rethink Food (a New York City-based organisation developing innovative ways to reduce food waste and inequity), an advisor to the Wellcome Collection in London, and on the advisory boards of two stealth-mode startups in food technology and privacy compliance.https://vaughntan.org/

Dany Teixeira is a wine sommelier and a wine buyer, working for a wine importer company called The Winemakers Club. They focus on small independent wine producers who are devoted to a low intervention winemaking, biodynamic methods and sustainability. Dany comes from Cahors, which some of you might know as the French-Malbec or Black-Wine town of South West France. His first job was picking grapes when he was 15 and he fell in love with this world ever since. He worked all over France, choosing establishments in order to learn more about wine. He arrived in the UK in 2011 and have since worked in a Michelin star restaurant and some of the top wine bars in London (please see links). He also helped to set up a new wine bar in Fitzrovia (London), imported wines and run wine tastings and other events. Even more importantly, he visited a number of winemakers in France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany and UK, where he had the unique experience of seeing how their wine is grown and made, understanding the importance of “terroir“. He is now keen to share his knowledge and experience of wine with others.

Little more information on the workshop structure/content:

There will be 5 days of workshop sessions, with two workshop sessions a day: one morning, one afternoon. A simple lunch will be provided on location.

The workshops will include exploration of the landscape, various exercises/explorations, in order to create an involved relationship with the location, through paying attention to it with different senses, and through different elements (such as plants, geology). This means experiments with particular focus on touch (by employing blindfolded explorations), smell (etc.). There will also be writing/drawing, collecting materials, creating small interventions in the landscape, as well as cooking and eating food and drink made from local produce (ingesting the landscape). The workshops can be altered, to some extent, to suit the requirements of participants and there is no pressure for anyone to participate if they feel like avoiding certain activity for whatever reason. It can also be used to inspire creative dialogue and future collaborative projects. The workshop will be led by Tereza Stehlikova as well as guest workshop leaders (with a variety of expertise, including locals). More examples of sensory workshops in London: https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2017/12/14/sensory-workshop-doc/

The last evening will involve a performance, film screenings and a feast, with invited artists from Czech republic.

For any questions, further information or to share ideas and suggestions, please email:

Tereza Stehlikova

 

All images by Tereza Stehlikova

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