SPRING Academy, SPRING’s platform for artistic exchange, would have welcomed over 200 participants this May. At SPRING Academy, (inter)national artists, scholars and students come together to share knowledge, skills and perspectives. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 the SPRING Academy is cancelled this year. As a reaction to the corona crisis, we see national governments looking inwards, countries competing over supplies and autocratic leaders growing their dictatorial powers. But we also see acts of solidarity, creativity and collaboration. This is a time to reach beyond (national) borders, even if it is digital. That’s why we think it is important for Arts students to be able to exchange ideas and inspiration across borders. Therefore, we developed a small exchange assignment for students from all the schools that would have participated in SPRING Academy. The students chose an existing artwork that inspired them and reflected on the idea of ‘creating togetherness’, the theme of this year’s Academy. The assignments were exchanged between the students and it was a start of a transnational conversation about togetherness in these corona times. We share three contributions by the students here below.
Roots by Frida Kahlo
Contribution by Selina Tuijnenburg, ArtEZ University of the Arts
Strong presence of abandonment and tangled roots during these distance times.
While we are all finding our ways around this situation our world is in right now, we experience how vital social contact is for our wellbeing. We’ve all been put in this crisis, involuntary, yet we are quickly adapting, transforming, optimizing in a noticeable way!
I took this work of art to portray the importance of touching base with your roots, to check upon your health, physical and mental. To remember and respect that there is no right way of dealing with a global pandemic and that we will grow from this experience, together.
Ascent by Fiona Tan
Contribution by Jesse van Delft, Utrecht University, pre(masters) program Contemporary Theatre, Dance and Dramaturgy
Ascent is a work by film maker Fiona Tan. It is 80 minutes long, made of only pictures from the mount Fuji in Japan. It is a work that, by watching it, gives you a sense of moving stillness. It brings you in a kind of liminal space. The pictures are combined with a fictional narrative in which impermanence, time, moving and stillness are reflected. In Japan, death is the fall of the cherry blossom, which is celebrated. Change can be a tradition. In this time of change and death, this work can give a humble reflection on these matters and 80 minutes of breath space.
Relay by Ula Sickle
Contribution by Ashley Ho, ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands / Singapore
In Relay, a black flag undulates in a quiet riot – a baton passed from performer to performer. The durational work is centred on the flag’s tabula rasa, which invites a multiplicity of interpretation. Raised in celebration, mourning, alarm, within each performer’s singularity, the relay structure alludes to the omnipresence of a collective, embodying a symbol and a product of togetherness. At any point of apparent standstill, feet rooted to the ground, the flag remains in constant motion – you know that elsewhere, which is also right here, a ripple of black is calling out a name, which is all of ours.