»Artist in Residence«

Valerie Wolf Gang: The first scholar of the newly established »Artist in Residence« Program at the Atelierhaus Ludwig-Engel-Weg 1 on Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt

On the occasion of »11. Darmstadt Photography Days«, the organizers offer a three-month artist’s residence from the middle of February to May 2020 at the Atelierhaus LEW1 on Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt. In December 2019, a jury chose the Slovenian multimedia-artist Valerie Wolf Gang from a pool of 66 international applicants of an Open Call to be the first scholar of the newly established »Artist in Residence« Program.


The »Artist in Residence« Program – Open Call, application requirements and the Jury’s decision

The Atelierhaus Ludwig-Engel-Weg 1 (LEW1) in Park Rosenhöhe, Darmstadt, is part of the artists’ colony initiated by the City of Darmstadt in the 1960s. From 1965 to 1967, seven studio- and residential houses were errected at the Park Rosenhöhe, today partially still occupied by artists. The first of those studio houses, the LEW1, has been newly refurbished and available for cultural events and exhibitions since summer 2019.

Emanating from this year’s topic of »11. Darmstadt Photography Days«, the residence is supposed to enable the artist(s) to escape from everyday life, with the aim of finishing or devoloping an art project. The results of the residence will be exhibited at the Atleierhaus LEW1 during the whole time span of »11. Darmstadt Photography Days« 2020.

Besides an abstract drawing out the details of the planned project, a CV and a portfolio, artists had to submit a short personal statement (preferably via social media) explaining why exactly they deserved to receive the possibility of escaping their everyday life with the residence.

After considering 66 applications from all over the world, the Jury chose Valerie Wolf Gang as the winner of the »Artist in Residence« Program. Members of the jury were Lukas Einsele (CEO of the society of »Kultur einer Digitalstadt e.V.«), Alexandra Lechner (photographer/ founding member of »Darmstadt Photography Days« / RAY-Curator), Julia Reichelt (Director of Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt) and Gregor Schuster (photographer/ founding member of »Darmstadt Photography Days«).

Valerie Wolf Gang

Portrai Valrie Wolf Gang © Miha Godec

Valerie Wolf Gang (*1990 in Ljubljana), MA, is a Slovenian multimedia artist. Her works focus on the ideas behind human experiences, such as aspects of consciousness and a reflection of social conflicts arising from political regulations and constrains. She mainly explores the relationship between man and technology, and is inspired by the connection between living and inanimate nature and the multifaceted nature of human character. She is regularly working on different international artist-in-residence programs, where she researches and produces new projects inspired by local and international cultural scene.

Her work has been featured in major group and solo exhibitions abroad and at home (Beijing, New York, Vienna, Podgorica, Lisbon, Luxembourg, etc.), and she has received numerous international grants and awards. She is a member of international art collective Spielraum Ensamble, research unit Famul VideoLab, Directors Guild of Slovenia and she often collaborates on various EU and international projects in the cultural sector.

She is the founder of UV Arthouse, which is producing experimental films, video installations and researching the field of new media technology and interactive multimedia works. Beside her artistic practice and research, she also lectures on video art and film education in cooperation with different institutions and universities. She is a PhD candidate at Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts in the field of augmented reality. Since 2018 she is professional associate at The Institute for Fine Arts Vienna, collaborating with Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Valerie Wolf Gang (*1990) – The first scholar of the newly established »Artist in Residence« Program at the Atelierhaus Ludwig-Engel-Weg 1 on Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt; Photo: © Miha Godec

Valerie Wolf Gang’s project to be developed during the »Artist in Residence» Program form February to May 2020 is called »VANISHING ACT: Body, Space, Identity«.

The work is inspired by various studies of astronauts’ psychological experiences in space, when they gaze back to Earth for the first time. During the era of NASA’s famous Apollo missions, over a dozen astronauts traveled to the moon, and many of them have spoken of the radically transformative experience that occurs when you are able to see earth from a new perspective. It suddenly seems so fragile when seen as nothing more than a small blue orb surrounded by the infinite vastness of space.

Artist Valerie Wolf Gang studied these experiences and compared them with her personal big life-changing event, where she recently completely transformed her body, lost more than 50 kg (100 lbs) and suddenly realized she does not recognize her own body anymore and thus needs to le-learn how to use it and construct new identity.

The case had a big impact on her life and she compares the experience with a complete vanishing act of herself; alien in her own body, re-learning process of the use of space and coping with new visual identity, which influences also the physical state of mind. Similarly, as part of the Apollo 14 mission, astronaut Edgar Mitchell spoke of having a deeply mystical moment when contemplating his home planet from the spaceship. He referred to it as a ‘savikalpa samadhi’, an Indian term that refers to the moment when your ego completely dissolves and merges with the infinite universe.

In this state, the concepts of time and space are altogether different. For a minute, an hour, or more a person reaching this state is in another world. Wolf Gang researches this stage through the perspectives of astronauts and her own strong intimate experience that positioned her in similar condition; a ‘vanishing act’ through which she explores the areas of body, space and identity.

About the co-operation partner »Kultur einer Digitalstadt e.V.«

Established in January 2019, the society of »Kultur einer Digitalstadt e.V.« considers itself to be an interdisciplinary platform for the examination, study, visualization, networking and advancement of different aspects of digitalization, seen from an artistic and cultural perspective. The society of »Kultur einer Digitalstadt e.V.« is based in Atelierhaus Ludwig-Engel-Weg 1 (LEW1) in Park Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt.

The studio house is part of the artists’ colony »Neue Künstlerkolonie«, both by its history, architecture and not least by its proximity to and with regards to content communicated by Institut Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt. Museum Künstlerkolonie (an important forerunner of modernity), and an ideal place of departure for diverse artistic projects and events.

In 2020, »Kultur einer Digitalstadt e.V.« has so far planned eight to ten events:
Next to the »Artist in Residence« Program, lectures, exhibitions, symposia, performances and workshops are in the planning.The form, duration, amount of participants and degree of publicity is thereby dependent on each individual event which can be seen as a direct representation of the participants and positions behind the projects.

For more information, please go to www.kultur-digitalstadt.de