Now they live in Tessin, but for three years on a row writer Mascha Kurtz and composer Nadir Vassena worked together in German residential arts centers such as Akademie Schloss Solitude and in Höfgen Denkmalschmiede. One of their mutual 'products' has been the musical performance Schlaflos, for which Vassena composed the music and Kurtz the libretto. In using residence opportunities they took a practical stance.

"Nowadays many residential art centers tend to be open to interdisciplinary projects. They like it when artists are working together. Because my husband and I work together as a composer and a writer our applications were met with sympathy. For staying at Akademie Schloss Solitude we were lucky to get a grant, both of us, and free lodging. And for Höfgen Denkmalschmiede we both got free lodging and free food. But to pay for the rest of the expenses we used our own private savings. And we found someone to hire my own appartment in Hamburg."

"We didn't have fixed expectations of the residential centers we applied for. Every residence is different, with different philosophies and different people, which create a unique atmosphere. To be able to spend time on working together, without distraction, is very rewarding. Being in a place which is unfamiliar to you, makes it easier to concentrate on your work. Next to that meeting people, especially artists from other disciplines can influence your own work. Generally I liked the open-minded, friendly and intellectual atmosphere that we've come across. We also made many interesting contacts."

"If there were any difficult things to cope with? Well, we noticed some residencies form a kind of closed communities - which creates a bit of an 'Elfenbeinturm'-feeling. It is quite a bizarre living situation. In Stuttgart at Akademie Schloss Solitude we stayed for one whole year. If one stays with the same people for such a long time in a quite close situation, there is a danger of getting bored. But well, the same situation also is very rewarding in being able to spend so much time together with people you cherish and which you wouldn't have come across otherwise."

Mascha Kurtz

As published in TransArtists Newsletter 14, Winter 2005 - 2006