SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO – International Open Call 2020

SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO – International Open Call 2020

SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO provides an experimental platform which involves trial and error: the various exchange events are organized with artists who live together in the same building at the same time, and the organisers aim to make this communal experience memorable for local people.

Statement from the SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO AIR Director, Mami Odai:  This is an exceptional year for the world. The spread of novel coronavirus caused a global pandemic and our society and lifestyle have been forced to change totally. In the beginning of 2020 – right before the pandemic, we had made a decision to take up the challenge of renewing the style of AIR and to give it a different perspective. I considered the trope of “moving”. The whole history of humankind could be traced through a concept of migration. Our ancestors have travelled for their survival, have struggled to adapt to different environments and have compromised their lifestyle each time. This accumulation of adaptations is called history. According to one theory, people from Africa reached Japan, the island of the eastern horizon, by long journeys after having tried multiple routes. The entire span of human migration has brought multifaceted changes tinting culture with many particular shades of experience. However, in the recent past (before the pandemic), we had developed a means to move quickly to distant places, whereas once we had to expend a stupendous amount of time to travel far. By developing a technology of efficiency, we have a lifestyle whereby everyone can travel as much as they wish – if their economic condition allows. I wanted to resist the current situation of today’s extreme globalization. Prior to the pandemic, we were thinking, is it really a good idea for artists to be moving from one place to another so instantaneously in order to meet the unknown, and to pursue our creative activities in disparate locations? Therefore, we decided to update the AIR program to have a version with no air flights: it is rather difficult to reach the residency. The three facets of the AIR experience are “movements, temporary stays and creative activities” and our focus was put on “movements”.

However, due to the pandemic, any tedious explanation for the new program became unnecessary as of July 2020. The state of play now is that artists can barely even reach Japan. The concept for the new AIR has happened by itself due to the present circumstances, as it is currently not possible to actually travel long distances. (For me, this is an unexpected situation that is unfolding so fast.)

In embracing the concept of “movement for survival” that is rooted in the depths of humanity and has accumulated meaning over a long period of time, these questions were raised: “What do we have now and what can we use? Can the movement of imagination, technology, and spirit be an alternative to the physical movement of artists? Is it possible to manage AIR without actually moving? What does moving mean anyway? What is waiting after having moved?” By listening to the ideas and suggestions of artists, we hope to turn this environment into an opportunity for collaboration and to discover the new structure of AIR together – although “it is rather difficult to reach places”. AIR is contingent on the existence of artists and it can be said that its structure was generated by their motivation for creative activities that pivots on a migratory energy. AIR will no longer be possible without artists regardless of the changing world. By investigating the core concept of “movement” with artists, we hope to find, by feeling out its processes and operations, answers which may be what humanity is seeking right now.


Program outline: This AIR program consists of two different but linked phases.

During the program period, regular online meetings will be held with the program director and the coordinator. In the “activity plan” of the application form, explain your theme, plan, research, artwork and project where Hokkaido and Sapporo are the landing points/temporary destinations of your movement, by responding to these points that we want to consider together: “What do we have now and what we can we use? Can the movement of imagination, technology, and spirit be an alternative to the physical movement of artists? Is it possible to manage AIR without actually moving? What does moving mean anyway? What is waiting after having moved?”. In addition, it is desirable that the “activity plan” is adaptable so as to be able to deal with the fact that things might abruptly change and other unknown circumstances might arise.

* Since the pandemic immigration restrictions in Japan has been not undo. City of Sapporo follows the situation, and decide not to allow invited artists from abroad to enter Japan for the program.

During the final presentation, the organisers would also like to present the submitted proposals to the public. Please indicate whether you give permission for this in the application form.

Phase 1: Without using any flights, the moving starts from the residence (usual base) of the selected artists to SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO in Sapporo-city, Hokkaido, Japan. The artist has to share the information with SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO, such as a plan of 60-day moving (*Proposal plan: movement plan), a record of its process and artist’s experience on trial and error described in an artist’s original method (*Proposal plan: methods to record/share the activity).

With the artist’s proposal, the reality of “actual movement” will be seriously examined at a meeting with the artist, a program director and coordinators based on the pandemic situation and restrictions on movement over countries/regions as of October 2020. The most important points to be considered are physical and mental health and safety of the artist, and preventing the infection of novel coronavirus through the movement of the artist.

During phase 1 & 2, it is possible to use the artist’s studio, living area and other Artist in residence/studios located within the travel area, for the artist’s activities and production. Also Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio is happy to help to find those places for “Stay & Work ” with invited artists, if necessary. However, if the artist is self-isolating and using their home as a workplace, a budget for accommodation and studio won’t be provided. 

In the proposal plan: movement plan, we welcome external involvements: other people and organizations such as “artist in residence” and “art center” that are on the route of the artist’s movement and that support the artist’s temporary stay. Please describe in detail in the plan. 

Phase 2: After 60 days of “moving period”, there is 40 days of studio work (*Proposal plan: outline of production activities during the studio work period). While the selected artists communicate with other artists, namely the artists invited for other projects and the artists staying in SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO at the same time, the end result (* Proposal plan: form, direction and image of the end result) has to be prepared and presented at the end of the program period.

  • Please assemble your proposal of studio work and end result on the assumption that the selected artist and the SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO may be working remotely.
  • The process of studio work is recorded as much as possible, and after a consultation between the selected artists and the program director, we make this record public for a certain time and period.
  • The program coordinator and a general coordinator, and if necessary, technical assistants (in Sapporo city or in the base city of selected artists) support the artist’s activities.
  • The report of the end result is premised to show in public regardless of the format. They will select the best method which many people can experience and share the result.

Applicants must:

  • Have a nationality other than Japanese and live in a country other than Japan. (Foreign artists living in Japan and Japanese artists living overseas are not eligible.)
  • Be able to communicate in either English or Japanese with a staff, colleague artists and the local community.
  • Be able to concentrate on their research and the program activities for the full period of 100 days.
  • Be able to understand and follow the aim of the International open call program and proceed with their autonomous activities during their stay.
  • Preferably not have previously participated in an AIR program in Japan.
  • There are no restrictions on age or gender. When applicants are students, postgraduate level is required.
  • Ensure care of one’s own physical and mental health and support the prevention of  the spread of novel coronavirus infection.

Provided for the artists:

  • Letter of invitation from SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO
  • Use of Studio B in a virtual space
  • Coordination including interpretation and translation during the program period
  • Up to 300,000 yen budget for accommodation while traveling, use of studio and other Artist in residence facility during the program period
  • 300,000 yen budget for 60 days activity during Phase 1
  • 200,000 yen budget for 40 days activity during Phase 2
  • Production budget (various expenses such as materials) for presenting the end result, up to 150,000 yen
  • Interactive coaching from the selection committee
  • Technical assistant for realizing artworks/projects
  • Specialized advice to manage own physical and mental health and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection

Deadline for application is October 23 (extended!), 2020, closed at 23:59 Japan standard time. Please complete the following online application forms. You will be asked to upload the data (personal ID, portfolio, etc) there. After sending the online application form, applicants will receive an automatic response indicating reception of the online forms. If you do not receive it, please contact the organisers.

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