By Omar Chenafi
As a participant of the 2015 Goethe Institut Cultural Management Program for the Midde East North Africa (MENA) region, I was grateful to spend a week internship at PILOTENKUECHE last September 2015. Despite my short stay, I was able to gain some insight and appreciation of the international artist residency program in Leipzig, interact with the artists and be able to get an insider view of the way in which this unique residency program is organized and managed.
All photos are taken by Omar Chenafi
From the outset of my internship, I was able to exchange with the artists and the organizers and that provided me with a global understanding of PILOTENKUECHE, the way in which most artist residencies operate and the German cultural scene. I was above all most drawn to the organic and fluid way in which artists were able to work either individually and as a group and to find their own ways of interchanging within their spaces and artistic practices. It was as one had to negotiate a space within a larger space with all the nuances that comes with that.
Conceptually, PILOTENKUECHE is a platform where differences are celebrated and honored, artists coming from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and artistic practices are given the freedom to come together and create something amongst them despite what I have termed as a “violence of differences”. For me this was extremely moving, as where I come from, differences in culture and traditions are often seen as a cause of clashes rather than an opportunity to strengthen ties, and look at the world anew with fresh eyes.
My stay also afforded me ample chances to communicate with people whilst getting familiar with the overall environment, artistic projects and in coordinating the administration of the residence. I really appreciated my internationally-minded, open and inspiring colleagues; thanks to Martin and Lucinesfor for their generosity of spirit which is what I will take with me back to Fez. I immediately felt like we all belonged to one tribe given the natural and spontaneous interaction.
Further impressions from the workshop in berlin. All photos are taken by Omar Chenafi
Being in close contact with the artists as they created their varying projects energised my interest in further pursuing my career both as a mixed media artist and as a cultural entrepreneur.