The Inside-Out Art Museum residency was one of the very first programs we visited during out research trip in 2013. After a hiatus, the residency is back with a new team and mission.
China Residencies: Welcome back to the residency scene! What's new since you've re-launched the program?
Yang Tiange: Thanks for your ongoing attention and support! Since we’ve re-launched, the biggest change is shifting the program from an “artist residency” to an “artistic practitioner residency,” which means in other words that we’ve widened the scope of potential applicants. This re-thinking is tied to the museum’s educational goals, which direct decisions about exhibition content, public education programming, as well as the residency program. In the past year, the Inside Out Museum fostered serious in-depth investigations and international discussions around history, inviting a great number of leading artists, curators, writers, scholars, and historians to take part in invigorating reflections and create exciting collisions between disciplines. Therefore, we also want to invite people with different artistic practices to the residency -- including artists, curators, writers, researchers, publishers, and so on -- to join in on our discussions and reflections.
Furthermore, our residency program strives to go beyond boundaries to recruit artistic practitioners through public open calls, as well as other specific channels. For example, we might work with other media platforms and share resources (in this case, we might be able to provide free accommodations), and we also sometimes selectively invite people we are excited to host. Additionally, we also have research residencies for practitioners whose work pairs well with our exhibitions (which usually include a research grant.) For example, on March 10th, to coincide with the opening of “New Moon: Zhao Wenliang, Yang Yushu retrospective", the Inside Out Museum set up a special research grant support one artist or researcher during the month-long duration of the exhibition to advance discussions around the two artists. We are also currently providing emergency studio accommodations to artists whose faced forced evictions across Beijing in the past year.
Given all the ways we have structured the residencies, the proportion of wide-open proposals we can support is rather small and quite selective. At the same time, we hope to continue to build ties with the other programs through China Residences and continue to share resources in the creative fields.
CR: What is your background? How long have you been at Inside-Out?
YT: I studied English at Fudan University, then completed a master’s degree in curation from Melbourne University. After graduating in August 2018, I came back to Beijing and joined the education team at the Inside Out Museum as assistant curator. I am also in charge of preparing, coordinating, and managing the residency programs. Time’s gone by so quickly, I’ve already been here for half of a year!
CR: What do you look for when selecting artists?
YT: The Inside Out Museum’s education department selects the artists and researchers. In our discussions, we first and foremost evaluate artistic practitioners based on the strength and depth of their work. We look for artists who use language in organic and interactive ways in their work to convey complex thought-processes. Overall, we are building towards experimental ideas and practices and require that artists thoroughly engage with our surroundings, which includes taking part in or organizing things like workshops, skill-sharings, or public events. Our residency is quite broad and interdisciplinary, so we welcome all willing and talented creatives and researchers.
CR: How many residents do you usually have at one time? What are the most popular times to come?
YT: We can host two residents at one time, and summer is usually the busiest time.
CR: What opportunities do resident artists have to show their work?
YT: We don’t require that residents complete concrete projects or organize an exhibition. Afterall, one month is quite short and we don’t want to force to make work for the sake of producing work. And as we also work with researchers and attract a multitude of practices that aren’t just artists, we go through all kinds of discussions to share our expectations of residents’ research and creative processes.
CR: What kind of facilities do you have for residents?
YT: The residencies take place in artist studios within Beijing’s Inside Out Art District, which include two-bedroom apartments with spacious and bright studio space, as well as open kitchens and living rooms. The studio space is very big, and can also be used as an exhibition space or a semi-open community space for discussions.
resident artist Cathy Weyders in her studio at Inside-Out in 2015
CR: What kinds of ways are you hoping to help connect visiting artists with the local arts community?
YT: That’s where we depend on you! [China Residencies runs a WeChat group to connect the people managing Beijing’s many residency programs] Of course, we also share our own connections. For example, this year, our museum is thinking of organizing a “last-minute symposium.” We’re calling it “last minute” to give a sense of urgency, the aim is to confront pressing issues in arts and culture by asking a diverse group of local artists to come in and think of new possibilities. We will invite young and lively people who are excited to shake things up and experiment in their own practices, and share their concrete experiences with the museum. These offline events will come with essays published online, as a way to pass on these voices multi-dimensionally. I think these kinds of discussions will be really beneficial and invigorating for everyone taking part.
CR: Inside Out is quite far on the outskirts of Beijing, how often do you you all into the city?
YT: We often go to see exhibitions, the team at the museum often goes together without necessarily making set plans.
CR: What is your vision for the residency program?
YT: We hope it becomes a productive site for lively discussions and creation, activating critical thinking around history and the contemporary era. We hope that with the combined support from from China Residencies and other organizations, we will help local and international artists find their own voice.
CR: What makes Inside Out's residency program special?
YT: I think the most important thing is the residency isn’t just an artist residency. By this we mean we place an emphasis on the creative process, and include all kinds of interdisciplinary practices to re-contextualize art within history, culture, and philosophy.