Zhenya Chaika, the supervisor of the program, shares her opinion about the work of the Art Residences of the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennale.

1.        In 2015, the Art Residence Program of the Ural Industrial Biennale was held for the first time in two regions of Ural Federal District: Sverdlovsk Region (Pervouralsk, Sysert, Alapaevsk, Nizhny Tagil, Nizhnie Sergi, Irbit, Verkhnyaya Salda, Zarechny) and Chelyabinsk Region (Satka, Kasli).

2.        The program used eleven industrial sites. Nine of them are operating enterprises which allowed the artists to get acquainted with the specific features of production and implement their art projects.

3.        At three enterprises, we managed to reach close cooperation between the artists and the enterprise employees at the production stage which resulted in: production under the custom design and artist drawings (Artinsk Agricultural Machinery Plant, Stephen Thiede project, The Scythe), join development by the artists and the plant employees (Sysert Porcelain Factory, Baltensperger + Siepert project, Dancing Queen), arrangement of an individual studio for the artist at the plant with technical staff, unique plant materials and equipment (Jacopo Mandich, To the Utmost Stone). This particular area of work seems to be the most efficient for further development of the subject of residences in the industrial region.

4.        The vital achievement of the program is the establishment of contacts between the world of modern art and modern industry not only at the management level but also at the level of people who create the economy of these worlds, namely artists and employees of the enterprises. Just at this level of personal contact an important encounter with the art initiative occurs and the join valorisation of activities of various industry members is achieved through cross-sectoral communication.

5.        Another integrative communication strategy developed under the Art Residence Program 2015 included direct interaction with the social environment – the citizens of large and small industrial towns of the region and even villages which were abandoned when the production left them. Such communication took place, for example, under the implementation of Poster Workshop project when a real poster workshop was equipped in Tagil street car, Sounds of Kalach for Urban Residents project when the attention of the entire train travelling along the Alapaevsk narrow gauge railway was focused on Jesus Palomino project. It is also important to note that under the joint residence in Satka the artists met the local communities, which resulted in the decision of Jacopo Mandich to unveil a sculpture in Satka in the form of interactive activity involving all interested citizens of the town. While the unveiling and the influence of its interactivity on the acceptance of the sculpture by the town is still to be analysed, it can be said that this classical but innovative in itself strategy, when the art comes as a surprise, is still an effective form of work with local communities.

6.        The Art Residence Program 2015 has become more international. The artists from nine countries – Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, USA, and Austria – took part in it. Such international representativity and high interest of foreign partners in the form of art residences allows to speak about the future development of the program on the exchange basis, which may contemplate, for example, arrangement of residences for Russian artists in other countries.

7.        The work of artists during the Ural residence was very intense: they visited 11 towns/enterprises within two weeks. This allowed not only to understand the specific features of live of the industrial region but to receive much more factual and aesthetic information than can be used in a very short time for implementation of the biennale project. This means that the artists will take the tidbits of inspiration received at the Ural to their native cities and countries and use the gained knowledge of the context in their future work. Although only a part of the ideas proposed by the artists for implementation on site could be implemented in the framework of the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennale, lots of drafts can be developed into full-scale projects.