During the autumn of 2014, artists and curators from both regions carried out a joint curatorial and educational residence venture as assigned by Art in Halland and Culture in the West and this was called “Letters written during a short stay in the two Swedish regions of Västra Götland and Halland”. The starting point was Letters written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (1796) by author Mary Wollstonecraft. Using Wollestoncraft’s journey through Halland and Västra Götaland region as inspiration and also her subsequent travel journal with fascinating descriptions of society in the form of letters, published in 1796, the residence program was carried out as an ongoing explorative journey. New York-based Indian artist Kiran Chandra and Antonio Vega Macotela from Mexico travelled through the area of interest and stopped off in various places. They had free reins to work as they pleased with the overall goal to be some form of contemporary travel journal, guide book or road movie, which will eventually be compiled in a publication. All of this with the aim of finding new, exciting proposals for the future of these regions. During the trip, the artists were brought together with people from a variety of backgrounds and contexts, which led to situations with many unexpected and stimulating conversations and face-to-face meetings.
Kiran Chandra is an artist and tutor who, in her line of work, have language and the close connection between systems, i.e. language, ecology, politics and art, as her starting point. She is particularly interested in the occasions where the written language is not enough to convey one’s knowledge, which then takes on other forms of expression such as the caves at Lascaux or Bhimbhetka, or when coming into contact with thousand-year-old ceramics. Chandra works with drawings, collage, text, sound and video, often in various combinations. In her previous works of art, she has taken on issues such as exploitation, land development, forced displacement, expropriation and suicides among Indian farmers, all issues that stem from the power structures within society during her childhood years in India. Kiran Chandra has recently graduated from Hunter College in New York and has had exhibitions in the US, as well as India and Europe.
Antonio Vega Macotela
Antonio Vega Macotela is interdisciplinarian in his work and is interested in how art can work as a tool that changes meaning and context in everyday life. He explores concepts such as work, value/worth and exchange, with a particular focus on currencies as a form of system within which social relationships are established and negotiated.
In his work ‘Time Exchange’ (2006-2009), he investigated whether money can be replaced with a time share system based on exchange of time when various tasks are carried out. The work consists of 365 individual exchanges with prisoners at the Santa Martha Acatila prison in Mexico City. His art can be perceived as concrete dedicated and involvement, when it often has a real impact on people’s lives and also on a metaphoric level, which appears as a result of a measure that affects the context. In other works of art, he has involved professional groups such as miners and soldiers and he has, for instance, exhibited his material at Sao Paolo Biennale, 2010, Gothenburg International Biennale for Comtemporary Art, 2011 and at New Museum, New York, 2012.
The residence program ‘Letters written during a short stay in the two Swedish regions of Västra Götland and Halland’ is a prgram created by Anna Johansson, Sarah Schmidt, Fredric Gunve and Camilla Rosberg based on the initiative from and finansed by Culture in the West (the Västra-Götalands region) and Art in Halland (Halland Art Museum and Region Halland authority).