Programme, Esch2022 - news, Territory, Sustainability

Nomadic Island

Nomadic Island ©Neckel Scholtus

From 20 July to 7 August 2022

Interview with Neckel Scholtus and Gianfranco Celestino
Neckel Scholtus is an artist-photographer. Gianfranco Celestino is a dancer, choreographer and musician. For this project, the two artists have teamed up to act as curators.

Tell us about the project…
“Nomadic Island” is an international artist residency aimed at creating an experimental community that involves a group of artists on the one hand and a group of local residents on the other. For a fixed period of three weeks, this experimental platform will offer spaces for creation and exchange where synergies around the theme of alternative lifestyles and work models will emerge.

Why did you title your project “Nomadic Island”?
The title refers to the non-profit organisation  “Friday Island”, which stages weekly events where 4 or 5 artists meet to form a small community, or island, around a given theme. This convivial moment takes place each month in a different, sometimes unusual setting (a car park, a high school, a bar, etc.) related to the chosen theme. “Nomadic Island” is run by the same organisation. The title also refers to a related project entitled “Nomadic Village”, organised in a different form and a different context as part of Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture. “Nomadic Island” essentially condenses these two experiences.

How did you select the artists?
Following a call for projects, which attracted nearly 150 applications from different European countries and beyond, a jury consisting of artists, historians and art professionals selected ten artists to create on-site works. The artists, 6 of which are women, come from various fields, including visual arts, performance, crossover practices, multimedia, literature, etc. Some write poetry but are also painters. One of the artists works mainly with sound.

How will life “on the island” be organised?
There are two categories of participants. The first are the participants in residence, a group of young people aged 12 to 18 who will be present on the site for 5 days. These young people and their educators come from 3 different youth centres based respectively in Redange, Bettembourg and Audun-le-Tiche. So the project crosses the national border! It is supported by the National Youth Service and the Sommer Foundation.

Other young people and adults will also be participants in residence over a given period, at least 5 days across the three weeks. (((See the call for projects))). The goal is to bring together about thirty people every day.

The second category are the visitors, who are invited to participate in workshops, lunches, round tables, conferences, guided tours on weekends, etc. The conferences will be given by guest speakers from the academic world, such as the conference on “Art and living together – a socio-ecological perspective” given on 22 July by Giulia Carones and Alexander Behm of the Institut für Kreative Nachhaltigkeit in Berlin.

Where will the camp be located?
It will be located at Thillenberg Stadium in Differdange, on the edge of the forest. Some artists will live in tents, others in motorhomes, vans, etc.

Have you planned a closing event at the end of the residency?
A closing party with festive animations will take place on Sunday 7 August, the last day of the residency. It will provide visitors with an opportunity to see the result of the artists’ work, either in the form of a performance or as an exhibition. The presentation will be rehearsed on Saturday 6 August, and already the previous Sunday, the public will be able to witness the beginning of the process. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for guided tours of the camp, where visitors can discover the work of the artists and participants.

Why did you choose the wheel as the visual identity of your project?
The wheel illustrates the idea of recurrence and circular culture. It is also a vestige of the industrial past that resonates with the location of our camp in Differdange, near the disused ARBED building, the mines and the route of the small railway in the natural reserve. Some artists will use this industrial heritage as a starting point. Others will work with recycled or forest materials (leaves and found bits of wood to make ink and engravings, etc.).

What will happen to the works?
Some will be kept by the municipality of Differdange. Besides, we will produce a short film and a series of small booklets documenting the works. Some artists also intend to share the outcome of their work with the participants: this can be a cup, for example, or a part of the work. We would like this project to continue and be reiterated every year, in a different place.

Thillenberg Stadium – Nomadic Island Camp, 54-74, rue de l’Hôpital, L-4581, Differdange