Building in, Around and in Association with Water
On 18 February 2021, architect Sean Leonard, the recipient of the first Tilting Axis/Het Nieuwe Instituut Research Fellowship, will present his research project on the relations between architecture and water.
18 February 2021 19:30 - 21:00
Since the start of the fellowship, Leonard has kept a public journal exploring the culture of making and building in, around and in association with water, which he describes as korjaal-ing.space. This practice, which Leonard explores through conversations and sonic, written and pictorial landscapes, is at the core of the Ndyuka Maroons' relationship with the Tapanahoni River in Suriname. For this event, joining Leonard in the conversation will be Andrea Andersson, founding diirector and chief curator of Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, and Dirk Sijmons, co-founder of H+N+S Landscape architects. The evening will be moderated by Erik Wong, designer, editor and co-curator of Het Nieuwe Instituut's Travelling Academy.
Sean Leonard is a practising architect who trained in London and works and lives in Trinidad and Tobago. He is one of the founding directors of the architecture practice co-rd Limited, and has held executive positions in the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects and the Federation of Caribbean Associations of Architects.
In parallel and related to his formal practice of architecture is his active interest in Carnival 'mas' production and set design. The ephemeral nature of the products from both these creative activities and their inherent reliance on abstraction and human interface (wearer/performer) for their embodied presence, continue to intrigue him. For 15 years he designed and produced children's Carnival bands and from early in his career has consistently designed stage sets for numerous music and theatre productions, for which he has been recognised locally.
Leonard is also one of the founding directors of Alice Yard (2006), a contemporary art space located in Port-of-Spain, which hosts and facilitates an ongoing programme of artists and artists' projects. Networking, collaboration, improvisation and play are key tenets in its operation.
With the support of his practice and Alice Yard, he has been engaged in an ongoing exercise of conducting and compiling an audio archive of interviews of key professionals and players of the generation before him, who were critical in shaping the construction and experience of Trinidad and Tobago's built environment.
Andrea Andersson is founding director and chief curator of Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, a multi-platform organisation based in New Orleans. As a writer and curator, she has organised internationally touring exhibitions; she co-edits a series of artist's books together with Siglio Press including Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible, Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, and Hinge Pictures: Eight Women Artists Occupy the Third Dimension. She most recently co-edited (with Antonio Sergio Bessa) Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch (Yale UP), which accompanies the eponymous co-organised exhibition currently on view at the Bronx Museum of Art and travelling in spring 2021 to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Dirk Sijmons is one of the founders of H+N+S Landscape architects. At the office, he was responsible for regional plans and research projects. H+N+S received the Prince Bernard Culture award in 2001. In 2002, he received the Rotterdam-Maaskant award and in 2007 the prestigious Edgar Doncker award for his contribution to 'Dutch Culture'. His book publications in English are = Landscape (1998), Greetings from Europe (2008), Landscape and Energy (2014), Moved Movement (2015) and Room-for-the-River (2017). Sijmons was appointed first State Landscape Architect of the Netherlands (2004-2008). He held the chair of Environmental Design (2008-2011) and that of Landscape Architecture (2011-2015) at TU-Delft. He was curator of IABR--2014 themed Urban-by-Nature. At the World Design summit 2017 in Montreal he received the IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe award.
Erik Wong has a background in graphic design, teaches at the Rietveld Academy and founded Wongema: a place for work, contemplation and surprising encounters in the far north of the Netherlands. Recently he made room for a new generation of Wongema hosts, returned to Amsterdam and continues his editorial practice.
About the Research Fellowship
Het Nieuwe Instituut and Tilting Axis have joined forces to set up a fellowship programme for applicants based in the Caribbean. This programme aims to develop, stimulate and visualise curatorial, design and artistic realities coming from the Caribbean region and enhance knowledge exchange and collaboration with a cross-section of Dutch cultural institutions.The Fellowship is supported by Het Nieuwe Instituut as lead partner and host, and will include collaborations with Kunstinstituut Melly, De Appel, Amsterdam Museum and The Black Archives. A new iteration of the fellowship will be launched in spring 2021.
About Tilting Axis
Tilting Axis is a sustained arts platform for, from, across, and through the Caribbean. It is a call to action to rethink the position and conditions of contemporary art practices in the region. Its perspective, informed by artist-led initiatives within the archipelago, recognises this space as central rather than peripheral and is fed by multi-generational voices. Tilting Axis wants to build infrastructure which supports and sustains contemporary art practitioners in the region, and serves as a catalyst for creative projects and collaborations. Tilting Axis was co-founded in 2014 by Annalee Davis and Holly Bynoe.