COVID-19 has shuttered artists from residencies, travel, and exhibitions. Embodying inclusion, multilingualism, and digitalization, UN/MUTE provides an opportunity for two transatlantic strangers to collaborate on a singular project for a sustainable future.
Aaron Bezzina is not new to artist residencies. He has participated in several residencies across Europe but never in the USA.
“I have never visited New York but always wanted to experience the art scene there. This opportunity will help me forge the first connection with this city”.
Machines and mechanical objects play an important role in Aaron Bezzina’s practice, shifting from larger scale work that keeps the roughness and rawness of the materials, to smaller objects that are polished and finished in great detail, becoming precious objects; objects of desire. He is very interested in the notion of desire which he questions through his work “by analysing what drives people’s desire.” Bezzina also explains:
“I like to use the term ‘anti-interactive’ to describe my work, at a time where physical/digital interactivity is encouraged within art. My work offers the opportunity of interaction and contemporaneously signals its perils. Hence, my work deals with the politics of the body with relation to art and space but also in a wider sense.”
UN/MUTE-10002 brings together ten European artists who have never visited New York City with ten NYC-based artists. Paired into teams of two, each EU-NYC artist team will work to create a new and unique work of art together. Over a series of Zoom sessions, each team’s collective creative process will unfold in a series of video recordings.
Artist Aaron Bezzina explains that all artist residencies “have some form of affect on the work produced during that time”. He believes that this particular residency “will be different, since it will be digital and the process has to be liaised with the other counterpart, another artist. This virtual space will allow a collaboration that would manifest in something that is not” simply “the merger of two ideas but something new.”
Participating artists include: Eren Aksu (Germany), Aaron Bezzina (Malta), Will Calhoun (NYC), Sanne De Wilde (Flanders,Belgium), FOQL (Poland), Gabrielė Gervickaitė (Lithuania), Kris Grey (NYC), Sophie Guisset (Wallonia-Brussels, Belgium), Kyle Hittmeier (NYC), Mo Kong (NYC), Yi Hsuan Lai (NYC), H. Lan Thao Lam (NYC), Marie Lukácová (Czech Republic),Olesja Katšanovskaja–Münd (Estonia), Sheila Maldonado (NYC), Barbara Maria Neu (Austria), Emmanuel Massillon (NYC), Alex Mirutziu (Romania), Emily Shanahan (NYC), and Sydney Shavers (NYC).
UN/MUTE-10002 is a EUNIC NY and Undercurrent project, realized with financial support from the European Union National Institutes for culture (EUNIC).
It is co-organized by EUNIC NY cluster members: Arts Council Malta in New York, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Wallonia-Brussels International in New York, Czech Center New York, Consulate General of Estonia in New York, Delegation of Flanders to the USA, Goethe-Institut New York, Lithuanian Culture Institute, Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Romanian Cultural Institute, and the Hope Recycling Station, the Jindřich Chalupecký Society, with Undercurrent gallery, and supported by the European Union Delegation to the United Nations.
UN/MUTE-10002 will go live on February 12, 2021, in concurrence with the Lunar New Year, and will continue through May 9th, celebrating Europe Day. You can follow the project at http://unmute.nyc
This project is the follow up project to 10001, an online collaborative pilot project developed during the summer of 2020, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, by members of the EUNIC NYC cluster, including Arts Council Malta in New York.
About the Artist
Aaron Bezzina (1991, Malta) earned a BA (with honors) in fine arts at MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts in 2014 and completed an MFA in digital arts at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta, in 2016. Bezzina has been exhibiting work both locally and overseas for several years.
In 2015 he was awarded a residency by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. During the summer of 2016 he undertook a traineeship with the cultural association for the arts Nuova Icona in Venice and in 2017 he was one of the artists selected for the Maltese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Although Bezzina’s work inclines toward the sculptural, he is also interested in other media that encourage meaning making and further associative actions.
For more info visit the artist’s website at www.aaronbezzina.com.