ARTERIA LAB residency in Portugal

program for membersHubs Alliance Mobility 2023

Anykščiai @ Arteria Lab

My name is Justina, I’m from Lithuania, a small town full of culture called Anykščiai. I came to ARTERIA_LAB residency in Portugal, Alentejo region from Anykščiai art

incubator – art studio. My interaction in Arteria _lab was to live and work in new environments, get experience with modern digital machines, equipment and tell a story in new material form by exploring local traditions, land, people habits, identity and find compatibility with different cultures, archetypes. To gain new things in the creative working process with modern technologies. Arteria_lab seemed close to my new creative searches. From working in the field of art restoration (in Vilnius), later, creating glass art (in Anykščiai creative hub), also in the field of visual arts, applied arts (painting, graphics, ceramics…) and art education (workshops) I was looking for experiments, fresh ideas, new material forms of expression, to combine visual arts, heritage (archetypes), science, social and cultural environment, while creating sustainable and responsible art with new forms, shapes to develop and materialize my ideas. Arteria_lab was a great place for creative process for the period of five days (2023 09 04-

2023 09 08).

At ARTERIA_LAB I found a maker space with digital fabrication machines, such as 3D printers, CNCs, Laser, 3D scanners… Maker space manager Marius Araújo introduced the whole working space and surrounding, Évora University, art school places. It was great communication and so straight to receive advices and support, discussions and instructions before coming and during the whole residency from research Assistant Natália Melo and maker space manager Marius Araújo.

I had an approximate plan of work activities and succeeded to fulfill my ideas, but stayed flexible with leting my creativity flow.

Aprox plan of art activities:

September 4th – arrival, intro, ARTERIA lab, maker space, conversations and plans;

September 5th – searching surroundings, ideas, materials, making sketches;

September 6th – making experiments, art objects (stone, wood, paper, ect);

September 7th – finishing creative forms, objects (stone, wood, paper, ect);

September 8th – presentation

Many ideas came up, from which I chose to implement two. One of them is related to my current activity – working as an educator with children and youth. I decided to play and create the game “Tic-tac-toe”, which develops logical thinking skills, encourages communication and playing in groups, attentiveness, and strategizing to solve problems in creative ways. I drew sketches exploring Evora city and chose to work with wood, marble stone, and recycled plastic. I worked with engraving marble stones on the laser machine for the game. But the result wasn’t good enough, too shallow, slight, so the wood material worked better. By researching the atmosphere of Evora city, its old town seemed to me as a confusing labyrinth, I thought of creating a wooden box for this game with a map of Evora, in a shape of heart, where every step you take leads to a way closer to the exit. The image of the engraved box was done on the laser machine, and that was an easy material to work with.

Another conception was to create contemporary door handles – knockers for modern buildings and doors from inspiration of old Portugal decorative tradition, of Moorish origin, named „Fatima’s hand”. The door knockers symbolizes compassion and generosity, and reflects individual freedom, social relations, communication, sharing, creativity and „open door“ in a new modern form.

Perhaps I had a stereotypical opinion about plastic material, like not natural, not easily handled, decomposed or dissolved by nature. Therefore I decided to work with it by modelling three dimensional objects while testing new equipment: 3D scanners, laser, cutting machine, which are essentially computer controlled.

This artwork, called „Connections“ was made by scanning my real hand, working with several softwares and creating a smaller version of a natural hand ~10 cm, which is usually found on doors in Portugal, melting recycled plastic and cutting a sculpture. Thousands of individual points captured during a 3D scanning, recorded the surface details, textures. And several softwares were used in this long process in which the acquired data from images, sensors was imported. So I saw that each equipment and machine has its own specifics. How long I have been cozying up to the glass material, so there is a lot to learn about new techniques. Thanks to art lab manager Marius, who helped to discover new opportunities and how they work.

However, the challenge and patience was with the cutting machine. I saw how long it takes to work with various computer programs when every step must be planned to make the machine work. Either, not knowing what the ended results will be. It was curious and interesting to work.

I’m very glad I have met another resident Siming Zhang from Barcelona, with whom we had various discussions on art, travel, and cultural subjects. I realized that communication, sharing creative work with other artists, in a team, in the community is an important aspect for my creativity at the moment, so I lacked a bit of social action, since most of the art lab team and students were still on holidays, I missed the action, interaction and relationships, but it allowed me to concentrate on my work.

Big big thanks to Anykščiai art incubator-art studio to Arteria- lab and European Creative Hubs alliance for the opportunity to take part in a new creative place, where I discovered new paths and opened up even more ways of creative expression.

Yesterday (2023 09 26) I had a nice presentation about art residencies and shared my experience at Anykščiai art Incubator – art studio in Lithuania.