AIR Krems, Embracing the Philosophy of Artists


AIR Krems, Embracing the Philosophy of Artists
[Work] Participation of AIR Krems, Austria

Last February 2011, the ’’Artists-in-Residency 2011 Jindo’’ (Korea) was held, hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea Arts Management Service, and Bukchon Changwoo Theater. See related article from theApro Overseas artists and festival directors were invited to Korea centering around Korean traditional artists, and they spent a week together experiencing Korea’’s traditional culture and sharing each other’’s music and energy. I began working with the Austrian musicians through the workshop, and after that, I got to participate in the joint project called ’’macroPHONIA.’’ The macroPHONIA Project began with the proposal by the NOE Festival Director, Josef Aichinger, and it consisted of 3 Austrian musicians and 4 Korean musicians. Also, as a part of this project, I participated in the Artist In Residence Krems (AIR Krems) in Austria for a month last December.

A Residency Directly Programmed by the Artists

Designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Krems an der Donau is one of the most historic cities in Austria. This small city of 25 thousand people located on the banks of Donau River is the cultural capital of Lower Austria embracing all genres of art such as fine arts, literature, performing arts, and films. The AIR Krems held in this city is the largest artist residency in Austria, and with the goal of international exchanges among artists, it was co-founded in 2000 by the Austrian government and the Lower Austrian Cultural Association (NÖKU). It provides a venue for the variety of artistic fields including visual arts, literature, architecture, and music. The resident artists receive 1,000 Euros per month in support and can stay from 1 month to 3 months. As the goal of the residency suggests, the resident artists of AIR Krems get invited to many arts festivals, exhibitions, and performances in Lower Austria, and also receive requests for collaborative works with the local artists in the region. Sometimes, the other way around, the artists who were invited to the performances and exhibitions in the Lower Austria region stay in this space as well.

AIR Krems studio

As mentioned before, AIR Krems is a space where artists from diverse genres such as visual arts, literature, architecture, and music can enrich themselves with the fragrance of Austria and develop their artworks. The time I’’ve spent together with various artists last December was an interesting experience where I was able to peer into their individual lives. The studio floor and walls of the artist from the Republic of Montenegro were filled with myriad of her drawings that had a similar feeling as the Korean ink-and-wash painting. The Greek German photographer went swimming or hiking during the day and took pictures during the late hours when everyone was asleep. The Irish artist, with the upcoming opening of the exhibition in Baden, Austria, was more focused on creating a homepage and administrative tasks rather than artistic works. I too used the residency space as a place for rehearsals with the local musicians and as a place of meditation and leisure to recharge myself. Like this, the AIR Krems can be participated by the artists for their own lives and works through their own programming, and it doesn’’t limit the contents of the programs or the use of the spaces.

Other than through official programs, artists can receive support for living and creative activities through the expert advisers of each field related to AIR Krems as well. Not only the staff of the AIR Krems residency, but also the Kunsthalle Krems Curator in the field of fine arts and the directors of Austria’’s festivals in the field of music participate as the expert advisers, and they provide opportunities for communication by inviting artists to meetings related to the culture and arts or by directly introducing the cultures in Austria.

Participating artists at AIR Krems

Embracing the Philosophy of Artists

The exchange with the resident artists as well as my joint work with the Austrian musicians can said to be the most meaningful accomplishment during my residency. Other than the macroPHONIA Project performance which was planned before my departure to Krems, I had a total of 5 performances including the solo performances. The musicians that I met and the rehearsals and discussions we had about new works through this experience turned out to be a chance to make lasting artistic partners rather than a one-off thing.

Especially, the music that I experienced there was music that was usually played or performed in an experimental and a new perspective. As we were in Austria, the home of classical music, it is needless to say how much I was inspired by the their avant-garde and experimental music that flows from a deep understanding of their culture, especially when I am a musician of a traditional instrument as well.

As a musician of Korea’’s traditional instrument, I also realized that the best combination of new sounds that is based in tradition comes from free communication with the Western musicians without constraints, and focus in naturally blending their sounds and mine through modern methods. This is also true in the idea that the best ensemble can be achieved as each individual pursues one’’s own unique sound through the instrument without creating boundaries between musicians.

The performance of Kyungso PARK with the local musicians

On the first day of the Krems residency, I remember knocking on the doors of each other’’s rooms to say hello for the first time. I think the AIR Krems, midst the quiet and beautiful city, is a great place where all the artists can hold on to their own philosophy, and is the place where a new history of art in Austria is being written. I hope the residency in Korea can also become the embracing spaces where artists can keep their own philosophies as in Krems.


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Kyungso PARK _ Gayageum Player
Kyungso PARK _ Gayageum Player

Kyungso PARK is a gayageum musician who is very active in various fields such as traditional, contemporary, experimental, and popular music. She has graduated from Korea National University of Arts with Bachelor and Master Degree in Traditional Arts, and is currently in the PhD program at the Seoul National University. She is active as a member of the Gayageum Ensemble AURA, and the Oriental Express. She is also lecturing at the Korea National University of Arts, Chungwoon University, and Yeoju Institute of Technology.