Raw Space Residency :: Nassiem Valamanesh

25 August – 28 September, Brisbane Australia

This Being Human. Image supplied by the artist

This Being Human. Image supplied by the artist

RAW SPACE is an exciting new moving image residency program that provides artists with an opportunity to live & work in Brisbane, Australia for four weeks. The artists, three Australian & one international places, come together to share ideas, explore their practice & create new works away from the distractions of everyday life. During 25th of August to 28th of September 2005, ANAT made it possible for me to attend the Raw Space residency. Funds provided by ANAT enabled me to take time off work, travel to Brisbane and produce work while in the comfortable surrounding of Raw Space.

The other artists that took part in the residency while I was there were Jason Lam, Tania Mason and Guillaume Potard. The residency operated similar to a share-house with artists living in a house located in Brisbane’s New-Farm district. For the four weeks we cooked together, went on field trips, worked in a shared space, discussed ideas regarding life and our projects.

On my arrival at Raw Space there were a few things that I had not expected. The space was smaller than I had imagined, the moving image studio equipment was not as flash as I had hoped for and the gallery space was in a transitional state. These at first seem like dramatic problems but eventually only turned out to be minor inconveniences. The size of the space we had to live in and share didn’t interfere with my workand the other residents were a great bunch of people making it a relaxed and enjoyable environment. The state of the equipment was just a reality of an artist-run residency and it only helped to focus my creativity. I was fortunate to be able to borrow a camera and tripod from one of the other residents and the work I had in mind revolved mainly around gathering still images so this worked itself out in the end. The Raw Space gallery had just moved to a new location in Brisbane and thus would not be up and running until a month after we left.

This Being Human. Image supplied by the artist

This Being Human. Image supplied by the artist

Not being able to exhibit straight after the residency resulted in having more time to complete my work and as such I am able to attempt to make something on a larger scale that I can edit and finish back in Melbourne. The new Raw Space gallery has now opened and is a vast improvement on the previous space. I will be looking forward to being part of a show in January 2006. Some of my earlier work has also been included in a group show of Raw Space residents. The show is tilted “Accelerando” and is currently being held at a Melbourne gallery called West Space from 18th of November to 3rd of December.

While at Raw Space, I was able to give a Q&A presentation with a screening of some of my work at Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art (IMA). Along with other residents I was also able to attend a practical demonstration of a new motion capture suit and 3D video projection systems at a place called Virtual Reality Solutions. The experience was informative and engaging. Apart from meeting local artists and touring local galleries we were also able to see a remarkable new performance by artist William Yang as part of Brisbane’s “River Festival”. This performance was deeply moving; Yang’s use of spoken word, photography and video really inspired me and gave me confidence in my own practice.

While in Brisbane I was able to concentrate on creating a new work. My partner and long time collaborator Selena Tan planted the idea in my mind of turning an existing work into a triptych or trilogy. Using a short work shot in Beijing as the beginning point I am currently in the process of making a second installment. Similar in style the second work uses the still image to evoke a feeling of nostalgia and a simple narration track to translate ideas and observations about love. Whereas the first work titled MY BEIJING FRIEND was about searching and longing, the second part takes the form of a love letter and is a meditation on loss and fear. During my stay in Brisbane I shot over four hundred 35mm still photos, six rolls of Super 8 film and a small amount of video. While there I also wrote text for the project that will end up being integrated into the images. I hope to record a voice-over track and complete the sound design by the end of this year. At this stage the work is going to be a stand-alone piece, which can be projected in a gallery, on a TV or in a cinema environment. Once I have completed this project (working title: “THIS BEING HUMAN”) I will begin production on a third part. I feel that when all three parts are completed screening them together will enhance their depth and energy. Having the 3 pieces displayed together will expand their individual narratives creating a larger context.

Overall the main benefits I received from attending Raw Space were, exposure to a new environment that stimulated my creativity, I developed new relationships with other practitioners that I hope to maintain, I was able to learn from other artists and observe how they worked, and I will shortly be given the prospect of exhibiting work and reaching new audiences in Brisbane.

The experience was a fantastic chance to get started on a new work while continuing my artistic development and I would like to thank ANAT for making the opportunity a reality.



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