• Heidi Seppälä

Heidi has been invited to create work for students of Ramallah Ballet Centre in Palestine from September 2019 onwards. Her new colourful position includes work from innovating

a professional development programme for the youth in Ramallah, and creating a Christmas

show for the end of the season.

A video of activities in Ramallah Ballet Centre can be seen in:

  • Heidi Seppälä

As the “"The free-ranging master of Heritage Studies” (Patrick Wright/The Independent), David Lowenthal, historian and geographer who established heritage studies as an academic discipline, is been extensively quoted here for a source of inspiration. The following text is from his book Heritage Crusade and The Spoils of History, a “spectacular demolition job on the cult of heritage” (Frank McLynn, GLASGOW HERALD ), Perceptive, provocative (Michael Kerrigan, THE SCOTSMAN) and Absorbing book (Frank McLynn/Glasgow Herald) which deserves to be placed on the shelves of every olde gifte shoppe in the kingdom." (Ben Pimlott/THE GUARDIAN).

An official recommendation of the Art/Heritage team.

ALL AT ONCE HERITAGE IS EVERYWHERE—in the news, in the movies, in the marketplace—in everything from galaxies to genes. Itis the chief focus of patriotism and a prime lure of tourism. One can barely move without bumping into a heritage site. Every legacy is cherished. From ethnic roots to history theme parks, Hollywood to the Holocaust, the whole world is busy lauding—or lamenting—some past, be itfact or fiction.

To neglect heritage is a cardinal sin, to invoke it a national duty. Even as I write, American presidential aspirant Pat Buchanan champions the flag of the southern Confederacy because "everyone should stand up for their heritage." And in early 1996 British Defense Secretary Michael Portillo, pilloried for want of"prideinour national heritage," was forced to rescind aproposed sale of Aston Webb s majestic but now moribund and otiose 1910 Admiralty Arch.

Why this rash of backward-looking concern? What makes heritage so crucial in a world beset by poverty and hunger, enmity and strife? We seek comfort in past bequests partly to allay these griefs. In recoiling from grievous loss or fending off a fearsome future, people the world over revert toancestral legacies. As hopes of progress fade, heritage consoles us with tradition. Against what's dreadful and dreaded today, heritage isgood—indeed, the first known use of the term is Psalm 16 s "goodly heritage."

Yet much that we inherit is far from "goodly," some of it downright diabolical. Heritage brings manifold benefits: it links us with ancestors and offspring, bonds neighbors and patriots, certifies identity, roots us in time-honored ways. But heritage is also oppressive, defeatist, decadent.

Miring us in the obsolete, the cult ofheritage allegedly immures life within museums andmonuments. Breeding xenophobic hate, it becomesa bywordforbellicose discord. Debasing the"true" past forgreedy or chauvinist ends, heritage is accused of undermining historical truth with twisted myth. Exalting rooted faith over critical reason,it stymies social action and sanctions passive acceptance of preordained fate.

With its benefits hyped and its perils exaggerated, heritage by its very nature excites partisan extremes. Ready recourse topatrimony fills many vital needs. But italso glamorizes narrow nationalism. Vainglory vindicates victors and solaces the vanquished, justifying jingoism and inflaming partisan zeal.

(...) Heritage passions impact myriad realms of life today. They play a vital role in national and ethnic conflict, in racism and resurgent genetic determinism, inmuseum and commemorative policy, inglobal theft, illicit trade, and rising demands for repatriating art and antiquities. Decisions about what toconserve and what to jettison, about parenthood and adoption, about killing or converting or cosseting those of rival faiths all invoke heritage to explain how we feel and to validate how we act.

(...) The past has become aforeign and exotic place where people did things differently.And despite advances in science and scholarship that tell us more than ever about former times, the past frustrates understanding: its events seem unfathomable, its denizens inscrutable. However much we know aboutthe past, we can never really know howit was for those who lived back then.

(…) But heritage, no less than history, is essential to knowing and acting. Its many faults are inseparable from heritages essential role inhusbanding community, identity, continuity, indeed history itself. If for one Australian historian "heritage is the cuckoo in the historian's nest," another prizes heritage as the fount of historical evidence.

We need to understand what impulses drive us, heritage crusaders all, to ravage the past in the very act of revering it and to censure others for faults equally our own. Yet we should also realize that in thus corrupting we also enhance the spoils of history, breathing new life into them for ourselves and our inheritors by fabricating heritage anew.

At its best, heritage fabrication is both creative art and act of faith. By means of it we tell ourselves who we are, where we came from, and to what we belong. Ancestral loyalties rest onfraud as well as truth and foment peril along with pride. We cannot escape dependency on this motley and peccable heritage. But we can learn toface its fictions and forgive its flaws as integral to its strengths.

(The Heritage Crusade And The Spoils of History By David Lowenthal, p. xiii-xvii)

  • Heidi Seppälä

Päivitetty: 24. huhtik. 2019

Art/Heritage Residency & Symposium is created by Finnish Akat Dance Collective and hosted by Heidi Seppälä. It is an open-air art residency in the rural area south-east of Hungary, a small town called Hódmezővásárhely, on the Great Hungarian Plain. This town, which literally translates to Marketplace on the Beavers' Field, holds an incredibly rich cultural and heritage history,displayed in the country’s national celebrations, folk music, dance and in the strong family ties reaching across generations. This land of thousand stories creates a perfect background for artistic investigation to traditions, culture and heritage, in the richest sense of these expressions.

Art/Heritage is a brainy retreat for artists working with the questions of tradition, ownership, culture & heritage. Questions like Who's heritage? What does a tradition require to exist? What makes 'old' more valuable? What traditions are there in contemporary art? Is contemporary art traditional" Etc. Will be treated as the thematic framework for the creation period and exhibition organised at the end of the residency. The initiative offers artists from any cultural background a unique experience to create work in an intimate, traditional communal setting. It is an open and collaborative space where artists become a part of a community and stimulate their work through the exchange of perspectives and wisdom of other cultures and thought processes. The aim is to create a space for reflection, sharing and growing ideas in a rich cultural diversity of artists working for a shared exhibition at the end of the residency period. Art/Heritage creates connections and connects cultures to work for a deeper understanding of values rarely questioned and often taken for granted.

Artists-in-residence are also invited to engage in locally based practices: to join local cultural initiatives as well as to work with local themes and visual and social contexts. The town centre of Vásárhely is only 20minutes walk away, and a field trip to “Cradle of the State of Hungary”, Ópusztaszer Heritage Park will be made. Traditional Hungarian meals will be cooked by our traditional in-house-culinary-artist and we also encourage artists-in-residence to take turns to create communal dinners from their own tradition, heritage or just simply, time in the past. The kitchen will be filled with 'basics' (in European context) for the duration of your stay, but we encourage everyone to bring a special something edible for sharing/cooking, be it a spice, sweets or a special biscuit you wish to share.

The collaboration we already have with the REÖK museum, is a very important vain of our artistic program. At the end of the residency period, a public presentation is organized to show the project realized by the artists. A press release is published to communicate the event, through local journalists and social media.

Detail from work of Monique Besten/Nomadic Village Art Residency

Art/Heritage will host 15-20 artists during the 2-week residency from the following disciplines: Visual Art, New Media, Animation, Film Making, Architecture, Sculpture, Ceramics, Dance, Theatre, Performing Arts, Music

Accommodation and resources: Art/Heritage will offer artists land, food, space for artistic creation, workshops, and an exhibition space in one of the most prestigious museums of Hungary. We offer kitchen, indoor hangout space, toilet and shower, wifi and a chef.

Expectations of the artist: The culmination of the residency will be a 3-day exhibition in REÖK Palace, Szeged's main fine arts museum and so we are looking for artists who are happy to exhibit in this prestigious space after an intense period of creation in our cozy art farm. We are looking for artists with openness and curiosity to create their own working space in the residency, as well as a mindset of an adventurer enough to embark on the landscape of a traditional wandering nomad (with indoor toilet and kitchen for a bit of modern comfort!). We also encourage participants to bring a special something edible for sharing/cooking, be it a spice, sweets or a special biscuit you wish to share, and the kitchen will be open for anyone wanting to share their culinary art for the rest of the artists!

Selection criteria: The residency dedicates particular attention to projects exploring the notion of heritage and tradition. The selection of the artists will be based on the artistic quality of their work, their motivation, openness and their potential to make the most of the opportunity to connect and create within the setting provided.

Location and accommodation:

Residency is organised in a rural residential area 20minutes walk from town centre of Hódmezővásárhely. Accommodation is in an intimate old farm-turned-into-artists space in the style of camping. Indoor bathroom, toilet, kitchen and hangout area is provided but participants are asked to arrive with their own portable accommodation. A tiny convenience store is located around the corner, and all amenities (groceries, restaurants, pubs, dyi, pharmacy, bank post...) are provided in town.