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Nico Athene supported by action host non-profit organization ALMA MARTHA invites local and global artists, curators and cultural practitioners to participate and engage in a body of research as a performative residency in her bed. In Bed With Artists residency will be held over a period of two weeks in late November. Artists can apply to participate for periods between 3 to 48 hours.

The residency highlights the location of the body in a space of practice, and the mechanisms (institutional, economic and moral) through which the claim of the Artist or Art Work is realised. Additional themes include the body politic, process as product, relational aesthetics, negotiation, cohabitation, commoditization, intimacy, gender, sex work, body positivity, representation, unproductiveness and leisure. It is open to diverse and cross-disciplinary practices, offering opportunities and processes for creative risk-taking and artistic resistance within the presence and space of another/others.

Researching in various spaces of sex work over the past two years, Athene has encountered experiences and interactions both liberating and harrowing. What has fascinated her throughout is her relationship to narratives of empowerment in the context of changing experiences of connection and disconnection, enjoyment, boredom, pleasure, desire, disgust, presence, distance and improvisation. An exploration she wishes to extend to a community of artists.

‘Its easy to essentialise the discourse [of sex work] by asking it to serve a particular agenda. My only agenda is that I maintain my position as fluid initiator of the project and that it remains in this way initiated by an individual, so that in inhabiting the position of ‘sex worker’ I do not become a fixed symbol.’

Athene’s bed is situated in a private apartment in an historic building in Cape Town’s city centre. Artists, curators and cultural workers are invited to make use of the space of a ‘bedroom’ with 'bed’ and the 'body of another’, or simply ‘another’, as part of their work, whether they relate directly to the hosting artist, or not. Artists can choose whether they would like their residency period to overlap with others applicants, to share just with Athene, or to apply as an individual, pair or collective.  Sleeping, ablution and cooking facilities will be provided for the duration of the residency. Wifi and some basic art materials will also be provided.

In acknowledgement of mutual art making and reciprocal processes and empowerment, applicants should be willing to engage in the residency’s documentation processes, including photographs, recordings, and be visible as part of a live stream video which invites a broader audience to participant as voyeur.

Images, descriptions and/or transcripts of the work will be included in an online catalogue and future exhibitions, also serving to promote the works of the artists in residency, as will a media campaign. Artists are invited to indicate whether they would be interested in hosting a workshop or talk as part of the series and happenings over potluck dinners that will be curated in Athene’s flat over the duration of the residency. The events over the two week period provide a safe and open space for participants and the broader art public in Cape Town to .engage with the process and discourse of bodies in art making.

The residency is supported by the expertise of ALMA MARTHA, an artists’ run section 21 non-profit, which was founded in 2014. ALMA MARTHA over the past three years has worked hard to build an international network of artists as well as promoting South Africa abroad in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and currently Finland. The relations that are built with the artists are on going and open to new projects. ALMA MARTHA is not your mother… but you can always come back if you want to.

ALMA MARTHA will work to support the selected artists to secure travel grants and project funding.