Joya: AiR / Dylan Cram / Canada
“I came to Joya arte + ecología / AIR in another state of mind. Things were framed-in pretty heavily after getting my degree and applying for residencies and shows. But after being at Joya: AiR for a week I can honestly say that my perspective shifted on a somewhat geological level. It begins with the landscape; arriving at night it was the headlights chasing rabbits down the dirt road, and the stars like I haven’t seen in years. But very quickly, I adjusted to life around the dinner table, the long discussions forming an all-to-uncommon thread between art and experience which belong to both and neither at the same time.
In the broader sense, my project aim was to expand on my Master’s thesis, which investigated shifts between embodied media, forms of representation and technology. My intention was to engage in an open-ended search for transitory forms – something that speaks to a zone in between technology and nature, bridging the global and the specific; the impersonal and the personal. By analysing my surroundings, either through traditional or technological means, I could acquire information which could then be pushed into a transitory state, existing in more than one medium simultaneously – in various roles, or layers, to greater or lesser degrees. This is what I came in with, and I can say that it was achieved, but I learned something else that I now view as more important.
As the specificity of the place itself unfolded (that is, the broader project of Simon and Donna that is Joya arte + ecología ), me and my art process became noticeably affected. Art has often been considered a surplus activity, and achieving surplus while remaining carbon neutral in such an environment is anything but automatic. I quickly realised the connection between the wind turbine and my computer processor was not something to be taken for granted. To borrow a pun: the generative power of Joya is real, traceable and earned.
Somehow, the premise of my project allowed me to become integrated into the fibrous network of natural and man-made elements and events: swales, wind storms, meandering hikes and endearing conversations filtered directly in. As a result, I found myself and my art-attempts moving in perfectly concentric circles. While things orbited and spun in my studio, I circled out into the kitchen or to the piano, or into discussions with the others. Then, out to the borders of the house, and beyond into the garden to dig and clear, or out into the surrounding hills to walk up and down the tributaries, circling and scanning objects. This concentric formalism increased my understanding of the landscape, the people around me, and my work and it is not something I will soon forget.