With the generous support of Wexford County Council, Cow House Studios presents Leeward, a 4-week residency open to visual artists and other creative practitioners. Starting with the premise that the “Rural” is a cultural construction that we need to demystify and take apart; the residency will address misunderstandings about how the countryside works, what it needs, and what it can offer. It will also look into current theories about the survival of our species.
The name Leeward refers to the side of a mountain sheltered from the wind. Cow House Studios lies against the foot of the Blackstairs mountains, offering shelter from both the physical forces and prevailing cultural winds. From this refuge, we will analyze how the study of the “Rural” may offer alternative scenarios about the future of the world.
City folks regulate and dictate what, when and how things are to be done out in the country. The focus of the residency will be on the exploration of prevalent attitudes and discourses around the Rural, and its ever-changing and conflicted relationship with the Urban. They will invite the discussion of topics such as climate change (contested or not), flawed economic systems and their consequences (inequality, social discontent, alienation), and issues of connection and belonging.
While there are many definitions of the Rural, some of the common factors used to classify it are population size, population concentration, physical distance to other settlements (remoteness), travel time and population potential. Cow House would like to bring awareness to the differences and patterns that emerge when studying both the physicality of the Rural as well as the economic and cultural effects it has on the lives of the people who inhabit it.
This residency aims to foster both “thinking WITH” others as well as engage in a self-reflexive mode of study. For that purpose, they will also schedule visits to sites of interest in County Wexford as well as visits from other professionals to Cow House.
In order to show the results of the reflective process that they hope to initiate at Leeward, there will be a symposium to conclude the residency at Blackbird House, an experimental culture-farm set in rural Wexford. The duration of the residency will be four weeks, from April 20th to May 17th, 2020.