As much as the idea of an artists' residency sounds idyllic, to partake in one is a surprisingly large amount of commitment and responsibility: you are forced to spend weeks or even months away from your home and community, oftentimes your forms of income enter stasis, and in many cases, you need to cough up a hefty sum of cash to participate. But artist-turned-residency-director Rachel Stuckey has come up with a residency that circumvents the typical burdens involved with these programs: Welcome to my Guest Room Digital Artist Residency Program is a free, two-week digital residency in the “guest room” of WelcomeToMyHomePage.net.
Welcome to My Guest Room is “no cost, you don’t have to travel anywhere or ship any work, you can keep your day job—and all your long-distance friends can catch the show,” Stuckey explains to The Creators Project. And the digitally uninitiated are surprisingly not at a disadvantage; the residency requires no coding experience as it operates through an intuitive and user-friendly HTML 5 web builder. Despite its ease of access, this form of digital residency does require consistent commitment from the artists: “Since it doesn’t require stepping out of your daily life, it does take a certain amount of discipline and ambition to set aside the time and mental space to log into the digital studio every day,” Stuckey adds.
Currently hosting new media researcher Maya Livio and sound artist JP Merz, the residency’s guest room consists of a shared webpage depicting a drawn layout of a simple room, with a series of clickable furniture and objects that allow the viewer to see fragments of image-based and textual works, recorded interactions between the artists, and, if you are lucky, momentary live streams of the residents on the guest room’s “couch.” The somewhat paradoxical sensation of digital occupation profoundly permeates the 2D room, resulting in the simulation of a studio visit at the click of a button.
Although the residency has been successfully inhabited by 20 different artists since 2014, Stuckey didn’t originally set out to organize a residency when creating her digital house website: “I made the host site WelcomeToMyHomepage.net as a place for visitors to stumble upon and get lost in, to house small digital works I’d made, and give a place for new ideas to hang out for a while,” says Stuckey.
“When thinking about homes and ephemerality together, I came to the idea of having a guest room on the site where friends could stay and change things up for short periods of time. I was interested in it not just being a space for myself, but for others to inhabit and intervene in. After inviting a couple of artists to use that part of the site, I really like where things were going, and the Welcome to my Guest Room Digital Artist Residency Program was born.”
If the idea of a digital guest room residency appeals to your creative impulse, Stuckey is currently taking applications for two-week residencies in October, December, and January, through September 18th. More information about the application process can be found here. To view what’s going on presently in the guest room, visit the residency’s homepage.