Les om Cé Simonis sine tanker om sitt første opphold, og hva hen planlegger for det siste oppholdet i oktober!
"I was very lucky to be invited to Øksnes for the artist in residence programme (AiRV). I had always been intrigued by places situated north of the arctic circle: it feels very foreign to me as I grew up in the woods of the south of Belgium, quite far away from any coast. Working on coastal cultures is a brilliant opportunity for me to learn and explore new themes and stories.
I write and illustrate stories and make books that I print on my riso machine.
I knew, coming to Øksnes, that I would be gathering material for narratives, but it could be anything: I came with an open mind, not knowing much about the place. I really wanted to not have an agenda but instead to be open to discovery. It was part of the process to see what kind of stories would emerge during my stay there, what connections or ideas would come to me while starting to discover different places in Øksnes and meeting people there.
It was great to be welcomed by Hanne and to be sharing a living space with two other artists: Kristina who is from Vesterålen and Sébastien who is from Belgium (but whom I didn't know). The 4 of us never stopped exploring, the overtenning was real, and I got so excited by the light of the midnight sun that I barely slept: it was an incredible stay.
The midnight sun made a strong impression on me, as well as the way people talked about the sea. The landscape, the music of the Norwegian language and the wildlife were also fascinating.
During these 10 days of exploration, I took a lot of notes and took tons of pictures. I also drew, mostly to remember things rather than to produce a finished piece. I ended up with so many ideas that I needed a few days to let them rest when I came back home. After putting things together, I started writing and ended up with five short stories (and potential ideas for more). I decided to create different small books for the different texts so I could allow each of them to have its own mood and style. The format I chose for the books is a vertical concertina with a long image (and some words) in the front, and the full story on the back. This means that the books can also be displayed as posters. I like that format as it gives a rhythm to a story while also keeping a strong link between the pages.
I have just finished printing the first book called ' Hold Tight' , and I started sketching the second one.
I hope to have at least 3 finished books when I come back in October, if things go according to plan. I hope to be able to share them with people from Vesterålen, and I will probably give a workshop on visual storytelling when I'm there too. I know that this project will continue after October for me: with 10 more days to explore and go back to certain places to see them at another time of year, there is no doubt this will make me add some stories and book projects to this Øksnes book collection I have now started!"