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Smoke Signals

Artist in Residence: Crater Invertido

A month-long residency conducted by the Mexican cooperative Crater Invertido at Motel Spatie in Presikhaaf, Arnhem. As an official partner of Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION, Motel Spatie, in cooperation with the Spatie network, hosted and produced three smoke signal gatherings (two of which in Presikhaaf) as well as interventions in the city using posters.

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Everything Here Still Seems To Be Under Construction And Is Already A Ruin

Artist in Residence: Erik Tlaseca

A two-and-a-half month residency resulting in an installation and a performance, interventions in public spaces and the publication Interzone, published under Motel Spatie. Curator: Claudia Schouten.

‘Everything Here Still Seems to be Under Construction and Is Already a Ruin: a two-and-a-half-month residency at the invitation of Motel Spatie, from mid-May until the end of July, 2016. During this residency I embraced many types of media to communicate with the architecture and the neighborhood of the Presikhaaf city district. From drawings, videos, collage and sound to spoken word, sculptures and installation. This residency had its first outcome in a brief action; a cluster of different collaborations with the network of friends at Locatie Spatie that surrounds Motel Spatie. To alternatively coincide with creating an interzone: an installation built inside a trash container. This was placed in the garage at the rear of the Spatie space, which I consider to be the core of the Winkelcentrum Presikhaaf building. The curtain was raised on the 22nd of July at 7pm, only to let this Interzone disappear the next morning and return to the wastelands of Arnhem, the Netherlands. The process had a final breath in the publication Interzone, published under Motel Spatie.’

— Erik Tlaseca
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This is a list of artists who took part in one or more artist in residency programs initiated, supported and produced by Motel Spatie between 2013-2018.

Adelita Husni-Bey (USA)
Ajeng Nurul Aini (Indonesia)
Alex Godwin (UK)
Alice Peragine (Duitsland)
Alternative Learning Tank [ALT]
Andre Alves (Pt)
Bas Bron (Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, NL)
Basak Karabalut (Turkey)
Balz Isler (Switzerland)
Bazel (CZ )
Biop (NL)
Cajo Ludica (Guatamala)
Cardboard Creatures (NL)
Crater Invertido (Mexico)
Cut and Rescue (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Daniel Vlcek (CZ)
Danielle Lemaire (NL)
Elejan van der Velde (NL)
Erik Tlaseca (Mexico)
Evgenia Nikitina (Russia)
Ewa Głowacka (Poland)
Farid Rakun (Indonesia)
Heimprofi (Krista Burger) (NL)
Helen Zeru (Ethiopia)
Hubert Jakub Kostka (Poland)
Ida Roscher (Germany)
Isaac Howell (USA)
Influenza (BE)
Ivo Statinski (Poland / NL)
Jakub Nepraš (CZ)
Janna Ullrich (DE)
Jarmilla Mitríková & Dávid Demjanovič (SVK)
Jennifer Bennet (Switzerland)
Jeroen Jongeleen (NL)
Joe Made This (DE)
Jonmar van Vlijmen (NL)
Jo Zahn (Germany)
Jozef Mrva (CZ)
Katherine Ball (USA)
Kees Westervelt (NL)
Kenneth Letsoin aka Naamloozz Eindeloozz (NL)
De Kift (NL)
Lene Benz (Germany)
Lifepatch (Indonesia)
Maiko Hino (Japan)
Manuel Beltrán (Es)
Marc van Elburg (NL)
Matthijs Lieshout (NL)
Meatgrinders  (Australia)
Miroslav Tóth (Slowakia)
Mixedrice (South-Korea)
Moira van Dijk (NL)
Olga Dospekhova (Russia)
Omar Salem (Syria / NL)
Orhan Delibas (Turkey / NL)
Phillipe Van Wolputte (Belgium)
Raumlaborberlin (DE)
Reinaart Vanhoe (Belgium)
Rob Sweere (NL)
Rob Voerman (NL)
Roos van Dijk (NL)
Ruangrupa (Indonesia)
Sarjon Dali (Syria / NL)
Sergei Kulikov-Shuyskiy (Russia)
Sido Dekker (NL)
Standing (CZ)
Syafiatudina (Kunci Cultural Study center Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Syaiful Ardianto (Indonesia)
Tammam Aziz (Syria /NL)
Therese Schulzeit (DE)
Tilmann Meyer-Faje (DE)
Varvara Degtiarenko (Russia/ USA)
Victor Yuliev (Russia)
WN van Havenhorst (NL)
Yana Klichuk (Russia)

Floorplan of the Project Space (11,8 × 10,3 M)
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Research trip / Moscow residency / Museum Night Moscow presentation / Dutch Design Week presentation / Publication / Motel Spatie presentation / With Artist: Elejan van der Velde

Motel Spatie curated and produced two earlier projects for Dutch artists in Russia between 2014 and 2017. For Motel Spatie this was a continuation of research into ‘Engaged autonomy’, wherein the utilisation of public space for art, direct connection with and exchange of social and political context and the rules and laws that are faced are considered central, become visible and most preferably are actively stretched. Motel Spatie sets up an extensive network for artists involved, wherein new work or a new method of working can be developed, as well as supporting artists with necessary means.

In 2014 we started with Mathijs Lieshout in Galleria, a fashionable shopping centre in the heart of St.Petersburg. A repetition of the project previously conducted in the Presikhaaf shopping mall was envisioned, this time in a comparable but even more complex and challenging context; private, like Presikhaaf, but also a public space.

Motel Spatie also curated and produced a Silent Skies project by Arnhem-based artist Rob Sweere in Moscow and St.Petersburg in 2015. Amongst other things, the project involved sociology students from St.Petersburg staging an intervention, laying down on the square in front of the Hermitage. A daring project, bearing in mind the strained relationship between the Netherlands and Russia at that moment. Both projects succeeded in achieving their intention, much that seemed impossible proved to be possible.

All of the experiences and contacts gained since 2013 contributed to an invitation and another new project, with the theme of the lost Sukharev tower in the centre of Moscow, for which Elejan van der Velde was invited.
In his work van der Velde examines memories of spaces and objects, as well as the traces in spaces that form a visual memory on the surfaces of built-up living environments. He is also interested in concepts such as ‘time’ and ‘memory’ in relation to materials.

The ‘Network of Friends’ again manifests itself; Claudia Schouten and van der Velde have been working together since 2009, from intern and neighbour at the first Spatie, to Cum Laude Sandberg. Van der Velde also held a part-time position in 2016/2017 as ‘MultifunctionalMotelSpatieMiep’ and as such represented Motel Spatie amongst others in a panel discussion in Wroclaw, Poland in November 2016, alongside other residency programmes including Meatfactory, Prague and the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.


During a work visit to Russia, Claudia Schouten came into contact with a small local museum that willingly sought to work together with a contemporary artist who could contemplate and turn their thoughts to the ‘heritage’ of the lost Sukharev tower. Built by Peter the Great and later demolished by Stalin to make way for a six-lane motorway, the tower once housed Russia’s first secular school; an institute of navigation where Russia was mapped for the first time. The first Dutch-Russian dictionaries also emerged there.

Elejan’s work remained a proposal. The initial design was approved by the Moscow City Department of Culture, but was rejected by the the Department for Transport and Road Infrastructure Development. Nevertheless, Motel Spatie is proud to have brought the work this far.

Imprint is a proposal for a road monument. A four-centimeter elevation of the asphalt in the shape of the tower’s floor plan, covering 1100 square meters on the site where the tower once stood; now an intersection of a busy six-lane motorway running right through Moscow. The metro tunnel beneath runs around the remaining foundations of the tower, which are concealed from view.

‘By raising the floor plan from the asphalt, it is as if the memory will rise up again. The word imprint is derived from the metaphor of Aristotle; that everybody’s soul has a block of wax on which all of their memories are imprinted. Some have a softer wax, some have harder. Some memories are pressed harder into this block of wax and some are softer. But in the end these will always fade away to a certain extent.’

— Elejan van der Velde

The extensive project involved a period of research followed by a period of work in Moscow conducted by van der Velde, as well as a presentation during Museum Night Moscow of a 3.20 by 3.50 meter scale-model of the intersection and the to be realised work. The presentation took place in the metro tunnel next to the hidden foundations of the Sukharev tower.

The presentation of a second scale-model, this time made of asphalt and accompanied by a publication, took place during Dutch Design Week 2016 in Eindhoven. The asphalt scale-model and accompanying publication were subsequently exhibited in the therewith newly opened Motel Spatie project space at the independant premises in Presikhaaf, as opening of the January 2017 season.

Motel Spatie in collaboration with and invited by the Garden Ring Museum, Moscow, supported by the Dutch Embassy in Moscow and CCI-Fabrika Moscow. Elejan van der Velde was supported by the Grant Programme for Talent Development – Architecture 2016, care of the Creative Industries Fund NL.

IMPRINT was presented in the Sukharevskaya underpass/ metro entrance as a scale-model measuring 3.20m by 3.50m, accompanied by a photographic impression of the idea: Looming #1, Museum Night Moscow 2016.

Project Space Motel Spatie

Motel Spatie Season Opening and the opening of the new project space, featuring work by Elejan van der Velde, Erik Tlaseca (Mex) and Jakub Nepras (CZ). View the extensive visual report via Trendbeheer.

Poster for the Motel Spatie Season Opening on 27-01-2017, designed and screen printed by Sido Dekker.
Flags by Erik Tlaseca
Visitors attend the exhibition at the Motel Spatie Project Space.
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Into the Grid

Artwork by Rob Voerman

This work came to exist in response to a question that artist Rob Voerman posed during informal conversations with Claudia Schouten regarding their work: ‘How he could let his work be more socially engaged without it becoming pamphlet-like’. Motel Spatie curated, financed and produced an investigation in the form of a work by Rob Voerman; an installation with a public programme, taking place in an out-of-use pit in the centre of the Presikhaaf shopping mall (1965) and open to the general public for the duration of two and a half months.

For Voerman the project meant a new audience range; something that Motel Spatie is experienced in. Our audience is not the regular ‘art audience’. Furthermore, the process of obtaining a permit for a public space that is not public but private was of great interest to Motel Spatie. A shopping mall is not a public but a privately owned space. To keep up the momentum of the project, Motel Spatie began building before all permits had been issued.

Motel Spatie also coordinated a broad public programme, with highlights including a sold-out concert by De Kift, taking place within the work after the mall’s closing hours, and a boxing clinic instructed by retired professional boxer Orhan Delibas, silver-medallist at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Delibas currently runs a boxing academy in Presikhaaf, the suburb where he in part grew up.

The audience reached in this period is estimated at 10,000 visitors. Many visitors asked questions about the work and many conversations about art took place within the work.

Into the grid was in this sense a prelude to the work that Voerman built the following year for Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION, also in Arnhem, utilising the same material choices and public programme, this time above the waterfall in Park Sonsbeek. The Presikhaaf audience is nevertheless a totally different audience than that of Sonsbeek, whose primary visitors were informed and had an existing interest in art. The desired connection with a wider audience that Sonsbeek had envisioned did not take shape as it did in Presikhaaf.

Daily visitors inside the work and the special attendant at the door: Kenneth Letsoin a.k.a. Naamloozz Eindeloozz, Locatie Spatie member.
De Kift in concert, performing ‘Wee Mij’ : “A guaranteed melancholic event”.
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Artist in Residence: Mathijs Lieshout

Pitwood in construction.

‘Over the course of one month, shopping mall visitors could follow the building process of the artwork. After one month of construction, the installation was broken down within a matter of days. A single sign was posted to offer explanation, it read: ‘A project by Motel Spatie’. The context of a shopping mall instead of a gallery or museum, together with the very public building process, resulted in a peculiar mix of the everyday and the out of the ordinary’

— Mathijs Lieshout

During informal conversations between Mathijs Lieshout and Claudia Schouten in Košice, eastern Slovakia, Lieshout questioned the relevance of his work. He wanted to take his work beyond ‘the art space’. The audience was often the same audience and a direct connection with society was lacking. Claudia Schouten curated, financed and produced the work Pitwood under Motel Spatie in 2013, in a disused pit situated in the Presikhaaf indoor shopping mall. The work was built over the duration of a month and disappeared again within two days of its so-called ‘completion’. The video of the total work was commissioned by Motel Spatie and recorded on the last day by Maxim Tymenko.

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Artist Studio’s

Locatie Spatie manifests itself in between the spaces of politics, social relations, architecture and other fields. It expands to the spaces that are not being used and transforms them into lively spaces. The Artist Studio’s are a good example of how Locatie Spatie manifests itself into an empty space, expands, and transforms it into a place that has an identity, a face.

Artists with very different backgrounds are invited to be part of the collective and transform a space into a place where they work. Very soon the artists meet the neighbours who are walking by with their dog or who are going to the supermarket, and they make contact. From an empty, anonymous space to social engagement between the artists and the people who live in Arnhem Presikhaaf.

Another goal of Locatie Spatie is to make these studios affordable. Because the empty space is annexed – and not bought or rented – it is possible to keep the rent very low, making it attractive for young artists and designers who just graduated.

When an artist is invited by Motel Spatie in the residency program, a transaction takes place. International artists from the residency are being connected with some of the artists or designers from the local studio’s and they enrich each other by sharing knowledge, friendships, networks, recipes and information. Therefore Motel Spatie states that the real capital of Locatie Spatie and Motel Spatie is not stored in money or real estate, but in our Network of Friends.

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Every Friday afternoon up to 75 people gather in Locatie Spatie to have dinner. A friendly and open event is being organised where everybody is welcome to enjoy dinner with a group of people. SPOON is the place where most people, with very different backgrounds, enter Locatie Spatie for the first time. Some start helping out as a volunteer and are being triggered to set up their own programme or initiative. They eventually get a key of the building and become co-owner of Locatie Spatie.

The head-chef of SPOON, Farahnaz Malek Zadeh, born in Iran, brought not only the Iranian cuisine to the Netherlands but she is also specialized in various cuisines from around the globe. Foreign artists that stay in the residency often cooperate with Farah and by that bring their foodculture to Spatie. Dinner can be joined every friday without reservation for € 5,–.

Part of SPOON is Bar ‘De Herde Kern’, run by Sarjon & Tammam with help of volunteers and friends. The SPOON team makes Spatie a place that feels like home. The space being used for the dinners is during weektime a screenprint studio, a communal place, an informal school, a zinelibrary and so on, used by many keyholders of Spatie.

SPOON also takes care of dinner when there is an opening, an exhibition or an event. This is a place where a lot of people share experiences, knowledge and friendships with the other users of the space i.e. volunteers, Locatie Spatie members, international artists from the Motel Spatie artist in residency program, neighbours, local artists and others.

SPOON’s food helps bringing people together. There is conversation, there is interaction and everybody can join in and participate in a way that is valuable for themselves and others.

Left to right: Antonius, Farah & Elssie (Photo by Joanna Florek).
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Print Workshop

A part of Locatie Spatie’s space is used as a Print Workshop. Screen printing and etching are being practiced by the artists of the Artist Studio’s. They are skilled, experienced and they know how to make professional high quality prints using these techniques.

For more information about making an appointment, prices, participating in a workshop or collaborating, send an e-mail to Mirka or Simon or just visit Locatie Spatie on Friday from 13:00

Mirka Farabegoli

Screen printing
Simon Groot-Kormelink

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Motel Spatie

Motel Spatie consists of an artist-in-residency, a project space and a zindepo based in a former public library, part of Presikhaaf shopping mall (1965) as part of and in collaboration with the Locatie Spatie collective: a local and international network of friends. Therefore Motel Spatie provides and supports 8 individual studios, a weekly peoples kitchen SPOON, initiates an annual childrens art festival and various public and social programs throughout the year.

Motel Spatie produces contemporary visual art projects only superlocal in Presikhaaf neigbourhood Arnhem the Netherlands OR superinternational, at sites abroad. We host and support around 10 foreign artist each year in the residency in the city district Presikhaaf Arnhem, the Netherlands. The projects abroad took place with Dutch artists in Moscow, St. Petersburg (Russia), Donostia (Basque Country), Wroclaw (Poland), Pilzen (Czech Republic) and Kosice (Slovakia). All projects are in the curatorial framework of Motel Spatie.

For the projects we set up a network either in Presikhaaf or at spots abroad and support the artists with a monthly fee, production and travel expenses, housing and a studio.

Locatie Spatie was founded in 2010 as an informal artist collective with studios and a weekly people’s kitchen. The non-profit foundation Motel Spatie was founded in 2013 and, besides the contemporary art productions, the foundation now takes care of the buildings and all public programs.

Every Friday afternoon we are open for public. The zinedepo and the Project Space are open at 13:00. SPOON ‘people’s kitchen’ serves at 18:00, no reservation. Delicious dishes from all around the globe for only 5 euros.

For up to date information about presentations and events in the Project Space check our Facebook page or subscribe to our newsletter.

Motel Spatie’s Curatorial Framework
Motel Spatie uses a curatorial practice that doesn’t only pose questions or theorises, but acts. By acting, it encounters the boundaries of political and social issues and through that, these are made visible and can be stretched. It is a radical solution to bypass the muddle of regulations, laws and ownership. The basis of our self-organisation are long-term social networks founded on trust. Art becomes part of a continuing process of research into our shared experience and does not end after a project has finished.

The aim of Motel Spatie is to shape the concept of ‘Engaged Autonomy’ by inviting artists, linking these to a particular physical and / or social context and supporting them in the development of new work.

Engaged Autonomy is a concept of self-awareness about the contemporary context. It describes a responsibility to stand for one’s own actions but to invite the context to affect them. The exchanges, which occur in the form of knowledge or content, serve as questions that disturb the prevailing consensus about either the creator, or the context.

Context Spatie in The Netherlands

Projects are either superlocal or superinternational. In the Netherlands we only work in Presikhaaf. This is a typical post-war district that witnessed the engagement of architecture (as economic and political tool) for the improvement of the world by means of building design and urban planning. The idea was to build a new social order where the individual reconciles his place in the community, a place he had lost in the modern city.

Presikhaaf city district is build on a former swamp in the outskirts of the city Arnhem. A big part of this district was built with the debris from its preceding ruins, which came after the destruction of a big portion of this city during World War II .

Winkelcentrum (shopping mall) Presikhaaf, is an aggregate of flat buildings and shops. It is the oldest shopping centre (1965) in Europe based on the American idea of a shopping mall and built according to the architectural principles of CIAM. At the time of construction it was state-of-the- art and won prices during the 1971 World Exhibition in Paris. Now the mall is facing major vacancy. Presikhaaf city district faces nowadays 65.000 square meters of empty office spaces and the area gathers 15.000 inhabitants born in 112 different countries, adding a special dynamic to this district (currently under extensive restructuring).

The spaces which Motel Spatie uses, do not have a direct financial value or make profit in the short term. They are never the property of Motel Spatie, and neither is rent ever paid for them.

Motel Spatie was founded by Claudia Schouten, general director and curator.

Arnhem Presikhaaf, image from a postcard (1965)