23 residents participated in BILjET within 8 weeks, and each residency lasted one week. The goal of BILjET and the theme of Traveler was to form an active alternative community of creatives that would achieve a sustainable symbiosis of tourism and culture on the island of Biševo. The program consisted of a 4-week residency on the island as a studio intended for artists and all creatives. Residents created on site inspired by the environment. Isolation, cooperation and participation of all present in a specific landscape transformed the idea of the studio into a research journey. Many ideas developed spontaneously, conditioned by the environment.
Two program residencies were also held: Curator’s week: Who is the curator? – challenges and revision of the profession and Signaling of the island – Hidden diaries of the island. The curator’s week brought together six art historians, cultural workers and curators who led discussions on the topics What does it mean to be a curator in Croatia today? and What reforms are needed and how to catch up with global trends? During the Week of Signalization, artists, designers and scientists from different fields initiated the project of signaling the island of Biševo, and in cooperation with the local population determined strategic areas that will be gradually upgraded with each subsequent residence.
Two art associations also participated in BILjET: Association for Contemporary Art KVART and Split Nomad Gallery – Association for Culture, Art and Society. During the residency, the members of the KVART association independently and collectively performed several artistic interventions through which they included the “surprised” islanders and tourists. This time, leaving the familiar environment of crowded neighborhoods, they intervened on an island devoid of the urban themes they usually deal with. Split Nomad Gallery, as one of the first pop-up art galleries in Croatia, continued the tradition of nomadic activities in alternative locations. Instead of the exhibition itself, this time the Split Nomads took on the role of travelers and, upon arriving on the island, deprived of all social and personal layers, created on the spot, expressing themselves through illustrations, comics, graffiti and other interventions in the space. In addition to a handful of creative interventions, there were also concrete new ideas, and a couple of new collaborations were realized.
After the successful residencies of the first BILjET, we decided to mark the entire program through exhibitions and multimedia events that include works and interventions created during the residencies, as well as clips from everyday life on the island. In addition to the exhibited works, our goal is to evoke the ambient atmosphere of the residences within the gallery space. Exhibitions/multimedia events will be held in 4 Croatian cities, with the first presentation of BILjET in Split, in the Studio -21- gallery from 14.1. until 16.1.2022.
As part of the event itself, an informal meeting with the organizers and residents is organized with the aim of showing that art can coexist in a place where mass seasonal tourism prevails and the complete absence of cultural and any other content in isolated places such as islands, and that a project designed in this way can be carried out and in other locations of similar value. The activity of residents who build their artistic practice respecting the scarcity of the island’s resources contributes to the understanding of the responsibility of artistic activity, but also promotes the idea that art can act as an organizational actor that creates a community. The specificity of this kind of action stems precisely from the resistance to the negation of social and cultural life on remote islands that are left only to the success of the summer tourist seasons, and with a complete lack of awareness of the influence of culture and art as a building element of the community.
The residencies were attended by: Lili Poljak, Iva Sabolić, Sanja Milovac, Ivan Svaguša, Petar Reić, Tina Dragović, Petar Aleksić, Boris Šitum, Luka Duplančić, Bojan Krivokapić, Manuela Pauk, Filip Smrekar, Karla Čurčinski, Martina Bobinac, Sabina Damiani, Ivana Meštrov, Natasha Kadin, Antonia Dorbić, Iva Gavrilović, Alen Marić, Vana Božić, Sara Evelyn and organizers Ana Bratić, Mirela Jusupović and Stjepan Tafra.