Submitted by Holly Tempo, Associate Professor of Painting
Fine Arts Department
Funded Project: Attendance at the Can Serrat Artist Residency Program in El Bruc, Spain, October 1-31, 2009 to explore the relationship between color and dystopia and create an artist book.
I have always wanted to visit Spain, and finally got an opportunity to do so in October. I took a month off from teaching and spent time at the Masia Can Serrat, a creative enclave established by 12 Norwegian artists some 20 years ago. Can Serrat is located in the small town of El Bruc and is 45 minutes by bus from Barcelona.
I went to Spain to work on an artist book about color and dystopia. A dystopia is defined as an undesirable society where the quality of life is both defined and compromised by oppression, poverty, violence, and disease, resulting in unhappiness, suffering and pain. A dystopic society may also be a society that self-identifies as a utopia, but suffers from one fatal flaw.
I went to Can Serrat, expecting to intellectually consider unhappiness while living and working in a pastoral setting with other creative people. What I found when I arrived was that I was to reside in close proximity to a clique of misanthropes; and, by default, experience dystopic living first-hand. As the saying goes: Be careful what you go looking for as you may find it…