least offers young artists the opportunity to contribute to an artistic project that relates to a specific environmental, social and community context. Resident artists are integrated into a transdisciplinary team and receive an annual grant. Through this in situ transmission mechanism, least provides unprecedented training opportunities.
The residencies offer qualitative added value to young artists who have just graduated from an art school or who are at a later stage in their career and thus reinforce specific and professional working methods. The residents assist the artist throughout the entire process of co-creation for a minimum of one year, from the definition to the implementation of the project, including research and documenting. least’s team assist with the research work that the residents wish to carry out by sharing its internal know-how and its network of experts
Artists in residence
Gabrielle Rossier (2023-2024)
Martin Reinartz (2022-2024)
Maxime Gorbatchevsky (2022-2023)
least and Southern Europe
The 2022 UN report “on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” addresses the issue of sacrifice zones, defined as “extremely contaminated areas where vulnerable and marginalised groups bear a disproportionate burden of the health, human rights, and environmental consequences of exposure to pollution and hazardous substances”.
The issue at stake in these zones is not only the contamination of populated territories, but the fact that communities living in these areas pay the price for a form of consumerism and lifestyles that they cannot access, and that are enjoyed by privileged groups of people who live in other areas, without having to pay the consequences themselves: a price in terms of health and human rights that mirrors the disparities of class in the globalised world.
In the European context, the areas most affected are concentrated in Southern Europe, due to the region’s geographical features and to socio-economic factors. The most heavily polluting and hazardous facilities tend to be located in close proximity to poor and marginalised communities. Notably, the only site in western Europe that features in the UN Report’s examples of sacrifice zones is the city of Taranto in southern Italy.
least is rooted in Switzerland, both physically and in terms of commitment to the place where the association was created and developed, as well as for reasons linked to the ecology of its resources.
Although it is anchored in a specific place, least’s programme is no less part of an international fabric developing connections with regions in southern Europe that are strongly affected by the consequences of climate change and environmental injustice.
Residencies and Partnerships in Southern Europe
In order to open a real dialogue and develop a programme of research residencies around these issues, we have decided to work together with partners in Southern Europe that share our values and aims, such as Post Disaster in Italy and Terra Batida in Portugal.
The consequences of the environmental and social crisis, whose impact on these countries has been so strong, have prompted the involvement of artists in their territories. Often gathered together in collaborative processes, these artists engage in artistic, ecological and participatory projects that question the place of society and individuals, foster readjustment to the autonomy of diversity, and challenge the systemic inequality that underpin the existence of sacrifice zones.
The research residencies in these territories are designed specifically by least and the partner venues, offering periods of immersion as opportunities to integrate the specific and common realities of each context into the research work of the residents. To this end, each partner venue will host and assist one artist in their networking with scientists, craftspeople, researchers and local communities for two to three months, depending on the nature of the project. Reading and Conveying a Landscape, the first joint project in partnership with Post Disaster, will be led by least artist-in-residence Martin Reinartz through 2024-2026 in the territory of Taranto (Italy).