STARTS4Water announces winners of open call for 10 artist residencies addressing new water realities

STARTS4Water announces winners of open call for 10 artist residencies addressing new water realities

10 artists or artistic collectives have been chosen for the STARTS4Water residencies that will kick-start a series of collaborative processes and generate projects that raise awareness and offer concrete solutions for regional water challenges in Europe.

Following an open call that was launched in July 2021, the STARTS4Water Consortium received 294 eligible applications from 56 different countries, out of which 39,3% came from Europe and 60,7% from non-Europe based artists. The average age of the applicants was 42 years old.

Each residency will address a different region-specific water management challenge and relates to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG6 and SDG14). The challenges have been defined by the Consortium partners with the support of a regional expert network, including digital experts, entrepreneurs, regional leading art and research institutions, specialists in digital transformation, administration and public governance.

The STARTS4Water residencies will lead to tangible artworks that develop knowledge and raise awareness of water challenges, or to digital applications & processes that contribute to the local development of sustainable water use and management. 

Residencies start from October 2021 to June 2022  for a duration of maximum 6 months.

The winners are:

Rebuilding relationships with fluvial systems: Joshua G. Stein

STARTS4Water Artist-in-Residency:  Joshua G.Stein

Residency: Rebuilding relationships with fluvial systems: exploring people’s relationships with rivers and streams hosted by Cittadellarte


Joshua G. Stein is the founder of Radical Craft. a Los Angeles-based studio that advances an experimental art and design practice saturated in history, archaeology, and craft. This inquiry inflects the production of urban spaces and artifacts by evolving newly grounded approaches to the challenges posed by virtuality, velocity, and globalization. His recent projects reimagine the construction and resource extraction industries as anthropogenic geological processes while investigating new applications for earthen materials. Joshua G. Stein has received numerous grants, awards, and fellowships, including multiple grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the AIA Upjohn research award, and the 2010-11 Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture. He is Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University where he is the Interim Chair of the Sustainable Practices program.


“With the STARTS4Water residency, I propose to reimagine the Western Po Valley as a territory whose hydrology is both directed by and composed of anthropogenic activities, most significantly, the sediment transports and distributes downstream trace amounts of the positive and negative aspects of human culture and development.”

Rebuilding Relationships with Fluvial Systems: Theresa Schubert

STARTS4Water Artist-in-Residency:  Theresa Schubert

Residency: Rebuilding Relationships with Fluvial Systems: Fluvial Systems as Indicators of Climate Change and its Impact hosted by Cittadellarte


Theresa Schubert is a Berlin-based artist exploring unconventional visions of nature, technology and the self. Her work combines audiovisual and biomedia to conceptual and immersive installations or performances. By means of interdisciplinary methods – such as biohacking, theoretical analysis, performative interpretation and material experimentation – her works question the relation of humans to their environment and evolvement of matter and meaning beyond the Anthropos. More recently, she works with UHD video environments and 3D Laser Scanning to challenge modes of perception and question the human-machine-nature relationship in hypertech societies. Schubert’s work has been exhibited at, e.g. Ars Electronica Linz, Art Laboratory Berlin, KW Berlin, Electrofringe Festival, European Media Art Festival, Kapelica Gallery Ljubljana, Museum of Modern Art Vilnius, MMOMA Moscow, or Museum Villa Rot, or Newcastle Region Gallery. She is a member of SALOON Berlin and medienkunstverein Berlin.


“My first reason for choosing this residency was my immediate affinity with the representation of fluvial systems. Images of fluvial networks have a strong aesthetic resemblance to the microworlds and cellular structures that appear in my art such as slime molds or mycelial networks. Also, acting against climate change is very important to me. By combining novel technologies and biological methods, I would like to lay the grounds for positive transformation of current ecological challenges and our behaviour towards nature through creative strategies and aesthetic experiences.”

Zero Pollution Adriatic: Marjan Žitnik MAR, Robertina Šebjanič

STARTS4Water Artists-in-Residency:  Marjan Žitnik MAR and Robertina Šebjanič Residency

Residency: Zero Pollution Adriatic hosted UR Institute


Robertina Šebjanič is an internationally awarded artist, whose work revolves around the biological, chemical, political, and cultural realities of aquatic environments and explores humankind’s impact on other species and on the rights of non-human entities, while calling for strategies emphatic towards other species to be adopted. In her analysis of the theoretical framework of the Anthropocene, the artist uses the term ‘aquatocene’ and ‘aquaforming’ to refer to humans’ impact on aquatic environments. Her works received awards and nominations at Prix Ars Electronica, Starts Prize, Falling Walls.    Her work was exhibited and performed at venues and festivals such as Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Prix Cube Exhibition (FR), MONOM_CTM (DE), Matadero (ES), (Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Kosmica festival & Laboratorio Art Almeda (MX), Kapelica Gallery (SI), Device_art (CRO), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Kiblix Festival (SI), Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje (SI), Museum of Contemporary Art Beograd (SRB), Eye Museum Amsterdam (NL). 


“Through residency research with focus on the current situation of the Adriatic Sea I hope, together with Marjan Žitnik and UR Institute team, to develop new future narratives. I hope to give the voice/ visibility to the multispecies ecologies, so that the biodiversity will not be in exponential decline because of the anthropogenic pollution, and that we can reimagine our role within ecosystem of world’s oceans and seas that sustains us.”


Marjan Žitnik, born 28th March 1990 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In early childhood developed interest in musical art as a piano player winning national and internal awards. Besides art he showed interest in computers and creative digital design. After getting a master’s degree in computer engineering, he founded several successful mobile-app-based startups. Among recent work, he served as the Product Manager for Photomath – a mobile application that utilizes a smartphone’s camera to scan and recognize mathematical equations (several times #1 AppStore educational app Worldwide, with more than 200 million downloads). His biggest passion since he was a child was fishing, a tradition taught by his family, and he never missed the opportunity to get back to the boat. In 2018 he founded Maritimo Fishing company in Dubrovnik with the slogan “Fish like locals do”, which offers customized boat & kayak fishing trips. In 2020 the company founded a non-profit spinoff devoted to preservation of marine ecology – Maritimo Recycling, which cleans the Adriatic Sea from plastic, upcycling it into innovative use.


“Honored to have the opportunity to make a change for the Adriatic Sea throughout this project. Looking forward to create innovative prototypes together with Robertina Šebjanič, through which we will explore the liquid waste, sea pollution and seek to develop applicable innovative solutions for this problematic.”

Pharmaceutical Pollution: Haseeb Ahmed

STARTS4Water Artist-in-Residency:  Haseeb Ahmed

Residency: Pharmaceutical Pollution hosted by LUCA School of ARTS & GLUON


Haseeb Ahmed (b.1985) is a research-based artist originally from the US, and now based in Brussels. He produces objects, site-specific installations, films, and writes. Often working collaboratively Ahmed integrates methodologies from the hard sciences into his art production. His recently completed Wind Egg Trilogy blends myth and technology was the subject of his first solo exhibition, Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels, which represents him, his solo show at the Museum of Contemporary art of Antwerp (BE), and his PhD (2018). Ahmed has lectured extensively and he holds a Masters from the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (2010) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ahmed has been a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academie (NL) and Skowhegan (US) among others and has exhibited internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (US), The Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art (SE), and De Appel(NL).


“There is a poetry in the modern paradox that pharmaceuticals save lives but are too small to filter in conventional treatment plants, potentially harming the environment. This is especially true in Flanders, a leader in pharmaceuticals whose landscape is defined by extensive waterways. Over the course of my residency I will work with regional experts to create an artwork that brings together the scale of the body and landscape making this connection tangible for viewers and the process too will be made public.”

Water Capitalism: Anna Ridler

STARTS4Water Artist-in-Residency:  Anna Ridler

Residency: Water Capitalism hosted by LUCA School of ARTS & GLUON


Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with systems of knowledge and how technologies are created in order to better understand the world. She is particularly interested in ideas around measurement and quantification and how this relates to the natural world. Her process often involves working with collections of information or data, particularly data sets, exploring how they are created in order to better understand society and the world. She holds an MA in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art and a BA in English Literature and Language from Oxford University along with fellowships at the Creative Computing Institute at University of the Arts London (UAL), Ars Electronica, Edinburgh University and the Delfina Foundation. Her work has been exhibited at cultural institutions worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, the Barbican Centre, Centre Pompidou, HeK Basel, the ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, Sheffield Documentary Festival and the Leverhulme Centre for Future Intelligence. Ridler lives and works in London.


“I’m really looking forward to this residency and exploring my ongoing interest in economic systems and how the interact with the natural world through looking at how water is managed in the Flanders area. I hope to create a new online and offline work that responds to the current situation and uses industry technology needed for aquatic management as tools and processes.”

The Future of High Waters: Geo-engineering Solutions for the Venetian Lagoon: Leonor Serrano Rivas, Diego Delas

STARTS4Water Artist-in-Residency:  Leonor Serrano Rivas and Diego Delas

Residency: The Future of High Waters: Geo-engineering Solutions for the Venetian Lagoon hosted by TBA21


Both artists, architects and researchers, Leonor Serrano Rivas (1986) and Diego Delas (1983) obtained their Masters in Artsin London (Goldsmiths and RoyalCollege of Art) and studied their PhDArt Practicein the UK (Slade, UCL and The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford). Serrano Rivas’ sculptures, films and installations are often used as a way to present layered sensorial experiences where the viewer must forget the narrative impulse, unlearn this desire for resolution and delve into the realm of the work. Delas’ paintings, textiles and installations look at certain vernacular architectural motifs –those related to storytelling–that configures the idea of a house as a familiar body,sustained by memories, populated with amulets. Both are currently working on two mayor solo shows opening next year: MNCARS Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid (Serrano Rivas) and CAB Burgos (Delas)International exhibitions feature Liverpool Biennale; E-Werk, Freiburg; Freelands Foundation, London; Matadero, Madrid; MUSAC, León; HAUS, Viena; C3A, Córdoba; Russian Museum St. Petersburg, Málaga; ICA London; Arcade, London; CAAC, Seville; Chisenhale Studios; BARCU, Bogotá; José La Fuente Gallery, Santander; Marta Cervera Gallery, Madrid; Lychee One Gallery, London; Tiro al Blanco, Guadalajara, Mexico;CentroCentro, Madrid; La Casa Encendida, Madrid; Galleri Rotor, Gothenburg; XI Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice; amongst others.-a short 1-2 sentences statement on your intention for the residency (what would you like to achieve).Underwater Worlds. An expedition is to set sail into the unknown at a point of imaginative exhaustion: Underwater Worldsconjures pre-enlightment devices to scrutinize the juncture of geo-engineering, art making and storytelling in Venice.


An expedition is to set sail into the unknown at a point of imaginative exhaustion: Underwater Worlds conjures pre-enlightment devices to scrutinize the juncture of geo-engineering, art making and storytelling in Venice.”

The Future of High Waters: Sonia Levy, Heather Anne Swanson , Meredith Root-Bernstein, Alexandra Arènes

STARTS4Water Artists-in-Residency: Sonia Levy, Heather Anne Swanson , Meredith Root-Bernstein , Alexandra Arènes 

Residency: The Future of High Waters hosted by TBA21


Sonia Levy‘s research-led practice considers shifting modes of engagement with more-than-human
 worlds in light of prevailing Earthly precarity. She is a 2021 commissioned artist at Radar Loughborough and Aarhus University. She has exhibited internationally, including shows and screenings at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris; Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris; ICA, London; and BALTIC, Gateshead. 

Heather Anne Swanson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Aarhus University, and Director of the Aarhus University Centre for Environmental Humanities. She is a founding member of the Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene group.  She has a long-standing interest in more-than-human relations of fish, rivers, and oceans. 

Meredith Root-Bernstein is a CNRS research scientist based at the Natural History Museum in Paris. An ecologist by training, she researches ecological, social and multispecies aspects of restoration ecology, rewilding, and conservation.  

Alexandra Arènes is an architect at S.O.C (Société d’Objets Cartographiques) and a doctoral researcher at the University of Manchester, focusing on the impact of the Anthropocene on landscape studies. She designed the installation ‘CZO space’ at the ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe, for the exhibition Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics, andco-authored Terra Forma, manuel de cartographies potentielles.


“Our project explores Venetian reedbeds and the multispecies worlds that arise from their restoration, to imagine new ways of thinking and doing futures and relationships with the wetlands that surround Venice. Through speculative mapping, ethnography, ecological field methods, film, and reed crafts, we will probe forms of representations that question agency and processes of collaboration across art, science and technology, and across the human and the more-than-human.”

Draught in Waterland: Zack Denfeld, Cathrine Kramer, Emma Conley

STARTS4Water Artists-in-Residency: Zack Denfeld, Cathrine Kramer, Emma Conley (Center for Genomic Gastronomy)

Residency: Draught in Waterland hosted by V2


The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an artist-led think tank launched in 2010 that examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems. 
Their mission is to: 
– map food controversies 
– prototype alternative culinary futures
– imagine a more just, biodiverse & beautiful food system.
The Center has collaborated with scientists, chefs, hackers and farmers in Europe, Asian and North America. They present their research about the organisms and environments manipulated by human food cultures in the form of recipes, meals, publications and exhibitions. Their work has been published in Science, Nature, Gastronomica and We Make Money Not Art and has been exhibited at the World Health Organization, Kew Gardens, Science Gallery Dublin, V2_, MU and the V&A Museum. 
The Center consists of Cathrine Kramer, Zack Denfeld and Emma Conley. Their current research initiatives include: prototyping a Norwegian National Dish and mapping, tasting & cooking with crops smoke-tainted by wildfires.


“Drought in Waterland” will be a chance for us to collaborate with domain experts to explore how green technologies can be used to intervene in the regional water cycle. We are curious about how the material realities of rainwater management, plant selection and food forest maintenance meet the cultural needs to imagine future land uses and prototype ecological societies.”

Biodiversity in the Port of Rotterdam: Mark IJZerman

STARTS4Water Artists-in-Residency: Mark IJZerman 

Residency: Biodiversity in the Port of Rotterdam hosted by V2


Mark IJzerman is an interdisciplinary artist working on the intersection of ecology and media art. IJzerman uses digital technologies to create processes that have their own agency, to make works creating intimacy between us and the other-than-human. His work is always informed by field research as well as working with other professionals. He has performed his A/V works at various media art festivals around Europe (Rewire Festival, Transmediale/CTM Vorspiel, FIBER Festival, Mapping Festival) and has most recently exhibited works at MU in Eindhoven, Art Center Nabi in Seoul, _V2 in Rotterdam, and at the European Space Agency. IJzerman is a tutor at Ecology Futures MA at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures in Den Bosch, where together with his students he looks at how sensory technologies can be used to address climate emergency through experiential projects. He is a part of the new media collective Zesbaans and runs the sound art blog Everyday Listening.


“I will be working on a project taking the Australian tube worm as a starting point- a small species which is becoming more common as the waters are warming up because of our climate emergency. It is often seen as a pest as their reefs form on ships and can block infrastructures everywhere in the Netherlands, from the Amsterdam Canals to the Port of Rotterdam. I can’t wait to start working with other professionals on exploring future scenarios of these species and on the biodiversity in the Rotterdam port!”.

Cisterns Know: Carlos Loperena, Alexandros Vaitsos

STARTS4Water Artists-in-Residency: Carlos Loperena & Alexandros Vaitsos (DECA Architecture) 

Residency: Cisterns Know hosted by Ohi Pezoume/UrbanDig Project


DECA Architecture is an architectural team founded in 2001 by Carlos Loperena and Alexandros Vaitsos who met during their postgraduate studies at UC Berkeley. The team, compromised of 15 architects, is based in Athens. DECA has engaged in over 100 projects that vary in subject matter, location and scale: Having designed joysticks, buildings and territories in urban contexts and the countryside, the work of DECA aspires to stimulate the senses beyond the limits of familiarity.DECA has been exhibited in museums in Tokyo, Boston, Athens and London while in 2012, the ‘Bedrooms’ installation was part of the Greek entry in the Biennale of Venice. In parallel with its active architectural practice, DECA nurtures a research branch that is currently engaged with two basic questions: The transitioning to the Information Age is rendering the existing uses of buildings obsolete. How will we transform our underused urban environments to foster vibrancy, diversity and resilience in our cities?The climate emergency is creating warmer cities, scarcity of water, and impacting our food sovereignty. What innovative strategies can shift the paradigm towards a sustainable future?


“What can we learn from the bottom up water-management traditions that existed on Sifnos, at a time when touristic development is going faster than the bearing capacity of the island? Our installation will project -in real-time and real scale – the volume of water Sifnos requires, in juxtaposition with the volume of water resources available.”