Many Mini Residency: Copenhagen


[10. januar 2012]

Sarrita Hunn and Ryan Thayer at Koh-i-noor.

Interview: Sarrita Hunn and Ryan Thayer

Ryan Thayer and Sarrita Hunn are the organizers of Many Mini Residency held in the alternative art space Koh-i-noor in Copenhagen, Denmark.Many Mini Residency is a program that runs for a week 24 hours a day with a number of residencies during that week. The longest possible stay for this short-term residency program is 12 hours. Artists and artist groups from across Europe and the US will be staying in Koh-i-noor during that week. Some will exhibit works, some will spend their time working behind closed doors and some will sleep through the night. Anything is possible.
Ryan Thayer (b. 1980) and Sarrita Hunn (b. 1978) both have an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts. They work as interdisciplinary and conceptual artists, curators and organizers. They are both part of the website, Sarrita as the managing editor and Ryan as a contributing writer. Until the end of February they will be working and living in Copenhagen on a DIVA residency granted by The Danish Arts Council.

Kopenhagen booked a time slot during the Many Mini Residency in Koh-i-noor to hear more about the project.

Organizers: Sarrita Hunn (US), Ryan Thayer (US)
Participants: Esther Bjerregaard-Mathiesen, Gitte Bog, Julie Clifforth, Sasha Dela (US), Susanna de Vita (IT), Morten Espersen, The Hour(UK/SE), Interimagineer, Christin Johansson(SE), Mette Juul, Mette Borup Kristensen, Camilla Levin, Nanna Lysholt-Hansen, Anne Mølleskov, Anders Hellsten Nissen, Ola Nilsson(SE), Eva Sjuve(SE), Emily Sloan(US), Mikkel Toft, Mariana Viegas(PT), June Woest(US), Rikke Hyldahl and Rikke Winther, Line Sandvad Mengers and Karen Petersen.

Many Mini Residency
Dybbølsgade 60
1721 København V

Sunday January 8th – Saturday January 14th
See opening hours and public events on the website


Interview:Morten Espersen
Foto:Morten Espersen

Could you in short describe what Many Mini Residency is about?
Sarrita Hunn: The Many Mini Residency in Copenhagen is the third time we have done Many Mini Residency. The first time was in Berlin and the second time was in Houston. When we first started doing Many Mini in Berlin, in 2008, it was motivated by some research and thinking about different artist models. About how artists can make opportunities for other artists. The basic idea was that all artists need is space and time, and then they can create. So we made this Many Mini structure. Then we became interested in importing it into different cities. And we wanted the structure to stay the same, so that we could eventually start making comparisons and see how the different cities would generate different outcomes. Many Mini in Copenhagen is that structure put into the Copenhagen context.
Many Mini Residencies goes on for no more than a week at a time, and the maximum time slot anyone can book is 12 hours. Are you thinking of putting Many Mini into a bigger scale at some point?
Sarrita Hunn: I don’t think we are so much interested in making it bigger. We are more interested in seeing it in different places. Right now we are talking about hosting a Many Mini in Saint Louis, or maybe Mexico City.
Ryan Thayer: I think the success of Many Mini stems out of its limitations. Whether it’s the limited amount of time you have to use the space, or the brief moment that it happens in each city. So the goal is to go to different cities and make the comparisons.

Could you give an example of differences between say Many Mini in Houston and Many Mini in Copenhagen?
Ryan Thayer: Yes. Well, we are only one and a half day into the program in Copenhagen, but based on that, and on the applications we have received, I would say that in Copenhagen there seem to be a lot of participatory events. Social practice artworks.
Sarrita Hunn: I think that in Houston there were a lot participatory artworks as well, but in Houston it was very much about video performance, whereas in Copenhagen it is more straight performance. In Houston it was more about being recorded, and in Copenhagen it is more about interacting with the public. And in Berlin the work was very much about the geography of the artists themselves. Possibly due to the very international climate there. But of course in any place there is a certain range as well.
Ryan Thayer: It is almost a sort of portraiture of each city or the art scene in that city. You can browse through and look at new and old works documented on Many Mini‘s website and get a glimpse of who is making works, and what kind of works are being made in each of these places at a certain time.
What are the main differences between Many Mini and a more traditional residency?
Ryan Thayer: Many Mini is accumulated in a sense. It is made up of multiple identities, multiple different practices. A traditional long-term residency is a place you maybe go for isolation or personal reflection. Whereas Many Mini ends up being much more of a social model, it’s complicated, it’s fast paced, and it quite often doubles as an exhibition.
Sarrita Hunn: Many Mini is something that is happening in different cities in different times. Sometimes people who have participated in one residency continue to do so in another one. They become really interested in the new versions of the residency. For example we have three participants here in Copenhagen, who were also in Houston. It is like a microcosm each time, but it is also something that goes on over a period of many years. So on one hand it is very concentrated locally and on the other hand it is something that goes on all over the world over a longer period of time.
Thank you.


Many Mini Residency

May 14, 2012


BERLIN, GERMANY — Many Mini Residency is a short-term residency program operated in conjunction with alternative exhibition venues in Europe and the United States. The name ‘Many Mini’ encompasses two main components of the project which is hosted in one room 24 hours a day for one week. The ‘Many’ describes the open call for proposals and the resulting multiplicity of responses and participants. The ‘Mini’ component of the residency describes the limited amount of time available and the scale of the room.

Many Mini Residency is open to applicants from all disciplines (art and non-art alike) and encourages participants to customize their residency experience. There is no minimum time-limit for a stay at the residency but the maximum stay allows use of the space for half a day. The space may be used for public programs, personal studio time, a rehearsal space, a dinner, or whatever the resident sees fit. Participants provide documentation and a short statement about their time spent in the residency to serve as both a record and a resource displayed online as the final component of the project.

Inspired by their interest in models for artist-run galleries and alternative space, Ryan Thayer and Sarrita Hunn (as seen in Photo 1) first initiated Many Mini Residency at The Berlin Office, an artist-run project space in Berlin, Germany. This short term program was recently hosted in Copenhagen at the exhibition venue Koh-i-noor. thalo caught up with them to discuss the program.

thalo: What is the main purpose of The Many Mini Residency?

Sarrita Hunn: We were interested in how artists could provide opportunity for other artists. All artists need time and space. So, Many Mini is about allowing, not just artists actually, but inviting anyone to do whatever he or she wanted in the time and space allotted (as seen in Photos 2 and 3). And because of the short amount of time, it can be something you could really put a lot of energy into, and it is interesting to go through that process.

Ryan Thayer: I can only add that through our work with artist-run projects, galleries and other spaces in San Francisco, we experienced how it was a struggle basically to live and work as artists in a large city. So when we moved to Berlin, we tried to create a sustainable model to help artists continue their practices. In Berlin we lived at the apartment residency The Berlin Office, where we stayed in the large main room and decided to host the idea of a residency in the small room. So, we ran a residency within our own residency. That is how it became the Many Mini Residency, since then we’ve taken this model and made it in a couple of other cities.

SH: Yes, we wanted to make some kind of portraits of the different places and cities, a comparable portrait, to see how things might be different in other geographic areas.

th: Is it just for local artists?

RT: No, it is for everyone. We have an open call for applications, where we merely have the roles as organizers not curators. It is about including people. The model is that someone can apply to use the space for 12 hours or less. And then the residency is run for a week. In Berlin it was very international. There were residencies from 11 different countries. There has also been traveling exhibitions at Many Mini, which traveled on afterwards. This reflected the identity of the city of Berlin. Whereas, in Houston, the residencies were mainly local. In Houston there is a very active art scene, but mainly dominated by local artists. In Copenhagen we have a lot of Danish artists and one or two artists traveled from Norway. Many of the residencies proposed here in Copenhagen are performance or socially based projects. Where some artists are playing with the role of the artist in public or playing with identity by going with a metal-detector to “search for something” in the park, dress up as a character from a children’s story or when Camilla Levin asks three men with the same name as her deceased father to come and teach her to tie her father’s tie.

th:  Does this type of residency call for a certain type of art?

SH: I would think so, but there are always people who want to just work, paint or make video or even write.

RT: One possibility is to use it for studio time, but we have artists who come and have this opportunity to be there for six hours but don’t make artworks. We had one person who was an artist, but did not have enough time to read, so he applied for spending time reading books. But on the other side we do also have a lot of performance and event based art, which may be more likely for this type of residency. In Houston there was a large amount of this and in Copenhagen there is also a large amount of public events. But it is a big range.

SH: We don’t want to push artists directly to experiment and think about what art is, but indirectly we do by treating everyone and everything the same way.

RT: We don’t expect anything specific; they often struggle with it themselves. We just ask for a documentation of how they spend their time. But I think it does end up challenging the artists.

th:  Has there been projects which are non-art like?

RT: So far, it has somehow stayed within the creative field, but there are some other projects. I would also enjoy if an accountant would come and balance his books or something, but we have not experienced that yet.

Photos courtesy of Mette Garfield

By: Mette Garfield