Storytelling as artistic practice

Stories may not actually breathe, but they can animate.[…] Stories animate human life; that is their work. Stories work with people, for people, and always stories work on people, affecting what people are able to see as real, as possible, and as worth doing or best avoided. What is it about stories—what are their particularities—that enables them to work as they do? More than mere curiosity is at stake in this question, because human life depends on the stories we tell: the sense of self that those stories impart, the relationships constructed around shared stories, and the sense of purpose that stories both propose and foreclose

—Arthur Frank, Letting Stories Breathe (2010)


Storytelling is one of the few human traits that are truly universal across culture and through all of known history. People in societies of all types weave narratives, from oral storytellers in hunter-gatherer tribes to the millions of writers churning out books, television shows and movies.

Modern storytelling has extended itself to representing history, personal narrative, political commentary, and evolving cultural norms. New forms of media have created new ways for people to record, express, and consume stories, while oral stories continue to be committed to memory and passed from generation to generation, despite the increasing popularity of written and televised media in much of the world. Documentaries, including interactive web documentaries, employ storytelling narrative techniques to communicate information about their topic. A growing number of artists use the story form in contemporary art as a means of comprehending and conveying political and social events.

Storytelling as artistic practice aims at bringing together artists who use the infinite forms at their disposal - traditional and contemporary, literary or visual, technological or oral - to convey their message, raise awareness, and reflect on our time and the social, political, psychological and emotional textures of our global society. 

The AIRLAB program is made possible through the generous support of the Network Partnership 3 – year grant of  Princ Claus Culturfund. It consists of two residency periods per year. The residencies will be thematic and multidisciplinary, with a different theme to be explored every year. A yearly e-publication with artistic documentation and external text contributors to the program will accompany the program.