Fresh Milk welcomes Maj Hasager and Ask Kæreby to the platform

From November 1 – 27, 2015, Fresh Milk is pleased to welcome Danish artists Maj Hasager and Ask Kæreby as our next artists in residence.

Maj, an artist, and Ask, an electronic composer, will spend their month undertaking a research residency in Barbados, engaging with the local arts and music community to explore ways of thinking about materials and practices through conversations and workshops.

Maj will instigate discussions focusing on notions of praxis, materiality and the act of producing. There will be a mix of individual studio visits and workshops on practice, hybridity and oral history interview techniques as an artistic method.  Ask will conduct a series of experimental sound workshops, exploring sound as a medium of intrinsic value and its own source of information, using it as a way of aurally mapping our environment.


About Maj:

Maj Hasager is a Danish artist and filmmaker based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She studied photography and fine art in Denmark, Sweden and the UK, earning an MFA from Malmö Art Academy, Sweden. Her work deals with power structures, identity, memory, the construction of history, and architecture, looking at how these interlinked phenomena are interpreted and represented culturally and spatially. Her artistic approach is research-based and interdisciplinary, and she works predominantly with text, sound, video and photography. The recent years Hasager has used oral history interview techniques as a method for accumulating information relating to personal stories, a site, and historical or political matters. It allows the material to unfold itself through different voices and from different perspectives and functions as a way of mapping an area or a context. Often these interviews lay the ground for the way she makes use of narrative forms and fictional writing as a tool to address personal stories in the context of socio-political matters.

She has exhibited her work internationally in events and institutions such as; Society Acts, Moderna Museet Malmö (2014), A voice of ones own, Malmö Konstmuseum (2014), Community works, Cleveland Institute of Art, 2014; Past Upon Past, Red Barn Photo Gallery, Belfast, Ireland (2013), Decembers, LAZNIA Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk, Poland (2012), Liverpool Biennial, UK (2010). She has been awarded grants in support of her work from the Danish ArtsCouncil, The Danish Arts Foundation, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut, Lebanon), ArtSchool Palestine, Danish Centre for Culture and Development and the Danish Arts Agency. She is the programme director of Critical and Pedagogical studies at Malmö Art Academy, and is a guest lecturer at the International Academy of Art – Palestine, Dar al-Kalima College, Bethlehem and University of Ulster, Belfast.

Ask studie foto

About Ask:

Ask Kæreby is a Danish composer. He studied music production in Copenhagen, earning a MMus degree from The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Kæreby’s artistic practice is interdisciplinary and research-based, including elements of experimental composition, sound design and electroacoustic music. He is interested in the presentation of narratives by means of sound – not through traditional musical gestures, but using different approaches such as musique concrète or the futurists’ bruitism. Working in the intersection between known formats, Kæreby wishes to challenge our ways of listening – to music (live as well as recorded), to our surroundings and to (sonic) art.

He has been awarded grants in support of his work from The Danish Arts Foundation,

Danish Musicians’ Union, Wilhelm Hansen Foundation, Familien Hede Nielsen Foundation, Dansk Artist Association, Ellen & Erik Valdemar Jensen Music Grant, Anders Månsson & wife Memorial Grant and Karen Margrethe Torp-Pedersen & husband Foundation.


Fresh Milk’s first connection with the artists was made through our participation in a ResSupport fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2014; to read a piece by Katherine Kennedy in conversation with Maj Hasager during this fellowship, click here.



This residency is supported in part by the Danish Arts Foundation


Kwame Slusher, writer and current team leader of Fresh Milk Books, shares a review of our final event for 2014, FRESH MILK XVII which took place on December 19. The event featured presentations by resident artists, overviews of past and upcoming projects & activities, and a potluck celebration dinner to close out our year. 

All photography by Dondré Trotman.


…so we jewel the edges of his body

With shattered bottles, then bear him
to the foot of the casuarinas in order that his born
silhouette may freely flash and prance—

– Christian Campbell
Goodmans Bay II

The game described in Campbell’s poem, which he read at the event FRESH MILK XVII that took place on December 19, 2014, is known as Moon Shine Baby/Dolly—a traditional game played by children in the Caribbean and West Africa. One person is chosen or chooses to be the ‘baby/dolly’ and they lie down on the ground, while the other children outline the ‘baby/dolly’ with limestone and broken shards of glass. When the other children are finished, ‘baby/dolly’ gets up and their silhouette of found things would glitter in the moonlight. The game in Campbell’s poem is reminiscent of the Ancient Greek girl that wanted to preserve the memory of her lover who, after a time, had to return to his homeland. As the story goes, she made her lover stand still while she traced the outline of his shadow, then later, got her father to fill it in with clay. Inadvertently, like the game in Campbell’s poem, she not only created a space to remember someone by, but where something new can be developed.

FRESH MILK XVII was not just a space for the latest two resident artists to formally present on their work and experiences, but also an opportunity for members of the Fresh Milk platform to recount recent activities and to look to the future. In the wake of not having a National Art Gallery, Fresh Milk’s director Annalee Davis stated in her opening remarks that “…we live in an era necessarily of self-organization. Civil society must self-organize and build the spaces we want and need for ourselves.” Like the gathered bits of limestone and glass on the beach and the outline of the lost lover, Fresh Milk is  attempting to reimagine a historical space that fosters creativity.

The first presenter, Barbadian arts writer Natalie McGuire, spoke about the Transoceanic Visual Exchange, which is a project Fresh Milk is working on in conjunction with two other art communities: RM in New Zealand and Video Art Network (VAN) Lagos in Nigeria. McGuire said that the project was about upending traditional notions of geo-political space and cultural exchanges. The project is looking for submissions from filmmakers, video artists or artists that work between these spaces—those whose works don’t quite qualify to be shown in a gallery or in a cinema —to go about creating a digital sphere where these cultural exchanges can take place.

Barbadian visual artist and writer Katherine Kennedy then spoke about her experiences at Akadamie Schloss Solitude in Germany, where she had been selected to participate in the ResSupport Fellowship Programme offered by Res Artis on behalf of Fresh Milk from September 1st to December 1st. In her presentation, Kennedy looked at the different connections and encounters that she made with a diverse cross-section of people from around the world. In addition to the interconnection of ideas in a single space, she said that it was good to be able to find the familiar in an unfamiliar environment. She spoke about attending the opening of an exhibition in Memmingen, which focused on carnival, and seeing the work of Trinidadian visual artists Marlon Griffith and Barbadian visual artist Ewan Atkinson. Kennedy pointed out that what was interesting about the exhibition is while the theme was carnival, it was looking at both European and Caribbean depictions instead of just focusing on one locale.

In the second half of the evening, the two artists in residence – Toronto-Based, Bajan-Jamaican industrial designer and visual artist Kara Springer and Toronto-based, Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and cultural critic Christian Campbell – presented their work and what they had accomplished during the residency. Kara talked about her project, Repositioned Objects, which involved the building of 4x4x4ft wooden structures that create tension between the controlled and the uncontrollable. Kara, with the assistance of Christian, went around different points of the island installing the cubes and photographing them. In some cases the structures were left overnight, and in others she only had a short time to construct, photograph and break the structures back down again. What she did not expect was to not only have to deal with destructive natural elements, but also with people who went out of their way to destroy her structures. She was forced to then contend with the intersection of creation and destruction; the difficulty of trying to create order in a chaotic environment.

The final address was given by Christian Campbell, who began by speaking a little about the workshop he led titled ‘The Art of the Essay/The Essay on Art’. The workshop focused on ekphrasis, which has traditionally been a creatively written description on a visual work of art, however for the purposes of the workshop the definition was expanded to include any art form responding to another. Christian’s presentation, unlike the others, was really a series of readings. The first was Martin Carter’s Till I Collect to commemorate the 17th anniversary of Martin Carter’s death, which would have been on the second and last day of the critical writing workshops, held on December 13th. He also read Till I Collect because the last two lines of the poem, “till I collect my scattered skeleton/till I collect…” seemed to correlate with Jean Michel Basquiat’s X-Ray-like self portrait. Campbell read what he considered the ‘most important’ thing that he achieved during the residency, an essay on Jean Michel Basquiat, before adding to the selection with three poems from his own collection ‘Running the Dusk’: Goodmans Bay II, Curry Powder and Iguana. The last poem he read was one of his newer pieces, Names.

In his piece on Basquiat, Campbell read that the Haitian-American artist tried to collect everything, “…the way the Caribbean is the cross-cultural crossroads for the whole damn world”. In many ways that represents what art communities such as Fresh Milk, RM and VAN Lagos are and try to be with projects like the Transoceanic Visual Exchange; to create spaces with what is there, so that something new can develop. This makes it possible for artists like Katherine to go to places like Akadamie Schloss Solitude to work with and connect with other artists from all over the world.

After the presentations were over, and the rain that threatened to drown them had petered out, everyone gathered on the veranda to partake in the Christmas Potluck; to create a new space filled with the holiday spirit and hope for the New Year.


Check out our video from FRESH MILK XVII, which took place on December 19, 2014 at The Fresh Milk Art Platform, Barbados.

FRESH MILK XVII was our last public event for 2014, and featured visual artist Kara Springer and poet / critical writer Christian Campbell speaking about their residency experiences, Katherine Kennedy sharing news about her three month fellowship at Akadamie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany and Natalie McGuire addressing TVE – a Transoceanic Visual Exchange between Barbados, Nigeria and New Zealand.

Thanks to Sammy Davis for shooting and editing this video!

WINDOW HORSES: Interview with Ann Marie Fleming and Sandra Oh

While in residence as a ResSupport Fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Katherine Kennedy interviewed former fellow of the Akademie, Ann Marie Fleming, and actress Sandra Oh about their upcoming feature length animation WINDOW HORSES. Created by Fleming and starring/co-produced by Oh, the story follows Rosie Ming – a Canadian poet of Chinese and Persian heritage – as she journeys to Iran to take part in a poetry festival. This culturally rich film celebrates the beauty of diversity, and how it can be used to bring people together and affirm communities that are often under-represented.

WINDOW HORSES is seeking support through an Indiegogo campaign, which runs until December 20, 2014. Click here to donate to this worthwhile project.

Katherine Kennedy: WINDOW HORSES was originally conceptualized during your fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude. What did this residency do for your creative process, and how did your stay inspire the story?

Ann Marie Fleming: When I was in Solitude, it was a difficult time for me. I felt very isolated. I was one of the only residents not to be living in Europe, and would find myself alone for days at a time in the winter. I was there as a filmmaker, but I was in the writer’s wing – I met an exiled poet from China, a film festival director who had parents from different countries that both spoke different languages, another poet who would only speak his own language; and here I was, trying desperately to learn German. I truly understood how much language is culture. It was also in Germany that I was introduced to the poetry of Rumi through adaptations by the American poet Coleman Barks.

window horses 3

As an immigrant to Canada, I had always felt like an outsider, but when I lived in Germany, I felt truly Canadian for the first time. Suffice to say, why people leave and why people come was heavy on my mind. [The founding director of Akademie Schloss Solitude] Herr Joly, himself, spoke of the Jewish diaspora in Germany growing, especially through the arrival of Russian, Ukrainian or Belorussian Jews. Around the time of my fellowship, there was also discussion surrounding the returning of the German Jewish diaspora. This idea of belonging had an impact on me, and I actually base a character in WINDOW HORSES on Herr Joly.

I have been working with these same themes for almost two decades since then. I did two installations in Solitude about the unspoken stories of women, particularly mixed race immigrants, and about the metaphysics of Sufi poetry juxataposed against the rituals of womanhood: woman as daughter, lover, bride, wife, ex-wife and mother. That being said, the original script forWINDOW HORSES was conceived as a live action film: a father-son relationship(!) about the German diaspora, particularly to North America after the Second World War, and the alienation of families.

I wrote the song WINDOW HORSES while at Solitude – it is in the book I also wrote during my fellowship, Breathless: the book of Anne, which is about my oldest friend who had killed herself. I performed it with my guitar out by the horses one magical candlelit night. I wish I had a picture. I spent a lot of time looking out the window at those horses. Literally.

K.K.: In addition to the intersection of cultures, Solitude can foster openness to collaboration and working with kindred spirits, even beyond the fellowship period. Can you and Sandra please tell me how you came to work together, and for Sandra, what about this particular project struck a chord with you?

A.M.F.: I first met Sandra back in the early/mid 90’s, when we were supposed to make a feature film together, Dog Days, which was a kind of ghost story about a Chinese immigrant family in the wilds of British Columbia… coincidentally, with a missing father and a dead mother. That project fell through, and I was invited to attend Akademie Schloss Solitude. It’s what I did instead of the feature, I guess. Sandra and I kept in contact over the years, but she went on to a very successful and busy career in the U.S. and, after many years of development, I reached out recently to see if she was available and interested in playing the role of Rosie Ming, and she said yes. More than that, she loved the project and wanted to come on board as a producer.

Sandra Oh: There are several reasons why I fell in love with this project – firstly, I’ve known Ann Marie for years now, and we’ve been trying to work together off and on for all that time. I love [Ann Marie’s avatar] Stickgirl and all she represents, and to voice her in such a heartfelt and deep emotional story was something I knew I had to do. WINDOW HORSES hits all the things that are important to me – it’s pro girl, pro tolerance, pro diversity and PRO ART!

K.K.: The style and animation that we have seen so far is fantastic, and I think Stickgirl is perfectly positioned as the leading lady because she has the ability to be autobiographical yet universal through her simplicity and charm. Tell me more about how Ann Marie, Sandra and Stickgirl as creator, actress and avatar will bring the film’s protagonist Rosie Ming to life.

A.M.F.: It’s a big step for me. Stickgirl (who plays Rosie Ming) has been my avatar since the 80’s and she has always had my voice. So giving her to Sandra to play is an act of trust and respect. It’s like a Bunraku, really, there are three people bringing Rosie Ming to life… me, through my words and original character, Kevin Langdale through his drawings, and Sandra Oh through her voice.

K.K.: Something else I find compelling and relatable about WINDOW HORSES is that the narrative transcends specific cultures. For example, I don’t have personal ties to China, Canada or Iran, but as a multi-racial woman from the Caribbean – an intrinsically hybrid and culturally complex region – the protagonist Rosie Ming’s journey of discovery, exchange and understanding still resounds with me. Can you both share your thoughts about the cathartic effect a film like this could have across the world’s many cultures and diasporas?

A.M.F.: Omigod, Katherine. This is exactly what you are supposed to take from the story. In its specificity is its universality. This is a story that takes place in Iran, and is steeped in that culture, but is about everybody’s stories.

S.O.: My nieces are mixed race, and it’s very important to me that they see themselves represented in this society. It cannot be understated how important it is for people who do not see themselves reflected, either at all or negatively on a regular basis, to know that there is a place for them to exist, truthfully and in a whole, complex way.

A.M.F.: WINDOW HORSES speaks from the place of all people: immigrants, people who are of mixed heritage, people who know nothing about their culture, people who have never left their village and are deeply embedded in their histories. It’s about what we share, and how important it IS to share. It’s about listening to each other’s stories. In WINDOW HORSES, it is poetry that bridges those gaps between generations and cultures. It is the same moon in the Tang Dynasty poem Quiet Night Thought by Li Bai that we see when we look up at the sky and miss our own home.

K.K.: “Distances and differences keep us apart, and we forget to remind each other of our own stories.”

This is a line from the beautiful graphic memoir The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, an epic, cross-cultural tale you unearthed about your great-grandfather. This statement stood out to me in relation to WINDOW HORSES because of the emphasis on hearing the stories of others, and using memories and experiences as cultural unifiers rather than dividers. The Indiegogo campaign offers forums for us to share our stories, poetry and music, creating a sense of community among those invested in the project. How has the public reaction been to this participatory approach?

A.M.F.: The most amazing thing about the Indiegogo campaign has been the response we have received from the public… all over the world. They say exactly what you say…that the story IS them, or the story TOUCHES them. And there have been people who just want to support us, who have been doing outreach in their communities, trying to spread the word, looking forward to the film. It’s amazing. Of course, we still are trying to raise more money, that’s the goal, but we’ve been rewarded in so many ways. There is another line fromThe Magical Life of Long Tack Sam which is continued in WINDOW HORSES: “history is relatives.” You know that it’s true.

Support the WINDOW HORSES campaign on Indiegogo here. Read the original post on the Akademie Schloss Solitude Blog.

window horses 8

»Redefining Practice« Reflections with Maj Hasager

During her ongoing residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Katherine Kennedy – current fellow in the ResSupport programme supported by Res Artis, representing the Fresh Milk Art Platform at the Akademie – had a conversation with Danish artist and Solitude fellow Maj Hasager reflecting on integrated & socially aware ways of looking at artistic practice. Read the article, originally published on the Akademie Schloss Solitude Blog, below:

Maj's studio at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Maj’s studio at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

When we speak about art, we often use the word »practice« as a multipurpose term to cover the thinking, the making, the product…all the processes that build towards something such as an exhibition or a clearly defined project. But what about the moments that occur in between, not necessarily linked to a finished piece? Where do ‘non artistic’ tasks fall in the realm of this all encompassing »practice«, and how do our actions influence or become part of our artistic work? These questions led to a discussion between Katherine Kennedy and Maj Hasager, both fellows at Akademie Schloss Solitude. Read more about their talk below:

I began my exchange with Maj by introducing the Fresh Milk Art Platform, a Barbadian cultural arts centre and residency programme, and ARC Magazine of contemporary Caribbean art, the two spaces I work for; speaking about these organizations has become almost second nature to me.

It was when Maj asked about my own art »practice« that I suddenly felt unsure…I wondered, as I showed her my artist website, is this reaction backwards? The balance between making work and my other roles is something I continue to struggle with, and there are a number of doubts that arise when I confront it; am I still an artist? Will I produce work again? Have I given up my »practice«? I’m not unique in these crises…these are common questions faced by many artists whose lives teeter between other jobs and responsibilities.

Maj's studio at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Maj’s studio at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Maj and I spoke about these anxieties, which had interesting associations to the MA programme she leads at Malmö Art Academy, Sweden, called Critical & Pedagogical Studies. This degree crosses the supposed boundaries between art, theory and pedagogy, framing relationships between production, teaching, administration and curatorship as »integrated practice« rather than distinct disciplines. While the stretch between one actual creation to the next may be long, that doesn’t negate the importance of what happens in those gaps, or the larger impact of knowledge transfer to personal and public creative growth.

I could already see how the importance of circulating information and operating in intermediary ways was applicable to the work of Fresh Milk and ARC; the foundations we are trying to lay for contemporary art in the Caribbean can very much be read as »social practice«, and affect the wider context I work within, along with my individual outlook. We spoke about whether there was a chance to marry this social »practice« with my visual one; the interconnectivity of art and life means that things are rarely as separate or stagnant as they may seem, and dormant seeds of production may just need the opportunity to flourish. We were both in agreement that Solitude can be considered fertile soil, with the freedom afforded to map out and nourish these connections.

Maj Hasager, Decembers – performing a past, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Maj Hasager, Decembers – performing a past, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Maj’s personal »practice« also exemplifies hybridity. In addition to her academic pursuits, she negotiates delineations between history/lived reality; archive/interpretation; geopolitical North/South; utopia/dystopia. She took me through some of her multimedia work, which is heavily driven by communities and their geographical and socio-political positions in the environments they inhabit. Displacement is a common theme in her »practice«; she has conducted socially charged projects where she speaks and works with immigrant or underrepresented populations, such as the Filipino community in Italy, or documenting the perspective of Polish women during the solidarity movements of the 70s and 80s. The space she explores is a limbo of sorts; neither dwelling explicitly on the past nor idolizing the future, but the somehow honing in on the forgotten present, and how these communities function – or »practice« – in daily life, which inherently retains the weight of history and the possibility of tomorrow.

Relational »practice« is the core of her work, taking into account and being organically informed the multiple cultures she encounters. The drastically different points of view between herself and the societies she engages are not lost on her; she acknowledges that she is coming from a position of privilege, and does not try to overshadow the voice of the community. As a citizen of an island that is often defined from the outside rather than within, I appreciated this concession, and the genuine interest Maj takes in authenticity when treading this fine, complex line. For example, in her work Decembers – performing a past, 2013 there is no translation from Polish of the exchange between women of a certain generation sharing their stories – this is not done to exclude viewers, but to allow them to enter the moment and feel the dynamic without being distracted by divisive constructs such as language:

Spilled in the language’s veins
A militant regards
When will words be
A tool for something other

– Thom Donovan

Film still: Contemporary dancer Maria Concetta Borgese in ‘Bifurcating Futures’, directed by Maj Hasager.

Film still: Contemporary dancer Maria Concetta Borgese in ‘Bifurcating Futures’, directed by Maj Hasager.

This excerpt is taken from a poem by American poet Thom Donovan, whose work Maj used in a recent project that she directed and was editing while at Solitude. A departure from the usual way in which she works, the piece titled Bifurcating Futures is more abstract; it features a performance by a contemporary dancer interspersed with moving shots of an empty city and stanzas from Donovan’s poem, all overlaid with a haunting track of urban sounds, warped into a futuristic, ominous refrain that echoes the dystopic landscape. The dancer, deliberately chosen for the experience and maturity her body brought to the role, performs a series of gestures in the space, always inaudible but never truly silent. The piece straddles new media and documentary filmmaking, challenging Maj’s usual »practice«, but still referencing themes such as feminism, futurism and creating a platform for the unheard.

What remained with me after our meeting is that we have the artistic license to define »practice« as we see fit; we can use residencies as creative incubators for our work, but »practice« comes from lived experience. Even if not specifically deemed »social practice«, it still absorbs our thoughts, actions and interactions with others, and in the end, cannot be predicted, relegated or compartmentalized – only manifested, one way or another, in the direction we channel it.

Read the original article on the Akademie Schloss Solitude Blog here.