Julen Agirre Egibar is one of two visiting artists at the CBS this semester. Originally from Azpeitia, a town in the middle of Gipuzkoa, he received his BA in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV) and is now finishing his PhD dissertation, set to defend next spring.
- What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies? How long will you be here?
The reason that I´m here at the moment is because I obtained a grant from the Fine Arts Faculty (EHU/UPV) in order to do an artistic project in the city of Reno at the Center for Basque Studies. The University of the Basque Country and the CBS at the University of Nevada, Reno have a collaboration program for artist residencies. I´m staying in Reno for two months, having arrived at the end of September and returning at the beginning of December.
- What is the goal of your project?
My artistic project’s name is ZENTER, and it is connected to my dissertation. I’m carrying out an analysis of Reno, more concretely, I am interested in the urban space that is between the city´s center – downtown in this case – and the periphery. The ZENTER project focuses on this intermediate place, because, in my opinion, these spaces still are not active in a sense, and contain a lot of tensions. This study matches the conclusions in my dissertation. I hope to create an archive and material, in order to bring it into my sphere of work.
- What makes your research unique?
I don´t know if my research is necessarily unique, but I know that it is a very concrete research field. I am interested in investigating the concept of disturbing strangeness, and, in a sense, I try to demonstrate this concept in places like houses, cities, and non-spaces (suburbs).
- What have you accomplished since you arrived?
The city of Reno, precisely its downtown area, is very well adapted to my research criteria, and this feature is very important to the development of my artistic project.
- Has the Center for Basque Studies helped you in any way (library resources, people)?
For a start, I have a very appropriate space at the Center for Basque Studies to carry out my work, so I am grateful to Joseba Zulaika and the rest of the people at the center. All of its resources, in general, are useful for me.
- Are you enjoying the U.S.?
This is the second time that I have stayed in the U.S. and I am obviously enjoying it. I mention the U.S. in my dissertation many times. On the one hand, I analyze the city of Los Angeles, and on the other, I have introduced some American artists, among whom the filmmaker David Lynch, whose work takes up the main idea of my dissertation, stands out.
- What have you missed the most since you’ve been here?
I don´t know, I think that I haven’t missed anything since I got here, quite the opposite, this is an excellent experience for my artistic career.
We are happy to have Julen here with us and hope he enjoys his stay. He is a welcome addition to our center.