Denis Longhi from Jazz:Re:Found talks through PULLPROXY about the main goals of the 7TH EX residency program in collaboration with Steven McKay (Arroz Estudios) and Sebastian Studinsky (XJAZZ!), and what plans the future holds.

7th Extinction is a cooperation of XJazz!, Germany, Jazz Re:found, Italy and Arroz Estúdios, Portugal. How did you all came together and what was the initial impulse to start this project?

For several years Jazz:Re:Found has been curating artistic residency projects as a new fundamental asset of its planning. After an important growth on the national territory, it was relevant for us to develop this model on a wider territory, especially taking in consideration the thematic that we’re approaching. We identified in the EACEA grants an opportunity to take this training but also an experiential model beyond our borders.

Xjazz! has been embodying the spirit and artistic idea of JZ:RF for years in Germany, while Arroz Estúdios is one of the most interesting cultural accelerators in terms of technological innovation. Both accepted our proposal with great enthusiasm and it was easy to immediately find the right connection and energy between all entities.

Can you explain to us a little more about the statement on your website: „The end of the anthropocene will coincide with the sixth mass extinction. The seventh maybe will not concern human beings. It’s all wider than this.“

Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.
In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human. From this premise arise the suggestions of 7TH EX, a way to sensitize human beings to treat environmental issues with care and responsibility, not to avoid a mass extinction (which will in any case occur in its natural and inexorable cycle), but to give day after day quality to our lives and respect for the world that hosts us.

The demand for the artist residencies is dedicated to the dramatic issues we have in the world regarding nature, sustainability, the environmental crisis. You ask for the creativity of artists to deal with these subjects and develop multimedia projects together. Do you think musicians and artists need to change their traditional ways of working and be more engaged socially and politically?

Artistic sensitivity in transforming key issues and themes, with deep and key meanings, has always been one of the most effective ways to communicate effectively and understandably to the masses. We don’t have the expectation of producing an audiovisual show like Massive Attack, in which in addition to the musical depth there is a disruptive political message, but we still believe that the new generations have a critical point and a really strong expressive need, and can be able to tell powerful and meaningful messages through art, especially in a complex social context such as youth in the post-covid period.

What do you expect from them? How you visualise the work during their residencies? Also in the developing process with the multidisciplinary tutors you have on board?

Jazz:Re:Found has launched a course of training residencies since 2018 dedicated to the enhancement of young talents, building real „Team Building“ experiences between musicians of different backgrounds. The highly appreciated development model of these artistic workshops, immersed in unique and inspirational environments such as the Pistoletto Foundation and the widespread hotel of Cave di Moleto in the Monferrato vineyards, has meant that a real new exportable format has been defined, in which it is not so much musical grammar that dominates, but personal growth and comparison with tutors. The idea is to export this model to fascinating places such as Berlin and Lisbon, bringing our experience to the service of partners Xjazz! and Arroz Estúdios, but above all implementing their skills in the process. Everything usually starts with two days of discernment to immerse the kids in the project, with talks, lessons and workshops together with the tutors. Then we move on to the operational part, approaching laboratory environments, to then end up experimenting in the rehearsal room.

Where will the works will be presented?

The return of the projects will take place in each partner country, probably the first output will be hosted within Xjazz! Festival 2024, in Berlin, then there will be a summer session at Arroz Estúdios, in Lisbon, and finally in September on the Jazz:Re:Found Festival stage in Unesco Monferrato. It is yet to be understood whether the final product will be a collection of acts performed by the different national teams in a single show, or we will see three different interpretations of the Seventh Extinction message. The idea is to then circulate the project throughout Europe from 2025, as well as create an installation medium that can be housed within museum spaces and dedicated exhibitions.