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2024 Marfa Residents Explore the Theme of “Inhabiting the Desert”  

Art & Design, Books & Ideas, Film & TV, Museums & Heritage, Music, New Media, Performing Arts


By Villa Albertine

Announcing the five artists and researchers selected to contribute to a reflection on the challenges of preserving a habitable world, as part of the Marfa “Inhabiting the Desert” residency program.   

Following the success of its first edition in 2023, Villa Albertine’s collective and multidisciplinary residency program in Marfa, Texas returns for a second year, organized in partnership with the Centre Pompidou and with the exclusive sponsorship of AXA.  Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, Dawn Kim, Alice Loumeau, Josefina Paz, and Grégoire Schaller have been selected to conduct residency projects in the Texas desert town of Marfa from October 2 to November 2, 2024.  

Located in far West Texas, 60 miles from the US-Mexico border, Marfa’s desert landscape serves as a microcosm in which diverse stories of migration and evolving ecological dynamics intersect. Within this setting, artists and intellectuals can collectively reflect on the ecological and migratory challenges involved in preserving a habitable world and our connection with our surrounding environments.  

This program has been developed and implemented in collaboration with Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, Head of the Department of Culture and Creation at the Centre Pompidou. Since 2020, he has led the Planétarium Program dedicated to bringing together artists’ and researchers’ perspectives on the transformations of our planetary experience. He will additionally join the five laureates for part of the residency.   

This year’s call for applications was open to all artists and/or researchers living in France or in the United States. The five finalists were selected by a French American jury chaired by Judith Roze, Deputy Director of Villa Albertine, and comprised of:   

Bettina Gardelles, Director of Villa Albertine Houston;  

Jim Martinez, President of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute;   

Jeff Matheis, Visitor Services and Programs Manager at the Judd Foundation;   

Lina Pamart, General Coordinator of Villa Albertine Residencies;   

Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, Head of the Department of Culture and Creation, Centre Pompidou

The 2024 Marfa Laureates 

Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, author and photographer

Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

A celebrated author, Jean-Baptiste Del Amo has written several novels, including Une éducation libertine (Goncourt First Novel Prize) and Animalia (2017 Prix du Livre Inter).  As an activist, he has published op-eds about climate change and animal rights and has led a collective work in support of SOS Méditerranée, an organization fighting for human rights and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2019, he wrote and directed his first short film, Tomorrow Will Be Brighter, which won the Unifrance Prize at Cannes. In 2023, with writer Jakuta Alikavazovic, he led a project focusing on the preservation of the Brouage Marsh, threatened by rising waters and climate change. He has also served as a resident at Villa Médicis in Rome in 2010 and Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto in 2015.

In Marfa, Del Amo seeks to explore, through text and photography, the way in which a territory determines collective and individual memory, particularly when its biodiversity is threatened. The question of migration is central to his work. Key questions that he will explore include: How does the perception of a territory that has experienced an influx in migration evolve? Can text and images capture or predict a new social imaginary in the making?

Dawn Kim, artist

Dawn Kim with Szelid the Goat

Dawn Kim is an artist who examines systems of power to better understand everyday complexities. Kim makes photographs, artist books, and performance lectures using images, both made and found. Closed communities have been recurring subjects in her work because they represent private systems that govern fundamental aspects of day-to-day life. Her notable projects include “My Gift,” a slideshow performance lecture that centers on a two-year quest to cast a spell on the Yale Law School, and Creation.IMG, a book that relies on errors in Google’s image search algorithm to visually narrate the seven days of creation as told in the book of Genesis.

In Marfa, she will examine the economic realities of what it means to be temporarily part of a destination border town that caters to multitudes—artist and collector; local and tourist; immigrant and industry.

Alice Loumeau, architect, artist, and cartographer 

Alice Loumeau

French-Canadian architect, artist, and cartographer Alice Loumeau conducts spatial investigations through writing and cartography, exploring the changing territories of the Anthropocene. In 2021, she participated in the SPEAP Political Arts program at Sciences Po Paris, and in 2022, she co-founded the multidisciplinary collective She has worked as an architect in Rotterdam, Paris, and London, and participated in exhibitions, publications, and residencies, including at the Villa Medici in Rome (2022) and the Venice Architecture Biennale (2022). Her residency project consists of a cartographic and visual investigation representing different desert inhabitants. 

Josefina Paz, artist and researcher

Josefina Paz

Josefina Paz’s global work primarily centers around exploring and expressing the tensions and phenomena associated with borders as disruptive elements. She uses various media, including sound, language, and fabric, to highlight subjective, precarious, and unstable experiences and realities of borders. She aims to conceptually break away from the power dynamics embedded in territories and imagine new poetic and liberating boundaries. Her notable works include, Listening to Borders, an interactive installation featuring drawn and pierced worldwide border lines on music scrolls, music boxes, and wood, allowing participants to listen to the borders; and Ocean Breath, an audio triptych composed of recordings of several immigrants breathing, edited and transformed into soundscapes resembling the ocean.

Entitled “Soundings of the Chihuahuan Desert,” Josefina Paz’s residency project aims to use sound and music to trace the migratory paths of living beings in this territory. She intends to conduct field research and collect various elements, both natural and man-made, in the desert and at the US-Mexico border, to design objects that will form the basis of a performance – installation. 

Grégoire Schaller, visual artist, choreographer, and aesthetics researcher

Grégoire Schaller

A visual artist, choreographer, and aesthetics researcher, Grégoire Schaller, develops transdisciplinary performative projects at the intersection of dance, performance, and visual arts that question our relationship to death, the injunction to body normativity, the naturalization of power relations, and the construction of dominant narratives.  He co-founded the company Anna & Grégoire with choreographer Anna Chirescu, and their works have been presented in art institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art (Paris), Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, and the Ballet National de Marseille. In Marfa, his project, “Voices from the Void,” will combine research, first-hand accounts, and choreographic works on local populations and their relationship with the desert, solitude, and environmental exploitation. 

AXA is the exclusive supporter of the Marfa “Inhabit the Desert” residency.  In collaboration with the Head of Sous Le Paysage, led by Fieldwork Marfa, École des Beaux-Arts de Nantes St. Nazaire, Atelier de Sèvres, Nantes-Université, and Fabrice Hyber. 

In partnership with


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