Villa Albertine partners with Marfret and Musée national de la Marine to present customized residencies for artists and writers aboard a French container ship.
Since its launch in fall of 2021, Villa Albertine’s innovative artists’ residency program has enabled 180 creators, thinkers, and cultural professionals to travel to more than 50 cities across the United States to embark on customized exploratory residencies.
In 2023, Villa Albertine expands its innovative residency program by collaborating with Marfret, a French shipping company, and Musée national de la Marine, to launch a dedicated sea route for artists and writers. Dubbed the Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line, the sea route offers a five-week voyage from Le Havre to Papeete and Nouméa by way of New York, Kingston, Jamaica, and the Panama Canal, followed by a seven-week return voyage from Papeete and Nouméa to Le Havre by way of Australia, New Zealand, Panama, Philadelphia, and the ports of Northern Europe.
The 640-foot-long MARIUS container ship will make four roundtrips in its inaugural year as the Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line, hosting a different artist or writer resident on each leg (and amounting to eight residents annually). The residents will serve as part of the crew full-time and chronicle the world as seen from the decks of the container ship. Depending on the needs of their residency project, residents may join aboard for either all or part of their designated leg of the ship’s journey.
In addition to Villa Albertine residents heading to (or returning from) their residencies in the United States, and artists invited to complete a commission, the Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line is recruiting resident creators, who may apply through the call for applications below. This on-board residency is intended for any creator who is based in metropolitan France, the French Pacific territories (New Caledonia and French Polynesia), or the United States, and who wishes to travel across the Atlantic or the Pacific.
The route has been active since August 15, with the first two residents having set sail as part of a free-form project for Villa Albertine’s magazine, States. The fruits of their residencies will be published as part of the second issue of States, which will be published in December 2023:
- Pierre Buttin, a French-born, London-based illustrator and regular contributor to the New York Times and The New Yorker, boarded the ship at Le Havre on August 15 and disembarked in New York.
- Arno Bertina, author of over twenty books, novels, biographical essays, youth literature works, and photo albums, boarded at Savannah, GA, on August 25 on a three-week voyage to Papeete, which will pass through the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and the Pacific.
2025 will mark the “Year of the Oceans,” and France will host the UN Ocean Conference in Nice, on the French Riviera, along with a series of awareness-raising initiatives planned across the nation throughout the year. Within this context, the Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line aims to help increase visibility and awareness around one of the puzzles of our modern world, questioning why we have such a poor understanding of the ocean despite its omnipresence in our daily lives. Additionally, the initiative will form new ties between metropolitan France, the French Pacific territories, and the United States.
The Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line is operated by Marfret, while resident recruitment is handled by Villa Albertine.
Call for Applications: Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line Seafaring Residencies
The first Atlantic-Pacific Artists Line call for applications will be open until October 31, 2023. Creators of all disciplines wishing to complete an exploratory residency and join the crew of the MARIUS between January 1 and September 1, 2024 are invited to apply.
This residency seeks to offer an immersive experience aboard the MARIUS and invites creators to consider the contemporary world from a new vantage point from the decks of a container ship. Residency lengths can span from several days to several weeks and must be planned around the MARIUS’ voyage itinerary. The actual boarding date will be preceded by a two-day or three-day, hands-on introduction to Marfret’s agency at one of the ship’s ports of call, to provide a comprehensive overview of the world of maritime transport.
Applicants should express their preferences regarding boarding and disembarkation dates and indicate any potential flexibility should only one other segment of the sea route be available to them.
Please note that this residency involves a number of specific constraints, which are detailed below.
Applicants must submit an application file including the following:
- (A) “Applicant information form”, which may be downloaded via this link ;
- (B) Presentation of the applicant’s career and work as a PDF file, limited to 10 pages and 8 MB (e.g., a résumé and summary of a small selection of completed projects). This document will be used to evaluate the applicant’s artistry and work and must provide proof of them practicing their creative or intellectual activity on a professional basis.
- (C) Presentation of the proposed project for the on-board residency as a PDF file, limited to 3 pages – The project may either be new or the continuation of an existing project. It must be fully compatible with the residency format and include an element of creative reflection on the world of maritime transport and seafaring. A presentation, which may be simple in format, must be provided at the end of the project.
- (D) Justification of the applicant’s aptitude for completing a residency on board the MARIUS, as a PDF file, limited to 1 page. The applicant should explain the reasons why they consider themselves suitable for a residency on board the MARIUS. This is an experience that requires, in particular, excellent health (due to the absence of a doctor on board during crossings, and the need to climb several flights of stairs multiple times each day), strong interpersonal skills (given the isolation from the outside world, and the restricted, regimented social environment), and potential previous experience of sea travel (as the sea may become agitated during certain crossings, especially in the winter months).
- (E) The segment(s) of the voyage on which the applicant wishes to travel, indicated in the relevant form.
- (F) A 3-minute video of the applicant speaking in English (i.e., the language of communication on board the MARIUS) –The video link should be indicated in one of the PDF documents. In the video, the applicant should present themselves and their project without reading from a prepared text. This video should be uploaded as “unlisted” on a platform such as YouTube or Vimeo, available to view only by those who have the required link. If the applicant decides to protect their video with a password, this should also be indicated in the relevant PDF document.
The criteria for evaluating an application are as follows:
- Quality of the applicant’s overall work, based on their presentation document (B);
- Quality of the project, based on the applicant’s project description document (C) – The project should be clear and have relevant artistic, cultural, and intellectual focuses; it must be fully compatible with the residency’s maritime format; and the possibilities for post-residency presentations of creative work and reflections should be consistent with the project;
- Feasibility of the project, as measured, in particular, by the documents and information in (D), (E), and (F).
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age prior to the proposed boarding date for their residency.
Due to space constraints on board, only individual applications will be accepted. In light of these practical considerations, this residency cannot accommodate guests, such as family members, collaborators, or professional partners.
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (Paris time) on October 31, 2023 to the following address:
Support from Villa Albertine and Marfret
Villa Albertine and Marfret will jointly cover the following costs relating to the residency:
- Port stay – A two-to-three-night stay will be organized for the resident at one of the ports of call on the voyage. During this stay, the resident will discover the daily operations, professions, and logistics involved at a port. The resident’s transport, accommodation, and meal costs will be covered during this stay.
- On-board stay – On-board living costs will be covered (including accommodation in an individual cabin with a private bathroom, meals, and loan of appropriate clothing).
- Health, civil liability, and repatriation insurance.
- Inland travel and stayover directly before and after the on-board residency, with the following costs covered:
- Inland travel to ports, where necessary;
- Accommodation at arrival and/or departure, depending on the voyage segment in question, and for a maximum duration of 3 to 7 days;
- Daily allowance for trips to the United States to cover living costs in the territory in question (including meals, telephone and bank charges, etc.), as well as visa fees;
- Additional international sea crossing voyages aboard the MARIUS.
In an example scenario, a resident completing an on-board residency between Le Havre and New York would have the following costs covered: transport from their usual place of residence to the port of Le Havre, accommodation and meals in Le Havre during the two-day port stay in preparation for their residency, their stay aboard the MARIUS following boarding at Le Havre, their stay in New York for several days upon arrival, and return transport to their usual place of residence.
Neither Villa Albertine nor Marfret shall over any expenses other than the travel and living costs mentioned above.
The resident must comply with each country’s customs obligations upon any and all disembarkations.
IMPORTANT: If the resident is disembarking in the United States, an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) will not be sufficient. The resident must complete the necessary procedures to obtain a B1 or B1/B2 visa. Villa Albertine will provide the supporting documents needed to complete a visa application file. Alternatively, an ESTA will be sufficient if the resident is boarding in the United States.
Living Conditions Aboard the MARIUS:
- Cabin – The resident will reside in a comfortable individual cabin equipped with a private bathroom.
- Cabin electrical equipment – The cabin is equipped with French-style outlets, as well as a shaver outlet in the bathroom. The cabin also contains a wall-mounted bedside lamp, a desk lamp, and a refrigerator.
- Meals – Meals will be provided to the resident. Some meals may be taken with the captain, particularly breakfast and dinner.
- Purchases – The resident is advised to bring American dollars in cash to pay for goods on board, such as snacks (potato chips, chocolate, etc.), drinks (wine, beer), cigarettes, and data to use the Internet.
- Internet – The resident may access the Internet for free on board except when traveling through a few portions of the MARIUS’ voyage. It should be noted that there is limited bandwidth on board and the Internet can only be used to send and receive texts, not images.
- Clothing and footwear – On-board laundry facilities are free of charge. When accessing the deck, the resident must wear a protective suit and footwear, which will be provided on loan. Protective footwear is not required inside the ship, but closed shoes must be worn outside the cabin.
- Seasickness – Since seafaring conditions tend to fluctuate, the sea may become agitated at times. As a precaution, the resident is advised to bring anti-nausea medication.
- Noise – As a precaution, the resident is advised to bring earplugs if they are sensitive to noise (such as that of the engine, wind, sea, sounds from the hull, ventilation, etc.). However, the first residents of this program have reported that the soundscape of the MARIUS and the ocean are conducive to deep, peaceful sleep.
Can I apply if I’m a Canadian citizen?
Only French or American citizens or residents can apply for the call.
I’d like to choose a sailing slot after July 2024. Where can I find these slots?
The Marius’ sailing schedule is not certain after this date. The dates indicated after July 2024 are indicative and subject to adjustment.
I notice on MARFRET’s website that the MARIUS is sailing segments that are not indicated on the form. Can I apply for these segments?
Navigation segments that are not indicated on the form are not open for this call for applications.
Who is on the selection panel, and when will it be held?
The jury will be made up of one representative from each partner institution (Villa Albertine, MARFRET, Musée national de la Marine). The date of the jury meeting has not yet been set.