It’s been a year since Crystal died.
This past year been a lot of things: a year marked by the absence of her laugh, enthusiasm, and dedication, but also a year filled with an amazing mix of work, friends, accomplishments, and life that keep me busily running all around the world, creating useful things that hopefully help others. Crystal was the best. In this past year, everyone who knew her agreed, tacitly or explicitly, to become a bit more like her in some way in some way or another. To do things that scare us, to take care of others, to be more generous, thoughtful, curious and adventurous, to get things done, and most of all to keep going.
I have many, many people to thank for helping to keep China Residencies going: Emma Karasz and Brian Wallace for a hosting beautiful Crystal party at Red Gate’s watchtower and dedicating the Crystal Ruth Bell Residency; Jagrut Raval, for creating mountains of edible maps to share; Francis Tseng, for his endless love and support (and for designing and powering this very website), and his parents Reimin Kwauk & Hung Tseng for dumpling-wrapping lessons and beautiful photographs at our Dumpling Art Party; to my grandfather Louis Kennedy, who helped me go back to school to learn how to run a nonprofit; my great sister Ani & our lovely and very loving parents Alan & Joan; Iona Whittaker, for contributing lots words and lots more positive vibes; Mario Caro, for inviting me and encouraging me to join on my first conference without Crystal; Annalee Davis, Holly Bynoe, and all the participants at Fresh Milk’s Tilting Axis conference, for showing true commitment to collaboration across regions; Iain Bonner, Jason Hendrik Hansma, and Astra Howard, for making the most of the first round of "Two to Three" residencies, and to the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for their funding; Lauren Every-Wortman and Ysabelle Cheung for being such amazing hosts in Hong Kong; Antonie Angerer, Thea Baumann, Jay Brown, Ingrid Chu, Christina Li and all the other participants of our Open Platform discussion; Samantha Culp, for always bringing people together in surreal settings; Rachel Marsden, for writing and sharing and making so things happen; Silva Jaehrling for fun and spice in Chongqing; Yang Yiran, for her insightful research and interviews in Southern China; Jay Brown, Zhouqiao and Kiran, as well as the three generations of the He family and all their animals for boundless hospitality in Lijiang, Naima Fine and Miranda Hill for their music, humor, and adventures; Kati Elizabeth, for radical feminist tech awesomeness at Metaverse Makeovers in Shanghai; Hayley May Ward, for helping us help (not just) Australians artists; Maya Rudolf, for stories and house parties in Beijing; Han Xia for long conversations and great visits; Katrina Neumann and Jodi Waynberg for mutual bootcamps and sharing advice in our first workshop; Marie Fol for commiserating and building solutions; Mary Sherman, for exchanging much more than ideas about culture, Johann Diedrick for Instagram encouragement; Julia Malleck and our amazing interns, past and present, who go on to do great things, and all of our friends who show up, carry their tote bags across continents, and spread the word.
But most of all, thank you to all the people who give time and space to artists to their thing, and thank you to the artists, like the three collectives AI + PS, Display Distribute and Blood Becomes Water, for taking the Crystal Ruth Bell Residency to heart and make amazing things happen.
Crystal wanted to help more artists do cool things in China, so thank you all for helping us making this happen. Here’s to many more good years!
- Kira Simon-Kenendy