Ben Portzen – Artist in Residence

Residency Dates – March 26 – April 15, 2023

Studio H Canada is thrilled to welcome Ben Portzen as artist in residence. Ben is an experimental musician, movement artist, and performer from Minnesota, USA.

While in residence at Studio H Canada, Ben will explore the ways in which land, sound, and movement can serve as healing forces by creating honest art, deeply rooted in the place and state of being it is made in. Ben is currently a fellow with IBM’s Watson Foundation, traveling around the world experiencing art’s capacity to put us face to face with our existential unknowns (e.g. chronic illness, death, climate change), with greater fascination than fear, and seeking to understand how artistic practice can help us build a more sustainable, equitable, and compassionate future.

“After almost nine months of constant travel, performing, teaching, and making work across Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Canada, I am looking for a place to turn inwards – to let the learnings of this intense period of practice and study seep into my being and rise to the surface through my creative practice.

“At Studio H I will ask what sustainability means in the context of my artistic practice, both ecologically and personally, filling my days with sitting meditation, listening meditation, research on the land and its history, and the creation of sound and movement works. I will focus on using transducers to turn wood into speakers, allowing us to place electronic instruments and natural materials in real-time dialogue. Through this process I hope to cultivate a better understanding of how artistic practice can be of benefit to our world without burning ourselves (or the planet) out.

Check out this video made during Ben’s residency at Studio H Canada. More to follow!

About the Artist

Ben Portzen in the studio

Benjamin Portzen [he / him] is a composer, improviser, and movement artist who strives to make space for connection, healing, presence, and absence through immersive sound and movement works. By commingling practices of premeditation and spontaneity, Ben offers the opportunity for performers and witnesses to create and interrogate relationships between bodies, ideas, sounds, and objects in real-time. At present, Ben’s research interests include designing intelligent computer collaborators for composition and improvisation, illuminating the body as the locus of creative potential in the creation of sound works, the facilitation of “real” experiences for performers and audiences, and the ways in which artistic practice offers the opportunity for radical self-transformation and dissolution.

Ben holds a Bachelor’s of Music from Lawrence University (‘21) where he studied composition with Asha Srinivasan and Joanne Metcalf, piano with Anthony Padilla, improvisation with Matt Turner, and dance with Margaret Paek. As a 2021 Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Ben will spend one year across Japan, Nepal, Belgium, Germany, and Iceland exploring the role art can play in imagining and building a more equitable, sustainable, and compassionate future by embracing our unknowns with more fascination than fear.

You can learn more about Ben Portzen on his website: and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Artists of all media and disciplines are welcome to apply to Studio H Canada International Art Residency – please check out the link here to apply.

Check out previous posts about artists here.

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