The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art invites artists to participate in “Survival Kit 5”  #

2013-01-23 10:30

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) invites artists to submit ideas for the “Survival Kit 5” International Contemporary Arts Festival which will take place from the 5th to the 15th September, 2013. Each year artists have been encouraged to contemplate on some theme of importance in the community and reflect it in their works, creating alternative scenarios for survival in the modern world.

“Survival Kit 5” has focussed on slow revolution, which emphasizes the importance of margins, overturning positions of power and questions the dominance of the centre. It is a non-hierarchical movement which has evolved from the needs of individuals and develops direct democratic traditions. The slow revolution invites not to be afraid of reaching out for what you really desire.

Applications can be submitted online, by filling in the application form hereby March 10th, 2013, 11:59PM.

The director of LCCA and “Survival Kit 5” Festival curator Solvita Krese comments on this year’s theme: “Each year when we organize the “Survival Kit” Contemporary Arts Festival, we try to find out what has changed in the world, and what sort of survival strategies are being used in today’s society and how these activities are reflected in art. The world is still in the midst of rapid changes – political systems and maps are changing, as well as the balance of economic power. At the same time we can see an increase in mass community activity, stimulating a wave of protest against the system which controls political and economic power.”

Registering the world’s “hot” spots, we can look back on the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street actions in Ņew York, which turned into a global movement within a surprisingly short period. This reverberated in Greece, Spain, Israel and in other countries. The demonstrations and protest actions in Russia against V. Putin’s regime cannot go unmentioned among these. They are no longer events organized by a handful of “leftist” intellectuals or activists, but a massive and all embracing movement, which continues to grow wider, creating a dominant mood in a significant part of the community.  

The slow revolution does not have any national borders, or leaders, nor does it have a political programme. The main demand is to change the existing system or to create an alternative to the existing one. What is the possible alternative? Has the tradition of criticism come to a kind of dead-end, criticising the existing situation but being unable to provide a new vision for the future, a new utopia?

What can an artist do in such a “seismic” situation? Is influencing the situation even possible? What sort of strategies can we use, being in quite a marginal position, in opposition to the dominating power? The advantage of marginality and being outside the official organs of power is the possibility to exhibit a critical point of view. The most daring ideas arise right on the margins of power. It’s important not to get “bogged down” in the predictable, but to develop one’s own rules and game, and to take the first step before the control mechanism has been able to classify, subordinate, take over and make your extraordinary solutions into components of the existing system.

To submit the idea for your work to the “Survival Kit 5” Festival, an application form has to be filled in and submitted online her:, with the appendices indicated (artist’s CV, portfolio and visual materials) by 11.59pm on 10th March, 2013 .

Latvians participating in the collaboration project between Latvia and Turkey - “Urban Renewal”  #

2012-10-08 11:04

Foto: Didzis Grodzs

This fall several Latvian artists – Arnis Balčus, Iliāna Veinberga, Alma Ziemele, Margrieta Dreiblate, Alnis Stakle, Irīna Špičaka, Gints Grīvans – have been participating in the collaboration project between Latvia and Turkey “Urban Renewal (For Those Who Stayed)”. The artworks of both Latvian and Turkish artists were displayed in the international art festival „Survival Kit” in Riga, Latvia, then in Mersin, Turkey, and in November the exhibition will be open in the gallery „DEPO” in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Urban Renewal (For Those Who Stayed)” is a project looking to uncover the connections between changes a city goes through and the influence these changes can have on the habits and everyday movements of a city’s inhabitants.

The city is a convenient playground for anyone who likes experimenting with re-shuffling and arranging. Buildings in a city are built as visions of the future, as a step towards an ideal city. The emergence of new buildings changes a city radically – both visually and socially. Construction often requires demolition, and demolition can effectively halt certain ways of life while at the same time creating others. Already in the moment of creation, however, these new structures convey the possibility of their disappearance – especially considering the waves of economic unrest that we are currently experiencing. The financial situation encourages the consideration of alternative models of living.

Considering that the city, regardless of demographic changes, still retains a magnetic pull over people, the questions concerning the future of cities is multifaceted and ambiguous. How are dreams realized in new buildings? Do they improve the environment and the quality of life? Are they merely unwanted neighbours that one has to put up with?

Contemporary cities hold a lot of contradictions: inadequate architecture, decaying buildings, empty spaces between new structures, dark alleys and a lack of infrastructure. Changes in a city highlight our dangerous flirtation with these contradictions and give rise to questions. What is public space? Who do we share it with?

Artists: (Latvia) - Arnis Balčus, Iliāna Veinberga, Alma Ziemele, Margrieta Dreiblate, Alnis Stakle, Irīna Špičaka, Gints Grīvans.

(Turkey) - Sibel Yavuz, Zümra Hecan, Elif Köse, Tayfun Akdemir, Yakın Refleksler Collective, Bengisu Muazzez Kurtuluş, Şükrü Köroğlu, Özge Su Çalasın, Burhan Yılmaz.

Curators: Ahmet Karabulak (Turkish artists), and Zane Dātava (Latvian artists).

Design: Irīna Špičaka

Editor: Jūle Mare Rozīte

This exhibition is supported by the Latvian Embassy in Turkey and Turkish Airlines. It is part of the Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange Programme which is supported and organized by the European Cultural Foundation and Stiftung Mercator in cooperation with MitOst, Anadolu Kültür and Bilgi University.

The contemporary art festival “Survival Kit 4” has concluded #

2012-09-27 12:41

Photo: Janis Pesiks

The fourth – and the most extensive of all – contemporary art festival “Survival Kit” concluded on September 16th. Bringing together more than 50 collaboration partners and supporters, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art managed to organize over 30 special events, involving 91 artists form 17 countries. For the first time in the history of “Survival Kit”, which was based in Riga, in the previous premises of Tobacco Factory, the festival had partners in Sigulda, Tukums and Aizpute, resulting in satellite-exhibitions and residencies for artists from abroad.

Johanna Hästö, the Swedish artist that surprised Latvia with her performance “Zipper Suit”, when returning to her home in Umeå, writes: “On my way back to Sweden, a guy working in the airport recognized me (even without the zipper suit). He told me that he had seen the injury on my thumb and remembered that I had had a plaster when I was on his flight a week before. Moreover, he told me that the captain of the plane had been so excited, when he saw the zipper suit, that he had searched the Internet to find more about me and found “Survival Kit”.  The guy said that everyone in the staff was thrilled and that it was a wonderful experience!”

The art curator and historian Elita Ansone comments on “Survival Kit”: “The festival was truly extensive and saturated. I was especially moved by the art work “Truth is simple” by Kate Krolle and Atis Jekabsons; however each and every one of the artists deserves recognition. When pondering on the subject of “downshifting”, I consider it an important theme in this day and age that has to settle in our subconsciousness to help us find means of how to slow down our every-day pace.”

The first “Survival Kit” was organized in 2009 as a reaction to the changes brought by the economic crisis in Latvia. The focus of the second festival in 2012 was new initiatives and creative quartals, whereas the third “Survival Kit” concentrated on the prediction and modeling of the future. Next year the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art plans to organize the fifth “Survival Kit”, introducing a fresh new focus that is essential to the society. The festival is constantly growing in order to become one the most popular and extensive art events in 2014 when Riga will be the Culture Capital of Europe.

The contemporary art festival "Survival Kit 4" begins #

2012-09-06 12:39

Photo: Janis Pesiks

From September 6th to 16th the annual international contemporary art festival Survival Kit will take place in Riga, Latvia. The focus of SURVIVAL KIT 2012, a tradition which began in 2009 as a reaction to the changes brought by the global economic crisis, is downshifting or “the escape from the rat’s race”. The concept encourages people to take a critical look at the habitual consuming standards and the traditional perception of success; moreover, it emphasizes the need to balance time for work and leisure, as well as to focus on personal fulfillment.

Each year SURVIVAL KIT attracts talented artists from all over the world, this time bringing the masterpieces of, for instance, Jaime Pitarch form Spain, Jussi Kivi from Finland, Nira Pereg form Israel, Camilla Berner form Denmark and many more. Latvia will be represented by such artists as Alnis Stakle, Kristine Alksne, Arturs Punte, Kristine Zelve, Krists Pudzens, Aija Bley and Izolde Cesniece.

“Downshifting” – the focus of the contemporary art festival SURVIVAL KIT 4 – is a widely discussed subject all over Europe. The whole concept of the festival toys with the idea of living slow, chasing after your own interests and possibilities of growth, being closer to nature and evaluating the egoistic wants and needs of a human being.

John Griznich from Estonia, an artist and cultural coordinator working with various practices combining sound, image, site, and collaborative social structures since the early 1990s, when asked about the term “downshifting” becomes philosophical, “Generating integrated cultures of language, food and art is so inherent to human life that only empires built from violence and systems of mass repression are powerful enough tools to create beliefs of mass deception to shadow these facts.”

“I think (in a way) we live now in a time similar to middle ages or – in some way – also like the Revolution time in XIX century France,”  says Julita Wójcik, an artist from Poland. “And this revolution has already begun: in Spain, Greece and those countries where the economy has recently collapsed.  People change their life to make it more personal, more “useful”. They eat less, build less, and produce less garbage. They do those everyday things that we all do but in “human proportions”. In my artistic practice I have always been trying to expose simple daily activities like flying a kite, gardening, peeling potatoes... to do that what for today’s world is to be “slow-living”…”

Søssa Jørgensen and Geir Tore Holm are part of the “downshifting” movement in Sweden, “We moved to the farm Ringstad in March 2010, and started up our life there, being looser connected to the city and the artists’ community. We are experiencing a change of workloads, but not a reduction, taking care of the land, growing vegetables, grass and fruit, berries. Our animals demand a change in our daily routine, the demand working dynamically bearing in mind the changing seasons. “Shifting down” is probably more of necessity in our individual lives, but in the broader sense, in societies there are cycles of changes based on resources, ideas and politics.”

Since 2009, there have been tree SURVIVAL KIT festivals in Riga, reaching approximately 65 000 people. Therefore, this year the art event has been taken to the next level, organizing 3 satellite-festivals in regional cities – Sigulda, Tukums and Aizpute. Participants of SURVIVAL KIT are not just artists but also representatives of various other fields – architects, scientists, new entrepreneurs, teachers and other energetic experts, developing and implementing creative strategies to survive the times of crisis.

The following artists and many more will participate in SURVIVAL KIT 4: Arturs Bērziņš (LV), Inga Brūvere (LV), Elīne Buka (LV),  Aija Bley (LV), Mihai Ieapure Gorski (RO), John Griznich (EE) and “bērnu rīts” (LV), Johanna Hästö (SE), Julita Wójcik (PL), Klāvs Upacieris (LV), Gitte Villesen (DK), Rasa Jansone (LV), Søssa Jørgensen (NO) and Geir Tore Holm (NO), Jussi Kivi (FI), Laura Ķeniņš (LV), Madara Lesīte (LV), Liene Mackus (LV), Maija Mackus (LV), Maya Mikelsone (LV/FR), Ivars Grāvlejs (LV/CH), Mickaël Marchand (FR), Nira Pereg (IL), Krists Pudzens (LV), Orbīta and Arturs Punte (LV), “Reloading Images” (Kaya Behkalam (DE), Roberto Cavallini (IT), Azin Feizabadi (IR), Carla Esperanza Tommasini (IT)), Krišs Salmanis (LV), Alnis Stakle (LV), Pilvi Takala (FI), Ginta Tinte Vasermane (LV/NL), Zane Veldre (LV), Mārtiņš Zutis (LV), Kristīne Želve (LV), David Zink Yi (GER), Jaime Pitarch (SP), Agency (Kobe Mathyss) (BE), Mickael Marchand (FR), Camilla Berner (SE), wooloo (DK), Vladimirs Jakušonoks (LV), Kristaps Gulbis (LV), Trulā grupa (LV), Kārlis Vītols (LV), Izolde Cēsniece (LV), Kate Krolle (LV), Atis Jākobsons (LV), Elīna Eihmane (LV), Iliāna Veinberga (LV), Dace Džeriņa (LV), Kristīne Alksne (LV), Andris Eglītis (LV) and Ivars Grāvjējs (LV).

SURVIVAL KIT 4 will take place in a pop-up art space in the artistic district of Riga – in the previously occupied Tobacco Factory on Miera – or Peace – Street. It is organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), a dynamic unit seeking connections between art and the current processes in the society, claiming the city and the surrounding reality as a field of creative possibilities, reacting to changes in the global art space by cooperation with artists and other art organizations, production work, information distribution, education, analysis, research, provocation, questioning, naming and frequently also trespassing the usual borderlines, as well as encouraging people to participate and be socially active. Survival Kit is curated by Solvita Krese, the director of LCCA.