Aglaia Konrad (BE) #

"ICONOCOPYCITY" (2011). 114 laser copies, black and white, each 29.7 x 42 cm. Supported by Wallonie - Bruxelles

The book Iconocity is an example of one way of reading my archive. It can be defined as raw, unpolished, concrete, sculptural, black and white, and associatively adventurous. It depicts the whereabouts of architecture in all urban conditions, from its presentation to its demolition, and all the possible states of contemplation in between.

The work Iconocity displays the entire copied spreads of the book, from the front cover to the back. This shows the linear order of the book, and the extensive architectural sections become readable in their graphic and rhythmic order.

The spine, which emerges in the continuous grid on the wall, is the “restspace” of the photocopy frame.

The meandering rhythm results from the alternating position of the book in each different line, left or right. In this way, the grid of the installed pages overrules the graphical grid of the way the pages are built.

By presenting the spreads as one surface, completely different perspectives and readings are revealed. The overall survey of the entire book unravels the associative train of thought that it specially has been based on.

Aglaia Konrad lives and works in Brussels. Her work started from photographically driven practice, with an interest in the urban phenomena of megacities since the beginning of the 1990s. By now it comprises videos, books, installations and a series of five 16mm films (on sculptural architecture). Her works have been represented in international group shows such as Documenta X (1997), Cities on the Move (1998–1999) and Talking Cities (2006). 

Kristīne Alksne (LV) #

"Boļševička Enlightenment" (2014). Photocopies, computer prints, collages, paper

Glass evokes the concepts of utopia and transparency, it is a material of great importance and spiritual value. Sparkling and light are the highest symbols of purity and death. In „Boļševička Enlightenment", instead of the magical properties of colored glass, images of gasoline leftovers from urban environments are used, making clear that the themes of utopian hope, desire, and madness are part of today's modernism.

Kristīne Alksne’s works have their origin in a succession of pieces of visual information that the artist picks out from her surroundings in the reality of daily life: a reality made up of natural phenomena observed in their organic transience and in the most minute detail, and comprising many displacements, be they long journeys or minimal changes in location. Under her attentive gaze, neither the routes we walk along every day, nor the landscapes that we watch unfold beneath us from the window of the airplane while we fly from one continent to another, pass by unobserved. Elements and details drawn from these visions are recorded and recomposed in vibrant maps of imaginary landscapes. 

Alte Schweden & Poetic Robotism (FI, SE, LV) #

"Shop ‘til You Drop!" (2014). Installation. Alte Schweden (Joakim Hansson, Sebastian Mügge) & Poetic Robotism (Laura Prikule, Eva Vēvere). With the participation of Vita Radziņa and Emilia Kannosto.

The idea of our piece is to prepare for a new era, for the total disappearance of public space in order to let consumption expand freely and without control. Where will this idea lead? Will we give up our right to a free public space which is open for all, in order to live the utopian dream of a free market, in the shape of casinos, shopping centres and galleries? What will this non-stop merry-go-round turn city dwellers into? Who is allowed to do what in a city when public space is devoured by corporations? 

Umeå, which is the partner city of Riga, European Culture Capital in 2014, recently received a new shopping mall named Utopia. We aim to use this extreme example of the decay of utopian visions and put it in relation to the urban reality of Riga. This piece can be considered as a poetic and subversive hymn, glorifying the fantastic possibilities of a totally free market beyond any control. Nothing is for free, there are no public spaces, there is only room for maximized consumption. Welcome to the new vision for Europe!

The installation “Shop ‘til You Drop” is a collaboration between two artist groups – Alte Schweden and Poetic Robotism. Alte Schweden focuses on projects with a participatory aspect. The projects are set in post-revolutionary societies with a focus on regaining identity and dreams of the future. 

Poetic Robotism is a radical endeavour to establish a visual syntax based on reducing various aspects of reality, often binary opposites, down to the cube as a pictorial nominal and using it to build new experiences.

Andreas Angelidakis (NO, GR) #

"Athens Trilogy". Video. The Walking Building (2004-2006, 4:31 min); Troll (2011, 5:30 min); Casino Ruin (2012, 6:39 min)

“Troll” and “Casino” are emblematic modernist buildings of the 1950s. Both failed in their intentions, and both are used as vehicles to talk about the current anthropological and financial crisis in Athens. Together with “Walking Building” (2006) they form a trilogy from which we can learn about the failures of modernism in the South. In all three projects the buildings have become videos; scenarios for the buildings' future; dialogues between proposed architecture and critical fiction.

Andreas Angelidakis : "I'm an architect. I like buildings, but I'm not sure I want to be the one building them. I like them like beaches and mountains and clouds – as part of an extended idea of nature.

I dropped out of Greek polytechnic school and finished my undergraduate studies at the Southern California Institute of Architecture after I realized they were teaching us how to design buildings but not why. Sci-ARC in the late 1980s and 1990s was all about the why. After graduating I got an internship at an art center, as I thought that contemporary art seemed like a language more fluent in criticism and versatility. Later I went to Columbia University for my Masters' degree, and I was part of the first batch of the Paperless Studios design course with the computer as the only tool. It was then that I became interested in the computer as a philosophical device, a landscape of ideas whose horizon began to appear during the early days of the internet. This idea somehow completed my sphere of interests: art and buildings with a focus on how society shifts, especially as seen through the internet which is the most significant paradigm shifter of our time."

Lawrence James Bailey (NL) #

"This Is How It Goes No.1 – No. 4" (2014). Four large scale linoleum prints on paper, each 88 x 136 cm


Listen as I take you there.

We await our departure, calm, open and receptive.

I shall now count from 1 to 10. On the count of 10 you will be in Utopia.


We find ourselves in a quiet corner somewhere.


Fresh foreign landscapes pass by in a gentle warm breeze on a dark night.


The space around us expands, time becomes flexible.


There are ever greater distances all around us. We can feel secure about our position. Feel who we are with no hinderance or pressure. There is no economy or society here anymore.


Take in this nocturnal state of bare intoxication.


Take in the strange perspectives of this constantly transforming landscape.


We revisit marshy bogs where life first bubbled forth. Where cheap plastics have long melted back into their original oily components.


Absorb into the landscape.


I fade, leaving you, now a merry company of one. On your own mental count of ten you would have found Utopia. Be there at ten.


Lawrence James Bailey : "The urban environment provides the stimulus which connects memories, imagination, history and geography. My drawings are of monuments, ruins and traces of stories presented in virtually empty landscapes.

I depict worlds of no social responsibility and of no economic pressure, where one can be free to have clear thought. A similar state of Utopian thought, which is gained by shutting oneself off in an artist’s studio. I enjoy discovering the alienation which runs through the heart of Romanticism." 

Ēriks Božis (LV) #

"Second Floor" (2014). Photographs

Movement in urban space is akin to a sort of journey in an exhibition hall, where the works on display are buildings. This allegory of an exhibition hall may cause a certain unease, however, as hardly any architectural “product” can be observed in detached isolation – in the so called “white cube” aesthetics. Nevertheless, houses, buildings, edifices, premises are all works of art which strive to squeeze together and “mingle” in that large exhibition hall called the city.

The series of photos, “Second Floor,” looks at a notable phenomenon in urban space: buildings acquire different visual contexts depending on the angle of sight. This is particularly pronounced in the new architecture – frequently free-standing buildings, located close to historic neighbourhoods. In these cases a “pure” perception of the new architecture is only possible from a few angles, while from others it inevitably acquires a new context against the surrounding buildings (either a harmonious or antagonistic one). Occasionally it creates not only a new context but also a new artifact: for a brief moment the look of the passer-by encounters a new architectonic mutant – the old and new buildings merge into a unified whole where the new structure functions as the second floor to the older one. These momentary mutations result in a peculiar “three second works of art”.

Ēriks Božis: "I'm an artist. The works end up as installations or photographs, although they all have the same reason – an interest in the surrounding space and the peculiarities of behaviour in it. I enjoy designing exhibitions of works by other artists."

Anouk de Clercq (BE) #

"Oh" (2010). Video installation (8:00 min)

Anouk De Clercq explores the audiovisual potential of computer language to create possible worlds, many of which have a strongly architectonic character.

In Oh she seeks to reanimate the ambitious, utopian spirit of renegade architect Etienne-Louis Boullée (1728-1799). True to the spirit of the utopian architectural tradition Boullée is part of, he is probably best remembered today for one unrealized project in particular: the design for a gigantic sphere-shaped shrine dedicated to one of the founding fathers of modern science, Isaac Newton.

Although the historical reference to an unrealized architectural project adds a nostalgic, melancholy twist to Oh, De Clercq nevertheless stays true to her well-documented passion for images of futurity.

The image in space, the spatial image, the imagined space and the space of the image. Anouk De Clercq’s work involves not only the interaction between different disciplines, but also that between inside and outside, real and imaginary (virtual) spaces, two and three-dimensional, analogue and digital, the ultimate aim being to create a poetic space. 

Evelīna Deičmane, Rasa Jansone (LV) #

"Chimney" (2014). Kinetic sound installations on 5 wooden manor houses in Pārdaugava. Evelīna Deičmane (installation, objects) and Rasa Jansone (text, historical research). In collaboration with “Skaņu mežs”.

The work “Chimney” takes the viewer to Pārdaugava  – to Schwartz Manor, Hamann Manor, Hartmann Manor, the ensemble of Wolfschmidt manor and House of Schroeder – five summer or so-called “leisure” manor houses belonging to the Baltic German culture. These manor houses are long past their prime and now mostly resemble introvert corpses. It is more than obvious that they interfere with the free passage of contemporary residents of Riga. They interfere with their greyness, the peculiar odour of an old, long-unheated wooden house, their location on the very edge of pavement. They interfere with their unruly affinity to another time, another culture, another standard and flow of life. Besides, they have a history of interference – since the early 20th century. It is a half-crumbled, half-burnt wrong on the soil of Riga. And one can lose one's footing.

Rasa Jansone: “I mostly paint and often use text, or references to text, in my work. I have previously held solo exhibitions and taken part in projects which speak about the so called ‘women’s issues.’ I have taken part in discussions at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art about the role of Latvian women in art, and about women’s experiences in practicing their art.” 

Evelīna Deičmane (1978) has studied at the Art Academy of Latvia and the Berlin University of the Arts. She has taken part in several notable international exhibitions – the 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006), the 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007) and “Manifesta 7” (2008). Deičmane also represented Latvia at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale with the multimedia project “Passing Sorrow” in 2009.

Inga Erdmane (LV) #

"Wooden Money" (2014). Photographic documentation

Taking into consideration the need for an interest-free and zero-inflation system of currency, which promotes humane development instead of financial power obsessed with exponential growth, last year a group of people, proposing to create an alternative to the existing currency, started to form in Riga. The idea is not radically new, it has existed in diverse forms in many countries and under various systems for some time now – in Switzerland, Germany, Bolivia, Iceland etc. In each place the alternative currency is adapted to local interests and particularities. In this case wood has been chosen as the point of reference – a renewable energy resource, a versatile, functional material, as well as, during its life-cycle, the basis of the ecological system. Wooden currency provides an opportunity to test the hypothesis of demurrage or “stale money” which, when expressed as the carrying cost of money, will increase its circulation while limiting excessive reserves.

Time will tell if this idea is sustainable in Latvia, or just another utopia.

Inga Erdmane: "I mainly work with photography. My primary focus is documenting and paraphrasing events and interpreting documentary narratives through installations. Being involved in, or affected by, a situation, whether comfortable or vulnerable, political or social, I take photographs as a response to these situations. I’m interested in society and the interaction between the social and the private spheres and how these intersect within an individual. This ties in with my interest in psychology, which I have previously studied."

Laura Feldberga (LV) #

"Dust Therapy" (2014) Installation, lectures, excursion

My work is an invitation to go on a journey to the Bieriņi neighbourhood on the edge of Riga – the place where they started work on a Sculptors' Park in the 1980s and 90s. The granite sculptures and the large asphalted field which used to host sculpture symposiums can still be seen there. Sculptors also continue to live in Bieriņi.

The intended project of the park did not come to fruition, but the Mārupīte surroundings preserve signs testifying to the dream of creating an art park. With my work Dust Therapy I want to call attention to these vestiges, to bring them into the present, to play with them, to order and rearrange them and, hopefully, generate some new outlines for the future.

Laura Feldberga : "In my creative work I mostly work with exploring space. Space inspires me, it tells me how to fill it, what to highlight, what it wants me to say. This space can be a hall, a room, a gallery, or just as well a landscape, a street, a park, a yard. I look at the space and try to perceive the layers of time, the presence of people, events – that which is beyond the visible and the tangible. I call it internal vision. It means seeing with the whole of myself: with what I am, my experience, emotions, dreams, illusions, fantasies. When I see with internal vision, I can create new forms and they become part of the space." 

Ināra Gauja (LV) #

"Dawn of Future. 8:45" (2014) 224 photos, 10 x 15 cm each

Demo/graphic documentation of the everyday. 

Study – measuring the power of impressions from a segment of a young citizen's everyday journey heading towards the cherished city of the future.

Method of measurement – visual documentation.

Time – 8:45 AM

Period – 224 days from January to August (the period for creation of works for Survival Kit 2014).

Objects of comparison – segment of path of the municipal kindergarten and the future citizen's space of imagination – either of the places the future citizen finds herself at 8:45AM on the given day.

Ināra Gauja graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia in 1992, specialising in stage design.

Stage and costume designer for more than 50 productions at professional theatres since 1989. The most notable collaborations have been with theatre directors O.Kroders, F.Deičs, V.Maculēvičs and ballet director A.Leimanis. Nominations and awards at professional competitions Spēlmaņu nakts, Latvijas Gāzes balva Operai, and others.

In 2008 together with I.Zābere created the design project, which was presented in 2009 at Survival Kit as costumes 

Boutique Fashion Recycled.

Participates in group exhibitions since 1987, held personal exhibitions in 2000 and 2012.

Klāvs Upaciers, Inga Ģibiete (LV) #

"Surplus Art" (2014). Installation

The work leads us on a journey where absolutely everyone is invited, where nothing, and, even better, no one is unwanted, unless willing to remain so. On a journey not far away, but just around the corner, although each time it is as though for the first time. The installation will be created on-site from the “scraps” left by other artists. 

Inga Ģibiete (1979) completed her MA degree in the Department of Graphic Art at the Art Academy of Latvia in 2014. She has also studied at the AKI Artez Enschede Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands (2011).

Klāvs Upaciers (1979) graduated with a BA degree from the Department of Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia in 2011. He is now continuing his studies at the academy in the Master's Programme.

Nicolas Grospierre (PL) #

"The House Which Grows" (2012). 6 Lambda prints mounted on aluminum and under Plexiglas, various sizes, from 22 x 34 cm to 131 x 100 cm. Courtesy of Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery, Kraków

The Polish landscape features a quite frequent architectural phenomenon: that of unfinished houses, where people already live, and which have continued expanding, although evidently the original design has not been completed. “The House Which Grows” is inspired by this phenomenon, but also exaggerates it. The first image shows a nearly finished house which, in the subsequent images, appears to be growing. Eventually, in the last image, the house has become a huge chaotic and shapeless construction.

In this regard “The House Which Grows” is not so much a reflection on some positive utopia projecting itself in a hopefully radiant future, but rather on a negative, dark, dystopian vision of the city. There is a difference, still, with the classic 20th century dystopias. The former implied a centralized state which governed the expansion and development of the city from above. “The House Which Grows,” on the other hand, relies rather on the free will of dynamic and enterprising homeowners whose appetite for real estate drives the city to the verge of insanity.

Nicolas Grospierre is a photographer, of architecture mainly, and an artist working in the expanded field of photography. His practice has been focused on both documentary projects and more conceptual works. His documentary projects have often explored the collective memories of, and the hopes linked to modernist architecture, now that the utopias related to them have faded away. On the other hand, his conceptual photographic works tend to emphasize mind games, at the same time displaying attractive, sensual images or even installations.

Hiwa K (IQ) #

"One Room Apartment" (2011 (2014)). Installation

The building exemplifies new forms of living that came to Iraq after the shock ‘therapy’ of the Gulf Wars, of a new political order, and the application of global market economy. This situation reinforces forms of dwelling that differ dramatically from the previous sense of communal life. It links the situation in Kurdistan to other socio-economic shifts around the globe, and re-formulated, newly individualised societies, which used to be collective.

The work is a reconstruction of a house built recently near the minefields in Iraqi Kurdistan. Erected indoors, the replica building engages the viewer by challenging the relationship between the space that hosts it and the form that fills it up. Big enough to give an impression of a house that can be entered with a roof that can be climbed, the form is supposed to be proportioned in relation to the given space. The formal minimalism in this work is not one related to a certain period of art history but comes from pragmatism and sufficiency.

Hiwa K is an Iraqi Kurdish artist and musician. His projects appear to be a continuous critique of art education, the professionalization of art practice, of staging and visibility as well as the myth of the individual artist. Many of his works are forms and outcomes of collaborations, and have to do with the process of teaching and learning. They insist rather on getting to know as an everyday practice than knowledge as a formalized discipline.

Reinis Hofmanis (LV) #

"Place" (2014). Photographs

“Place” is more than just an abstract location; it can be described by the words “landscape” and “living space”. The link between the concepts of “space” and “character” can be characterised by the term “inhabited space.” Specific objects, their material, form, texture and colour together form a notion of an area’s character. “Place” can be seen as a combination of all aforementioned concepts. In his essay “The Morphology of Landscape” Carl Ortwin Sauer claims that “the facts of geography are facts of place” and that the combination of these facts creates a landscape. 

A landscape is created by urban details as well as by natural elements. The parts of a landscape created by people are first and foremost settlements which transform natural landscapes into cultured landscapes. In landscapes which have been mastered and subjugated by people, housing brings “earth” closer to its inhabitants. 

It is hard to differentiate landscapes created by man from natural landscapes. Urban landscapes influence inhabitants’ collective memory; they exemplify time which is spent in a specific place, which in its turn visually results in a shared territory. The landscape illustrates cultural influence on a place at a specific time.

Reinis Hofmanis graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia and earned an MA degree in fine arts (2012), studied photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover (2007). Participates in exhibitions since 2003. His works have been exhibited in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Canada and Singapore. Recipient of the Archifoto Award in 2012. In 2013 he earned 2nd place at the Sony World Photography Awards in the architecture category.

Isola Art Centre (IT) #

"Utopia Just Left the Building" (2014). Installation

Utopia! From the beginning we have been desperately seeking her. We never met her, but she was always close to us:

- when we occupied the former factory “La Stecca“ and started to create a new kind of center for art, philosophy, music and neighbourhood activities, confronting international real estate companies, bankers, weird politicians and timeserving architects;

- when we sang songs by Adriano Celentano to the decision-making city officials (in a choir with the Isola kids in the Zone Council);

- when during the Isola-Rosta project, Solvita sustained us from Riga and Dan sent us his first drawing, “art (get real) estate,“ from Bucharest to put on the shutters of Punto Rosso;

- when Christoph made, during the night, his wall painting, ”Strategic Embellishment,“ on the Isola kiosk,

- when we threw seed-bombs over the metal fence with Oliver, in order to conquer the closed Isola Pepe Verde area which we wanted so much;

- when we occupied the Galfa skyscraper and hung the banner “Si potrebbe anche pensare di volare” (you could even imagine flying) on its facade;

- when we tried to take back the horizon of the Isola district using Nikola’s solar cloud;

- when we tried to coin new concepts for our activist art practice such as ”fight-specific art“, “dirty cube“, and “dispersed center“,

- when we created the amazing Isola Art’s Club Band with Steve.

And then suddenly, just as we all started to believe we could recover Paul Signac’s “Time of Anarchy“ this summer in San Mauro Cilento, we saw Utopia fly laughing over our heads in an Ape-car.

We are convinced that she will follow us to Riga. Maybe you’ll meet her looking at our art pieces in Utopian City /Survival Kit #6... 

(Bert Theis and Camilla Topuntoli for Isola Art Center)

Jun Yang (CN) #

"Paris Syndrome" (2007/2008). Video, 10:00 min

A film on longing for something. Paris Syndrome is a psychological disorder, diagnosed on the Japanese working or on vacation in Paris. It is a traumata arising from the inability to reconcile their dream-image and the harsh reality of Paris. Paris as a fairy-tale city, as the city of love, a city of charming Frenchmen. A kind of negative cultural shock. Dream/Simulation/Image/Wish meets Reality/the Real World.

Shot in residential areas in Guangzhou (China); where both the environment and the two protagonists seem lost and stuck; lost in context and in time, placed in a world of some past, another utopia or a stage-set of a movie. A reality that becomes an image, frozen; no past, present or future.

Paris Syndrome, is the title of a group of works produced since 2007; which also includes, amongst others, a café and a hotel “Paris Syndrome”at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig.

Jun Yang is an artist based in Vienna (Austria), Yokohama (Japan) and Taipei (Taiwan). Yang’s pieces utilize various media including film, installation, performance and projects in the public space, and address different institutions, societies and audiences. Having grown up and lived in various cultural contexts Yang examines the influence of clichés and media images on identity in his work.

Jesper Just (DK) #

"Llano" (2012). Video installation, 7:17 min. Courtesy: James Cohan Gallery, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, and Galleri Nicolai Wallner

“Llano” is set in the ghost town of Llano del Rio, founded in 1913 by the socialist Job Harriman. The failure of irrigation and water supply finally caused the project, and the town, to be abandoned, nearly a century ago. We observe this desert and the vestiges of this utopian city in the sheeting rain. Soon, the camera shows us a set of pipes set up above the ruins. It is one of those contraptions typically used to create artificial rain on film sets. At the centre of all this, a woman struggles to prevent the collapse. Like Sisyphus pushing his rock, she replaces the bricks and stones falling from the already disintegrated structure. Several times, throughout the film the camera takes us to a dark and gloomy engine room that seems indefinably connected to the ruin. According to Just, “Llano is a ruin of a place that is no longer, but also a place that really never happened. Here, we have a double meaning—a strange mix of utopia and dystopia, filled with failure as well as potent ideals.”

Jesper Just (1974) is a Danish artist working exclusively in film. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (1997-2003), currently lives and works in New York. He uses Hollywood conventions as a backdrop to create moody, atmospheric films with often ambiguous, unresolved storylines and characters stepping out of their expected roles. Jesper Just represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale in 2013.

Laura Ķeniņš (LV) #

"Utopian Metro" (2014). Installation

The Utopian Metro is a metro system for a better, happier, more harmonious and efficient Riga. The original Riga metro was planned in the 1970s and 80s, with the first stage to be opened in the 1990s and the construction of three lines to be completed by 2021. Metros in the Soviet Union symbolized a utopian vision of the future and the potential of the country. The Utopian Metro takes as its premise the idea that construction of the metro has been taking place in secret since the 1980s, and will soon be open to passengers. The utopian idea of the metro has been updated for contemporary times: instead of workers from other Soviet countries, the metro will receive European Union funding and help to increase Latvia’s shrinking population by bringing in immigrant workers from the EU’s less fortunate countries, as well as attracting Latvians working abroad to return home. To speed up the construction and to bring in traditional Latvian values, metro talkas will be held for voluntary and collective work in building the metro.

Laura Ķeniņš is a Latvian-Canadian artist and arts writer, born in Toronto, Canada, but now living and working in Riga. She studied printmaking and photography at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax, Canada. She works in comics, drawing, printmaking, installation and other media.

Alicja Karska & Aleksandra Went (PL) #

"Spatial Planning and Organisation" (2002). Video, 09:01 min

The action in this film takes place in the half-constructed shell of an unfinished building, once planned to have been a hotel. This technologically obsolete skeleton, made from prefabricated concrete and steel elements and reminiscent of the remains of modern socialist construction chic, is a structure that determines the behavior of a group of girls dressed as chambermaids. They run up and down the stairs, rushing to and from non-existent rooms, making beds and lying down to sleep. They continue their activities even when a group of workers appear on the scene to dismantle the building. The shots of the dismantling overlap with the sequences showing the young women continuing to repeat their activities, as if in a hypnotic trance.

Alicja Karska and Aleksandra Went create installations, photographic series, artists’ books, videos, films, and public art projects. Many of their works address the issue of memory and the reclaiming for culture of the forgotten and the ignored. Karska and Went document zones of contemporary visuality that are gradually disappearing, cultural phenomena from the fringes of urban spaces and the peripheries of today’s imagination. They construct their dialogue with the past in a manner different from the dominant historical narratives, often exploiting images of latent or disregarded memory.

Grzegorz Klaman (PL) #

Untitled (2010). Lightboxes, 50 x 170 x 6 cm

Futuristic, apocalyptic and exotic visions of the territory of the former shipyards in Gdansk. Through this othering the shipyards are transferred to another and perhaps better reality. Dreams combine with the very real mechanics and strategies of the global economy, which turn those dreams into rubble, destroying the environment, workplaces and social ties.

Grzegorz Klaman (1959) is a critical artist, art teacher and leader of the independent art movement in Gdansk. He pioneered context-related activities, public art, and activism in Poland by establishing independent structures for the production and presentation of contemporary art. Klaman’s work reveals his experience with actions in public spaces and his theoretical interest in the now and in the future. This interest specifically revolves around problems to do with authority, technology, medicine and the human body as an object of manipulation.

Linda Konone (LV) #

"Inhabiting Places and Spaces" (2014). Video installation

The man-made urban environment limits human movement, travel and communication in public spaces. Transferring human activity from its common environment to the uncommon raises questions: how much, and in what manner, are we aware of the things we do, how frequently do they become automatic actions?

The work leads on a journey towards oneself.

Linda Konone works with image and sound in various media. She investigates time, movement and space.

Maider Lopez (ES) #

"Making Ways" (2013). Video installation, 23:44 and 2:15 min

For her work Making Ways (Istanbul Biennial 2013) Lopez filmed the traffic at Karaköy (Istanbul) recording pedestrian movement at this busy junction, to produce a video work and a manual of behaviour for passers-by based on the typification of the routes. She explores how such a space of movement, in which thousands of people converge on a daily basis, can operate through coexisting, understanding and making new routes out of the predetermined rules (self organized pedestrians generate a collective way dealing with obstacles and spatial contradictions), and how people flow on the routes determined by pedestrians as an alternative to the thoroughfare’s regulations.

(Övül Durmuşoğlu / Fragment from text originally published in the 13th Istanbul Biennial Guide (Istanbul: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), 2013)

Maider López was born in 1975 in San Sebastian, Spain where she lives and works. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at University of the Basque Country, Bilbao (1998) and received an MFA from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1999). Lopez enjoys creating interventions in spaces, situations and architecture. Her works often involve the active participation of the viewer, and can take the unprepared by surprise, as an aspect of a familiar space is mischievously highlighted or altered. She has exhibited extensively throughout Europe and aboard, including, at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005).

Katarina Lundgren (SE) #

"Artificial Heights" (2013). Installation

The project “Artificial Heights” looks at artificially constructed elevations in Stockholm. These elevated areas – rubbish tips and hills which are located both in the center of the city as well as in suburbs – are a prime example of city planning between 1950-1980. They provide an alternative way of viewing the growth and development of the city. Today these territories exist on the border between nature and culture – you can find both overgrown parks, well kept Frisbee golf courses as well as future ski slopes among them.

The initial idea to transform rubble left over from digging shafts or from explosions came from the municipal gardener Holger Blom. His goal was to transform these peaks into sculptures rather than into naturalistic components of the local topography. Blom also considered these artificial constructions as perfectly suited for recreation and ski slopes. In Blom’s eyes these peaks were not architectural objects or parks but stand-alone, personal pieces of art.

In the context of the Utopian city, these peaks’ conceptual nature is highlighted. The story of the artificial hills and Holger Blom’s dreams of and plans for an expansion of the city’s green spaces is examined in a new light – not from a historic perspective, but rather as a potential model for future development.

Katarina Lundgren (1978) based in Stockholm. "My work revolves around storytelling and myth-making, often with its starting point in some sort of contemporary phenomenon, be it an issue or an occurrence, something unexplored or taken for granted. My method is research-based and I work with various mediums such as text, video and photography."

Mariam Natroshvili, Detu Jintcharadze (GE) #

"Lazika - ghost city" (2014). Video, photographs


“An intent to construct a new large settlement, with the potential to make the city into the country's second largest—after the capital Tbilisi—and a major economic center of western Georgia, was unveiled by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on December 4, 2011. The name "Lazika" is a reference to the Greco-Roman designation of this region, a part of ancient Colchis.

Critics have pointed out to the potential harm to the flora and fauna of the Kolkheti National Park, which lies adjacent to the area.

On September 24, 2012, President Saakashvili inaugurated the first building, that of the city's administration, in Lazika and unveiled several other projects.

The incoming Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said, after his coalition's victory in the October 1, 2012 legislative election, that construction of Lazika was not feasible.”

Mariam Natroshvili, Detu Jintcharadze: "On the streets, bridges and blank walls. In strange cities, forgotten stations, absurd buildings, ghost bathhouses, white cubes, abandoned shooting ranges, non-existing factories. Anywhere: art for us is a game. Forbidden, magic and ephemeral game to change everything.

Most of our concepts are connected to architecture, and the history and biography of the places we use for our works. Researching the past of the urban locations and adding new contexts and concepts to them using different mediums. Mostly working in abandoned spaces, with our projects we try to find new meanings and definitions for those ghost–areas.

Mostly we focus on abandoned spaces, on a mythology and archeology of forgotten people, places and things."

Katrīna Neiburga, Andris Eglītis (LV) #

Untitled (2014). Installation (in collaboration with Andris Indāns; asistant - Jānis Jasinskis)  

“-Yeah, so I had this idea to build a house out of refrigerators, but haven’t pulled myself together to do it yet. – How? – Old fridges don’t cost anything, right, but they’re great for insulation. Well, so all that’s left is to take a few fridges and stick them together. Maybe even just with macroflex. There. Ideal! Just put them together like lego. Parts can be created with the doors or the shelves inside to create, like, cupboards. Oh, and in general it would just look like deliberate design. Everything covered in fridge doors. Others can be stuck together with the backs toward the inside so they become like heaters. Because there are, like, two different kinds of heat pumps, those that take heat from the earth, and those that take heat from the air. Well... fridges take heat from the air, the air that’s inside them, see? And what’s more, you can save a lot of money, because their electricity use is 1:5, though practically more like 1:3. The only problem is the height, so you’d have to sort them somehow. The idea could be to put higher ones on one side, and shorter ones on the other... but then the ceiling would be hard to make. Yeah, that would be the hard part…”

Katrīna Neiburga graduated from the department of Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia, and studied in Sweden and France. Neiburga creates installations, video and light projections, scenography, video for operas and theatre productions. Since 2000 she actively participates in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. Neiburga was the first recipient of the Purvītis Prize in 2009.

Andris Eglitis received an MA in painting and studied at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium. Eglitis has received nominations and won several awards, among them the Purvītis Prize in 2013.

Catalina Niculescu (RO) #

"Guest" (2008). Video, 4:16

In Guest the artist enters the frame and begins to climb the obstacles in front of her. She is prevented from a successful ascent by her own editing which refuses to allow what the viewer would assume to be the successful conclusion of the task.

Absurd, humorous and oddly poignant, Catalina Niculescu's work exists somewhere between performance and documentation. The artist's seemingly impulsive responses to the places she encounters are recorded (filmed) and edited to create enigmatic 'events' in three simultaneous media: film, video and photography. Catalina Niculescu was born in 1978 in Bucharest, Romania, and studied at the Academy of Art & Design in Offenbach, Germany and at the Slade, London.

Nir Evron (IL) #

"A Free Moment" (2011). Video, 4 min

My work is an investigation into the relationship between representations of the past and our understanding of current and future processes. At its heart lies the reciprocation of photography and history, time and technology, and the exchange between the documenter, the documented, and the viewer.
Mostly my work is aroused either by a site, a fact, a story, a document, or a specific biography of a person. Most often this starting point’s place in history is latent, forgotten, or erased. On the other hand, the work can also arise from a research into the specifics of a medium or a material characteristic such as grain, noise, duration, movement, or color. It is my ambition to synthesize those two independent wings, to create a hybrid of political concerns with media strategies.
I install the realised projects in such a way that the viewer encounters them physically, conveying my theoretical concerns. The viewer is encouraged to move around, get closer or further, look in front or behind, inside or outside the space of the images. I believe it is the viewer’s responsibility to engage with the presented work, to preform him/herself in relation to it.

I also aspire to reshape the viewer’s experience of time by manipulating the dramatic time through editing, creating a feeling of a constant ongoing present.
In comparison to other moving images (TV, cinema) my works attempt to activate the viewer, to emancipate them from the tyranny of media, and to offer another path through the image via art.

Kirils Panteļejevs (LV) #

"Bismuth" (2014). Installation

The development of civilisation is based on the search for the ideal structure. The structuring and specialisation of living space, information, process are the main characteristics of progress.

Just like a solid substance acquires inexplicably logical, geometrically and constructively perfect structures in the process of its formation, very similar phenomena take place in the environment as a result of human activity.

Bismuth is a rare metal. Its specific characteristics also determine its applications. We rarely hear about it in everyday life. It is mostly used in small quantities in the electronics and pharmaceutical industry. Bismuth, crystallising outward from the solid part, creates a characteristic, systematised formation, influenced by the process of crystallisation. In the sculpture Bismuth I want to show the correlations between microstructures of substances and homogeneous processes, such as the forms created through urbanisation: in buildings, various megastructures and even the construction of entire cities.

Kirils Panteļejevs: "Observation, study, reflection are the things that help me reach the state of consciousness where ideas are born. The tiniest object can reveal analogies with processes of cosmic scale. At the same time, the investigation of the Universe can lead to a better understanding of the phenomena of our everyday life. In my works I invite the audience to see the significant in the “insignificant”, to discover those hidden links that bind seemingly chaotic and spontaneous processes in a unified system."

Grupa Predmetiv (UA) #

"Island" (2013). Mixed-media installation

A fictitious architect, a convinced modernist, once the skilled head of one of the units of a design institute who, after years of inactivity, is working on building a private villa on Trukhaniv Island, a green recreational area in the centre of Kiev. The context: it is a neglected, disordered scrap of land that is waiting for somebody who can afford to turn it into a gem.

This is a real utopia which is possible in the here and now. The restless, unenlightened general public is like a passer-by that looks into a hospital window and gives advice to the surgeon.

And your personal opinion is an error which does not affect the result. A trifle, easily disregarded, in order to make this fragile utopia come true in our harsh, chaotic world.

Ivan Melnychuk and Oleksandr Burlaka were both born 1982 in Kiev, Ukraine, where they currently live and work. They are both architects and members of the group Grupa Predmetiv who specialize in documenting and studying urban transformations.

Their practice is a critical reflection on how the architectural heritage and the urban context of the post-Soviet space are transformed in, and sometimes erased from, our collective memory. Melnychuk and Burlaka question and study the role, ideology and responsibility of architects today.

Artūrs Punte (LV) #

"Interior Poetry" (2014). Installations

The project “Interior Poetry” consists of a series of objects to which the artist has added new pieces over the course of a year. All the installations of the cycle are unified by the presence, re-working and exposure of poetry. The electronic and electro-mechanic objects are shaped like monstrous household machines which present the author’s texts depending on the particular medium (via projections, mixing audio recordings, transferring text onto a screen according to a pre-programmed pattern etc.)

Punte is interested in overcoming the automation of language by abandoning standard syntax, exemplified by the emphasis on text in his work. This creates clouds of meaning from his poetry; a database of phrases; a random connection of individual words.

The artist’s work with machines aims to generate controlled coincidences.

Artūrs Punte is a poet and media artist, one of the founders of Orbita (1999), author of many books of poetry, an editor and a publisher. He has participated in many exhibitions in Latvia and abroad, both individually and as a member of Orbita. Some of Punte’s most recent exhibitions include "Draudzības (re)konstrukcija" at the KGB Building (2014), the Cēsis Arts Festival (2014), the Tallinn Graphics Biennale at the KUMU Museum of Modern Art (2014), the New Theatre Festival "Läti kama" (2012), the International Poetry Festival "Slowwwo" in Kaliningrad (2012), the exhibition "texts=attēls" at the Contemporary Arts Centre "kim?" (2012), the "SlovoNova" Poetry Festival in Perm (2013). Punte was also the curator of the project “Riga Poetry Map.”

Vladimirs Jakušonoks, Vilnis Putrāms (LV) #

"Peace , Work , Happiness" (2014). Installation

In the 1960s the sculptor Leonids Kristovskis created a piece on commission for the Daugavpils Fibreglass Factory’s cultural centre, which consisted of an approximately 16 meter long and almost 3 meter high relief. The relief was created in the idiom of socialist realism, using the specific historical and ideological symbols characteristic of the time in order to present an image of the ideal society. The piece was never installed as it transpired that due to miscommunication between the architect and the artist, its size would have blocked the entrance to the auditorium.

This installation reconstructs the situation, reflecting on the quintessence of the ideological and utopian ideas of the socialist regime in the present context, i.e. in an abandoned industrial building.

Elizabete Šatrovska, Tālis Beņķis and Andžella Kristovska assisted in the execution of the project.

Vilnis Putrāms lives in Latvia and Germany. Participates in exhibitions since 1986, member of the LPSR-Z group of artists until 1994. Has collaborated with the Bolderāja Group for a number of years. More recently he has turned to artistic activities outside the art galleries with the goal of addressing random, unprepared viewers in an environment that is unusual for them, aiming to provoke, encouraging collaboration and a change of viewpoint towards usual things and situations.

Vladimirs Jakušonoks has been the director of the Bolderāja Group since 1996, creating various actions in the urban space.

Mārtiņš Roķis (LV) #

EARZOOM (2014). Installation

As a result of technological advances, reproduction of sound is no longer reliant on the presence of a physical object, thus creating a dislocation between that which we see and that which we hear. In the middle of the 20th century, French composer and theoretician Pierre Schaeffer formulated the model of acousmatic listening, reducing the hearing experience to sound detached from its originating causes.

The installation is an attempt to invert this model by creating a utopian environment where the connection between objects and sound is obvious, but this transparency hardly explains their complex relationship, leaving room for schizophonic speculations on the sound's origin and connection to the visible.

At the forefront of Mārtiņš Roķis' interests are the limits of human perception, the relationships between body and space. The author studied philosophy in the Faculty of History and Philosophy at the University of Latvia and individually mastered audiovisual programming. Since the late 1990s, he has been experimenting with electronic music, working with sound in various contexts and forms, participating in concerts of experimental music, creating installations and compositions for multi-channel systems.

Augustas Serapinas (LT) #

"I Heard There Was A Concert Here Not Long Ago" (2014). Audio installation

Every city is different. Once I met a friend in Vilnius. We were walking and talking until we found ourselves by the river. I had a pair of rubber boots in my bag which I offered to him. We went down to the bank and took a few steps into the water. He and I headed towards a big concrete drain for rainwater. We stepped into the pipe and walked about ten meters until we entered a larger space where we could stand at full height. There was a hammock. I invited him to lie down. We didn't talk anymore. We started to observe. The end of the drain formed a circular hole with a view to the river. There was a spring directly under the hammock. The sound of the water mixed with the sound of the river. This created a strange atmosphere because the view didn't match what we expected to hear. The spring flowed toward the river. Our eyes and ears began to adjust to the space. We started to see concrete walls and hear fragments of conversations from people passing by outside. We sat inside for a while and then continued our walk. Next time I will meet my friend in Riga. We will take a walk. We will walk and think about the location of the festival and the situation surrounding it.

Augustas Serapinas: "How can hidden activities and places be represented without revealing them? Hiding by revealing, and vice versa, is an everyday occurance. The paradox is that concealment, like a secret, always needs to be shared in order to remain hidden."

Alnis Stakle (LV) #

"Shangri-La" (2014). Archival pigment ink prints on rag paper. Sizes variable

Shangri-La is an imaginary place in China, described as a mystical and utopian valley shielded from the world by a chain of mountains – a true paradise on Earth.

At present, China is among the world’s fastest growing economies. In contemporary China, the enormous cities populated by millions have become a kind of promised land for hordes of fortune seekers from rural areas.

This series focuses on China’s hotbeds of the most intensive economic activity, exploring contemporary cityscape transformations in Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Particular attention is paid to neighbourhoods that have been semi-cleared of old buildings, in preparation for the construction of new skyscraper districts. At night, it becomes apparent that the urban planning of new areas, re-housing of residents, demolition and construction are all being carried out on an apocalyptic scale, often while the partly demolished buildings continue to be inhabited.

Alnis Stakle (1975) lives and works in Latvia. He has been participating in exhibitions since 1998.

“I have always been interested in the relationship of visual identity to social constructions and collective myths. My travel routes in the urban environment are based on the search for the seemingly significant and insignificant places in the city, turning to those which, in their essence, are unstable and characterise both erosion and development of the environment simultaneously.”

Łukasz Surowiec (PL) #

"Happy New Year" (2011). Video installation, 16:42 min

My work is a reflection on illegal existence which is not only associated with an optional alternative but a no-win situation of persons excluded from the system and society.

“Happy New Year” is a series of artistic interventions that focus on the realization of dreams of the homeless from Katowice. This project is open-ended. This is a kind of manifest, which consists of cyclical building or rebuilding of a house in which the protagonists of the project live.

“Happy New Year” is a project about a particular group of homeless people and their illegal existence. It is a story about this community with its own system of values, rights and responsibilities, which is trying to survive in the capitalist jungle. This is a study of loneliness that brings with it irreversible effects on human existence. It is a story of helplessness, and the dream about some day finding a permanent roof over one's head, or a piece of land from which one cannot be thrown off.

Łukasz Surowiec (1985) is an interdisciplinary artist – sculptor, performer and video artist – who creates installations in public space. In his artistic search, he often looks at the functioning of socially marginalized groups (video series "Happy New Year"), and also designs social – artistic solutions. Surowiec is an artist who employs art as a kind of research tool on the world at large – allowing for its better use.

Jānis Taurens, Reinis Dzudzilo (LV) #

"Utopia's Dream" (2014)

Audio installation. Texts in Old Greek, English Latvian and German. Sources:

1. Aristotle. Politics. II, 1267b20–1268a14. Plato. Critias. 108e–109a; 113b–113e; 115c–116c.

2. Ernest Dowson. Dum Nos Fata Sinunt, Oculos Satiemus Amore [excerpt]. Francis Bacon. New Atlantis [excerpts]. Edward Lear's limericks [from 1846 and 1872 books of nonsense]. Herbert Wells. A Modern Utopia [beginning of 1st paragraph of Chapter the First].

3. Anna Lācis. No piezīmju burtnīcas // Anna Lācis. Rīga: Liesma, 1973, 203. un 221. lpp. Анна Лацис. Красная гвоздика. Воспоминания. Рига: Лиесма, 1984, с. 83, 85, 85–86, 93 [translated by Jānis Taurens]. Asja Lacis. Revolutinär im Beruf. Berichte über proletrisches Theater, über Meyerhold, Brecht, Benjamin und Piskator / Hrsg. von Hildegard Brenner. München: Rogner & Bernhard, 1971, S. 46–48 [translated by Jānis Taurens]. Linards Laicens' poem Ho-Taī from the collection dedicated to Asja Ho-Taī. Rīga: Liesma, 1968, 27.–28. lpp.

4. Walter Benjamin. Das Passagen Werk [N1,1; N1a,8; K2,3; K 1,3; K1,4; K1a4; K2,5; K2a4; P°,4 – GS, V]. Franz Kafka [GS, II, S. 432–432]. Franz Kafka: Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer [GS, II, S. 678]. Dream Kitsch [GS, II, S. 620, 622]. Children’s poem from Berliner Kindheit um 1900 (Das bucklichte Männlein) [GS, IV, S. 303]. GS = Gesammelte Schriften / Herausg. von Rolf Tiedemann and Herman Schweppenhäuser. Suhrkamp, 1991.

Imagine an invisible city called Asja. A woman, to whom both a world-famous philosopher and a local poet have dedicated their works. “Naples” (Neapel) was co-written with Walter Benjamin in autumn 1924. Anna Lācis is perhaps Latvia’s only connection to world philosophy – the rest is merely provincialism.

Imagine a room with the low ceiling, characteristic of Kafka's works, you are surrounded by the hum of voices in various languages, Le bruissement de la langue – a utopia of language. Any coincidence with the idea of Roland Barthes is accidental yet incisive.

Hippodamus creates a regular plan of Piraeus and ponders on the ideal city, while Plato describes the mythic Atlantis, initiating the visions of ideal cities, so popular during the Renaissance. England is an island facing the continent, and New Atlantis is on an island, while Herbert Wells speaks of “ships of state”.

No anti-utopia – merely dream and kitsch. 74 years since Benjamin’s death, yet his take on history and future (and Kafka, and surrealism, and Asja) is just as incomprehensible as Ancient Greek. The hum of language…, while somewhere in the background there is meaning.

Gratitude: Ilze Rūmniece, Līva Pētersone, Māra Ķimele, Janin Walter.

Reinis Dzudzilo. Stage designer. Born in 1987. Worldly wife – Krista Dzudzilo.

Jānis Taurens. Lives with his wife and daughter, reads books. Writes and reads lectures on philosophy, aesthetics, contemporary art and architecture.

Timo Toots (EE) #

"Soodevahe" (2012). mixed media installation. Exhibition was made together with Marika Agu, Kaarel Narro, Pent Talvet, Tanel Külaots, Risto Roosaar, Rainer Sirkel, Hanna Tiidus, Erki Männiste, Risto Kalmre, Neeme Külm, Jaanus Kalde, Anastasiia Shevchenko. Courtesy of Art Museum of Estonia.

This project will focus on one of Tallinn’s most unique regions, Soodevahe Village, which has evolved at the discretion of its creators as an illegal seasonal shanty town and agricultural area next to the airport. The region was to be ‘mapped’ in summer 2011 both for the residents of other city districts and for the ‘locals’ of Soodevahe, regarding it as a real city district that has its own infrastructure and logic of functioning.

Timo Toots. Freelance artist. Living and working: Winter season in Tartu, Estonia. Summer season in Maajaam in Southern Estonia.

Topp & Dubio (NL) #

"Prepare a Square" (2013/2014). Installation / video, 7:58 min

The 'Prepare a Square' installation studies the potential of central spaces in contemporary cities. Within the complicated structure of urban space, the central square often functions as a void for groundbreaking and challenging opinions of critical citizens. Although many powerful regimes think squares should be dominated by national monuments, citizens prefer to use them as a meeting place where like-minded people can communicate about change. Thus, the square itself obtains a monumental status.

Our installation is a visualisation of the square as an unfinished and ever-changing monument. The work explores the relationship between form, function and meaning within the framework of urban development and growth in a physical and spiritual sense. Its surface functions as a blackboard for different meanings and is populated by abstract drawings, temporary miniature structures and props made out of a variety of materials.

Part of the installation will be the projection of the video 'Prepare a Square' in which Topp & Dubio clean a perfect square on the dirty floor of an empty abandoned factory space. 

Topp & Dubio is a multidisciplinary artist duo who live and work in The Hague, The Netherlands. They study and scrutinize reality from a conceptual starting point, often arising from sudden moments of curiosity and a desire to explore parallel worlds. Their projects flawlessly deal with fact and fiction, the concept of art and daily life, the personal and the public, observation and participation, authenticity, history and documentation, the romance of imagination and the absurdity of reality.

Iliana Veinberga, Ainars Kamoliņš, Sanita Grīna, Vilnis Vējš, Alise Landsberga, Paulis Liepa (LV) #

"Noir Rīga" (2014). Book (Ainars Kamoliņš, Sanita Grīna, Paulis Liepa, Alise Landsberga), installation (Iliana Veinberga, Vilnis Vējš), research

Waking up late, being tired, drifting through neighbourhoods not mentioned in tourist guides, accidentally encountering people and overhearing strangers’ conversations. Vizualise long extinct or hard-to-locate pubs filled with cigarette smoke which, although striving for chic, are only visited by the dregs of society. Imagine that an unintentionally encountered femme fatale may awaken passions and prompt a change in the current flow of life. Or getting stuck into an incident and become guilty without guilt. Being inside a whirl of such moods and events, the face of the city where they take place changes as well. Its shadowy side moves to the foreground. Typically, it is concealed from the superficial observer, even if he is looking for exoticism in the city, and a break from the daily routine. It is not the events themselves that are hidden to the casual observer. Anyone can easily see and experience them. It is more difficult to see these events in a particular space of imagination, where the city reveals itself in Noir illumination. Utopian city in this project is the noir city, Riga, offered up to the gaze of a chance visitor.

Iliana Veinberga and Ainārs Kamoliņš are interested in the unimportant and forgotten trivia of philosophy, literature, art and cultural history. One of the ways to make them significant is to recontextualize these stories using other media. Balancing between meaning and joke, the aim of Veinberga and Kamoliņš is to in-form these little stories so that they might perhaps reveal a previously hidden potentiality of thought and content.

Visible Solutions (EE) #

“Ligudik”, “Valuemeter” and “Artwork Consisting Only of its Value” (2013). Installation

The three independent pieces “Ligudik”, “Valuemeter” and “Artwork Consisting Only of its Value” are presented as parts of a larger installation. One important theme for us while creating this artwork was the transformation of the notion of value from a very physical form into an abstraction that does not have to follow the rules of the physical reality and the connections within such a system. Ligudik and Valuemeter are elements created specially as if to make the pure idea of an Artwork consisting only of it's value more credible. Also there is of course a hint of mockery towards the current economic system which in our opinion already contains quite a few of the same type of objects, agreements and ideas we are creating.

Visible Solutions is an art enterprise established in 2010 in Tallinn, Estonia, by three artists– Sigrid Viir (b.1979), Taaniel Raudsepp (b.1978) and Karel Koplimets (b.1986). The group's main interest is constituted by the mechanics of the world of economy and the world of art which they try to set against each other - economy as art, art as trade and production.

Bárbara Wagner, Benjamin de Búrca (BR, DE) #

"EDIFICE RECIFE" (2013). 22 framed triptychs (38 x 54 cm each), Inkjet on cotton paper

EDIFICE RECIFE  identifies class relations embodied in the architecture and urban planning in the city of Recife, in the Northeast of Brazil, presenting photographs and texts that overview a new aesthetic prescribed by a developing economy. In Recife, an ideal of modernity was materialised by law in 1961 making mandatory the placement of three-dimensional artworks at the front of residential edifices to be constructed over 1,000 square meters, for what only local artists should be commissioned. From the 60's to the 80's, the authorship of these works - mostly sculptures - was linked to recognised artists of a modernist tradition. Since the 90's, as private interest influences changes in this law for fast completion of real estate projects, building companies produce the artworks themselves. Usually positioned near to the security cabins of the condominiums, these pieces are subjected to continuous observation and conservation by the porters who guard these sites. In 2013, Wagner and de Búrca produced 66 photos of these sculptures and collected 66 accounts by the porters on the artworks they share their space with.

The artists investigate how inherited aesthetic judgements differ across social classes in developing economies. Their collaborative practice utilises the relationship between documentary and art, making use of familiar narrative forms in order to ask fundamental questions related to the actual social and political value of art, who it is made for and why. Through interviews, surveys and collection of accepted forms of visual cultural production, they bring to an equal level of presentation diverse and contradictory elements of reality in order to destabilise embedded hierarchies, evincing questions of taste, tradition, race, class, belonging and status not immediately visible. 

Janin Walter (DE) #

"Horror vacui" (2013). Video, 20 min

"Horror Vacui" is inspired by an interest in the atmosphere of derelict, empty spaces and abandoned buildings in Riga, and the further associations and narratives entwined around them. Deriving from the concept of horror vacui – the fear of emptiness (void) and therefore the urge to fill it – Janin Walter has developed a narrative video-collage, incorporating her experiences with these unoccupied spaces and the traces from the past found in them.

Janin Walter is a Berlin-based artist who deals with urban phenomena in her artworks. With her background of architecture, urban design and space strategies, she is able to focus on urban dynamics such as architectural characteristics, the appropriation of public space or market-driven urban situations in different countries. Currently she is teaching at the Technical Universityof Berlin, in the Department of Fine Art at the Institute for Architecture, and is also guest professor at the RISEBA in Riga.

Julita Wojcik (PL) #

"Falowiec / Wavy Block" (2005). Installation. Courtesy of Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw

The model for the crochet building was the longest block of flats in Poland built in early 1970s in Przymorze, a district of Gdańsk. […] The architecture of glass, steel and concrete, maximally simple and functional, was extremely dehumanized in its communist version. The unified segments, staircases, and unpractical flats of this and many other such buildings had no room for individualism. […] The crochet Wavy Block is an attempt to try oneself against the gigantic form building, to show it in a ‘human’ scale and in a material demystifying power and strength. But it is also a struggle with the scale of the other, nonstandard matter, and with utmost concentration without which the tiny staircases, windows, and balconies would be lost. The technique used by Julita Wójcik introduces her works into the domain of deliberations about the everyday. By giving banal activities an aesthetic dimension, the artist perversely adds value to the sphere of mundane doings.

(Excerpts of the catalogue Energy Class B / text (Self)Observations of the ‘B’ Territories by Izabela Kopania)

Julita Wójcik (1971) – performance and video artist. Through happenings and artistic interventions, she points out conflicting aspects of social life in a swiftly-changing world. Her aim is not just to undermine certain rules and regulations that govern society, but to create new ways of looking at the stagnant customs of outdated cultural codes. She tests the boundaries of freedom and social access, wafting in a breeze of democracy into the art world, inviting the public into her circle, engaging them in various activities and breaking down the barrier between artist and spectator.

Aleksandrs Zapoļs, Līva Rutmane (LV) #

"Map of Riga's Corners" (2014). Digital print, 150 x 93 cm

1) Suppose, the place, the city, where you live becomes your home. Meanwhile, the routes at home are determined by its contents. Walk around the table, pass the wardrobe, get a knock on the bed corner. The body remembers these corners: wardrobe corners, table corners, bed corners. Their impressions on skin are the body's memory, bruises are the map of your home transferred to the body. A journey through your home – stops, turns, stops, turns. A journey – a stop, a stop on the corner.

2) Will the corners be named? In its communicative function the language strives for the economy of resources. The poetic language, meanwhile, leans towards abundance. At the crossroads of these two tendencies the corners acquire names. Is it not easier naming the “corner of Nebuchadnezzar and Sardanapalus” somehow shorter, in one word? Purest economy. Admittedly, many entirely new words are created, and this abundance is good for language in its poetic aspirations. The project of naming the corners is being prepared for submission to the Riga City Council.

Alekdsandrs Zapoļs is a Russian poet and translator. Born in 1970 in Riga he studied Russian language and literature at Tartu University, Estonia and at the University of Latvia. An active member of the multimedia text-group “Orbita,” he translates Latvian poetry into Russian. Since 1998, using the pseudonym Semjons Haņins, he has had his work published in various literary journals and almanacs in Latvia and abroad.

Born in 1984, Līva Rutmane acquired a Master’s degree from the Department of Graphic Art of the Latvian Academy of Art and has participated in exhibitions since 2002. In 2013, together with Aleksandrs Zapoļs, she curated the exhibition “Peldus” at the Istaba Gallery in 2013.

Amanda Ziemele, Margrieta Dreiblate (LV) #

"Ķemeri Sanatorium Park" (2014). Installation

A map always has several possible entrances and exits, as it is an open construction that offers choices on where to go, how to proceed. It introduces the biography of the Ķemeri Sanatorium and its surroundings, and reveals the multifaceted reality as a spatial narrative. An existing place, transplanted into a model undergoes changes. Creating new situations, removing the real and combining it with archival materials or imagination thus becomes possible.

The most impressive and popular building of the first Latvian republic, also known as “The White Ship” – Ķemeri hotel was built in 1936 after the project of Eižens Laube. As a result of unsuccessful privatisation, investor activity and other uncoordinated actions, the proud “White Ship” is falling apart and the park is overgrown. The sanatorium has not found its owner and no one comes to its auctions.

Believing it is possible to restart the processes of the sanatorium, the piece blends past and future, sentiment and imagination.

Amanda Ziemele strives to find and explore the relationships between abstract and real objects and processes. She tends to combine meanings and transform objects, using metaphor as a means of expression, thereby offering her own version of the possible visual image of these processes.

Margarieta Dreiblate: “My best solo exhibition, - “Main Stories In Brief” in Madona. The most interesting group exhibition – “Unceasing” curated by Iliana Veinberga at kim? Contempoary Art Centre. The most enjoyable creative collaboration has been with the members of “Dirty Deal Audio”, and the greatest satisfaction has come from designing the setting for the annual experimental music seminars “Brīnumu nakts” in Madona.