Open Call 2015 #

2015-02-16 11:11

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) invites artists to submit ideas for the “Survival K(n)it 7” International Contemporary Arts Festival which will take place in September 2015! The Festival of 2015 will be developed as a series of exhibitions and events, which will be organized by several international and local art institutions. The artists are invited to submit proposals (until 1st March, 2015) here:

The name of the festival “Survival k(n)it 7” this year will appear as a kind of knitting, which maps not only the collaboration network of art organizations, but also invites to find the hidden potential in the repetition of ordinary, everyday things, that can provoke the gene of resistance, and cause breakdown of contingencies followed by surprising chain of coincidences that often interweaves  both the private and the public sphere. 

Archipelago of exhibitions and events produced by several international and local  institutions of art and culture will invite to think about the role of the small initiatives in the framework of the local and global art system, to reflect about their methods of surviving and the necessity to collaborate, to network and develop common strategies while looking for new and innovative solutions.

The collaboration between the artists, culture managers and the local initiatives, social groups,  activists and other professionals who promote cultural interaction with the larger public and other fields of activities as well as show ability for quick responses to the changes in modern society, will be in main focus.

Thematical framework of the exhibition built by LCCA will be marked by the mapping of “small things” and contemplating about common activities of everyday life, thus trying to find the causality between seemingly unimportant ordinary activities and big narratives or global conflicts.

In reference to “butterfly effect” we can notice a chain of those small things and coincidences that has changed not only our daily routine but also the fate of peoples, states and continents. We suggest to look at daily fabric and “choreography” of the little things, that can have impact on the global processes, and think about our individual responsibility and cooperation with each other.

French philosopher Michel de Serto when analyzing daily routines calls it “the art of doing” and states that such mundane activities as walking, reading, housekeeping and cooking imply in themselves powerful potential of resistance towards different repressive systems of modern society.  In this regard he points out substantial difference between strategy and tactics. Namely, strategies, that envolve long term plans and objectives, are often used by power structures such as state or municipal institutions that attempt to structure the world according to some hierarchical system of laws and rules. Tactics, which normally solves some current situation, usually is used by the individual who employs the hidden defensive potential of the mantra of repeated routinal activities both in physical and psychological sense.

Knitting in this context obtains symbolic meaning. The process in which several threads are being interlaced can be linked to various DIY practices that deal with creative use of second hand materials, recycling, as well as building new social networks and involvement of different groups of society.

Within the framework of exhibition we will try to follow several threads of the „little things”, we will record and revive the choreography of the daily activities, we will look behind the curtains of their history and research their impact on social and political processes, we will also seek to identify some strategies and tactics for the future.  


Urban Utopia: Art and Culture as a Tool for Exploring and Researching a City #

2014-09-09 23:14

“May abandoned spaces, deserted urban landscapes and the wastelands of our society stimulate and transcend our behavior and imagination?”

To embrace the diversity of cities and question the urban development of our society, the two day’s symposium will take the form of an open and interactive communication between audience, participating artists and lecturers. 11 lecturers representing philosophy, arts, social designing, architecture, planning, art history and urban activism, will share their experiences and knowledge to illustrate how society can benefit from urban utopia.

The symposium of the contemporary art festival aims to question possible changes of urban society. Since the great failure of recent modern utopia we have seen the emergence of alternative and creative activities. Urban utopia needs unoccupied interspaces and niche. These spaces often remain unknown, hosting minor ideas or ideologies, are judged insignificant and are seldom seriously taken in consideration. But utopia promotes creativity, fostering societies’ change management:

“In which way can an artistic and independent institution manage to resist in critical situations such as dictatorship or revolution?”

“Is it possible that heterotopia plays a significant role in contemporary urban societies?”

“Can heterotopia be a tool to revive public spaces?”

The symposium seeks to elaborate these examples and unfold those stories allowing us on the one hand to question theories of modern utopia and on the other hand sketching realistic scenarios for our cities.

More information about the program

Open Call: workshop by the TOK curators #

2014-08-15 15:02

We are pleased to invite curators, artists, culture managers and activists to apply for the workshop „Art in public spaces: theory and practice”. The workshop is part of the „SURVIVAL KIT 6” Contemporary Art Festival. It will be held by Creative Association of Curators TOK and will take place in Brasalona (Gaujas iela 5, Riga), on September 5 from 11 pm untill 14 pm.

The workshop will consist of two 1,5 hour sessions with both of them being focused on discussing various projects in the field of public art and art initiatives in public spaces. During the first session, TOK curators will speak about a few international projects (including those carried out by TOK) that have been conducted by acclaimed curators, artists and art institutions in different countries and have dealt with such important issues as addressing and engaging specific communities, building up and forming collective memory, revitalization of neglected urban zones. Using these initiatives as successful examples the curators will speak about what art in public spaces represents today and how it has changed over the last few decades. 

The second part of the workshop, which will be conducted in the format of curatorial critique session, will be aimed at closer work with the workshop participants and will give them an opportunity to present their work in progress or future projects for public spaces and discuss it with the TOK curators and the working group. Each participant will be given five minutes for a project presentation, after which the curators and participants will speak about its potential and possible ways of development. 

TOK is a non-profit art organization founded by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits in 2010 as a platform for conducting interdisciplinary projects in the fields of contemporary art and design and social sciences. Today TOK is an interactive intellectual platform for collaborations of curators, artists, researchers, designers, sociologists, anthropologists and other professionals in the sphere of art and culture from Russia and other countries. The main goal of TOK is to elaborate and realize projects that are based on the research of cultural processes in contemporary society. One of the group's main principles is a combination of theory and practice and a cross-disciplinary approach.

Please send your application to untill August 25. Event will be held in English, participation is free of charge, but the number of participants is limited. The workshop is organised in collaboration with "Färgfabriken"

Ryoji Ikeda's performance 'datamatics [ver.2.0]' #

2014-08-14 14:40

Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda’s audio visual concert datamatics [ver.2.0] will be held at Splendid Palace Cinema on 7th September. The event, organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, is part of the Survival Kit 6 Festival and the Rīga 2014 programme. In his works, Ryoji Ikeda, one of Japan’s most famous electronic music authors, focuses not only on the most characteristic basic features of sound,  but uses light as a substance and mathematics as a method just as successfully. The datamatics project is a long-term one, and consists of a number of parts – moving image, sculptural elements, sound and new media technology. The visionarism of artist's works stimulates one’s imagination about a future model of the utopian city, and corresponds with this year’s “Survival Kit” Festival’s theme, the “Utopian city”.

Ryoji Ikeda was born in 1966 Gifu, Japan, and lives and works in Paris, France. He began his creative activity in the 1990s as a DJ and sound artist, and from 1994 has been involved in the Dumb Type multimedia art group. The author composes electronic music, is involved in visual art, and is considered to be one of the most powerful and internationally recognized artists, and has been successful in combining both of these media. In his works, he focuses on the basic principles of sound and visual structures, using mathematical precision and mathematical aesthetics. The artist’s performances are delicately constructed from a variety of elements of sound, visual materials, physical phenomena and mathematical activities.

The author often uses powerful sensual effects, which border on the edges of the range of human perception and work in an almost hypnotic way on the listeners’ senses. His music is made up of unusual frequencies, ultrasound, noises and the basic elements of sound. In experimenting with these, the artist attempts to find out about human perception and its connection with mathematics, time and space. Ryoji Ikeda is considered to be an ultra-minimalist, as he moves toward the reduction of visual and audial objects to an enhanced sensual experience. In parallel with his sound projects, he also creates installations, is involved in book art and music recordings, and, in collaboration with architects, has also created spatial structures. The author takes part in the most important contemporary art and music festivals, and is involved in large scale inter-disciplinary projects. This year Ryoji Ikeda was presented with the Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN 2014 award.

Tickets to Ryoji Ikeda’s concert are available on The price of tickets is currently 10 EUR, but the price will increase as the concert approaches.

This Rīga 2014 European Capital of Culture programme event has been created in collaboration with the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee. 


2014-07-28 12:52

This year, the Survival Kit 6 International Contemporary Art Festival will take place at two venues – at Vāgnera Hall in Vecrīga and at the former Boļševička Textile Factory at Ganību dambis 30 in Rīga. Art exhibitions will be opened, lectures, performances and creative workshops will take place and a programme of films will be shown at the festival from 4th to 27th September. More than seventy participants from twenty five countries will be taking part in the festival, with the theme for this year being, The Utopian City. The festival will be taking place as part of the European Capital of Culture programme and is being organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art.

Created in 2009, the Survival Kit art festival has been held at different venues each year and was first created as a reaction to the changes brought on by the economic crisis in Latvia. Each year, the festival’s strategy has been to highlight an area in Rīga where there are empty buildings, linking this with the city’s development and urban planning trends and problems, and providing alternative scenarios. The festival has previously been held in the territory of the Tabakas fabrika at Miera iela 58, Avotos – at Lāčplēša iela 60, in an empty school building at Ģertrūdes iela 32 and at other unused, empty buildings in Rīga.
Festival curator Solvita Krese has provided a comment on this year’s choice of venues: “The theme of the 2014 festival is The Utopian City - our utopia is a city in which culture is valued as a powerful instrument for improving the urban environment, being a city with its own contemporary art museum and concert hall. While a lot of great material is being created as part of the Rīga 2014 European Capital of Culture framework, an acute shortage of spaces can be felt within the city too, and is the reason why the empty buildings’ issue has become particularly important. What we need the most is a contemporary art museum and a concert hall. Rīga is one of the rare European capital cities which lack such institutions, and provides the reason why, this year, two different buildings have been purposefully selected for the festival event, highlighting this problem. The former Boļševička Textile Factory is a private territory. Around the world, since the end of the industrial age, these huge, post-industrial buildings have often been adapted for a different function – for culture. Currently, Boļševička too, is being considered as a possible site to set up a contemporary art museum. Vāgnera Hall is a historical building with old traditions, and is also currently empty and unused, because there aren’t the funds for its reconstruction and the restoration of its cultural function.”

The former Boļševička Textile Factory building was built in the early 20th century as the Bufalo Leather Shoe Factory – the coal for its furnace was brought by large boats along specially created canals and otter ponds. The building itself was built as a modern brick structure with large glass window panes. A textile factory was set up in the building during the Soviet era and it was later privatized and sold in the years following the renewal of the nation’s independence. A private bank, Rietumu banka, the current owner and manager of the building is gradually cleaning up the waste left over from the Soviet years which remains on the territory. During the Survival Kit festival, a large contemporary art exhibition will be opened in the former textile factory building, where the works of Katrīna Neiburga, Andris Eglītis, Kirils Panteļejevs, Reinis Hofmanis and others will be on show.

Vāgnera Hall is located at Riharda Vāgnera iela 4 – in a building designed by Baltic-German architect Kristofs Hāberlands. The Rīga City Theatre had its home here in the late 18th century, and the German composer and conductor Richard Wagner worked in the building in the 1830s. The State Chamber Orchestra Simfonietta Rīga worked at Vāgnera Hall a number of years ago, but the building, which is held by the Ministry of Culture, remains empty and unused, as the funds needed for its reconstruction haven’t been found. During the Survival Kit festival, contemporary art works will be displayed at Vāgnera Hall, and a variety of events will be held, among them – an international symposium, which will run for a number of days, dedicated to modern utopian concept theory and practice issues. Foreign lecturers and local experts will focus on a variety of areas which affect the urban environment and its planning – anthropology, sociology, art and architectural practices, philosophy and others.

Other events are also planned for the city environment throughout the festival –performances by artists, city excursions, lectures and readings. Survival Kit is the most noticeable and internationally best-known contemporary art festival in Latvia. Each year, the Festival attracts and involves up to 15,000 visitors. Last year, ninety artists from seventeen countries took part in the comprehensive exhibition and a wide range of events.


2014-06-09 10:49

For the sixth year now, the Survival Kit 6 International Contemporary Art Festival, organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, will be taking place in Rīga. This year it runs from 4th to the 27th September, as part of the Rīga 2014 European Capital of Culture programme. More than thirty foreign artists and more than twenty five Latvian artists will take part in the Festival, with the Utopian City, as this year’s theme. Among the participants there’ll be – Ukrainian artists group Predmetiv, Bert Theis from Italy, Nir Evron from Israel, Lithuanian author Augustas Serapinas, architect Andreas Angelidakis from Greece, Belgian artists Anouk De Clercq and Aglaia Konrad, Julita Wojcik from  Poland and others. The co-curator of the Festival is Aneta Szylak, Director of the Alternativa Art Festival in Poland.

The Survival Kit International Contemporary Art Festival came about in 2009, as a reaction to changes created by the economic crisis in Latvia. As part of the festival, artists are invited each year to solve some theme of importance to society through their work, gathering information about alternative scenarios for survival. In 2014, the festival’s theme will be Utopian City, inviting people to look at the city as a complex and unfinished structure, as a place, that doesn’t exist. What could be the best possible, or perhaps impossible, city model nowadays, where the spatial, political and social dimensions harmoniously supplement each other? Solvita Krese, curator of the Survival Kit 6 Festival comments on this year’s theme as follows: “Looking back at the history of utopian ideas, we end up in the relatively recent past. There we can find surprising modernist visions, the splendour and failure of the dominating ideology, and searches for alternative living spaces and awareness of places through the framework of various subcultures. But all of us today, most likely have our own vision of a utopian city – a city that doesn’t exist, but which we’d like to think up or inhabit. This takes us to heterotopia – a world which isn’t homogenous, but is saturated with existing differences side by side, an interspace, which is located somewhere external, parallel, behind the looking glass, which is simultaneously physical and mental, and which by its existence, makes utopia possible.”

An international symposium “Urban Utopia: Art and Culture as a Tool for Exploring and Researching a City” will also take place from 12th to 14th September, parallel to the wide ranging exhibition, where specially created or selected artists’ works will be exhibited. Foreign lecturers (Joseph Imorde, Otto Habeck, Jekaterina Lavrinec, Joanna Erbel and others), together with local experts will focus on a variety of areas which that the urban environment and its planning – anthropology, sociology, the practices of art and architecture, philosophy and others. The co-curator of the symposium is – Jonas Büchel, Director of Urban Institute Riga.

Japanese artist and Paris resident, Ryoji Ikeda’s audio visual concert, datamatics [ver.2.0], will also be taking place as part of the Survival Kit 6 Festival, on 7th September at Splendid Palace Cinema. Ikeda, one of the best known authors of Japanese electronic music, focuses on the characteristic basic features of sound in his works, although he also uses light as matter and mathematics as a method, just as successfully. The datamatics project is a longstanding one, consisting of a number of aspects – the moving image, sculptural elements, sound and new media technology. The visionary nature of his works stimulates the imagination about a future model for a utopian city.  

Various other events are also planned in the urban environment throughout the festival – artists’ performances, excursions in the city environment, lectures and readings. Survival Kit is the most noticeable and internationally best-known contemporary art festival in Latvia. Each year, the Festival attracts and involves up to 15,000 visitors. Last year, ninety artists from seventeen countries took part in the comprehensive exhibition and a wide range of events. 

OPEN CALL 2014 #

2014-01-13 12:47

In 2014 the theme of the festival is ‘The Utopian City’, which invites to view the city as a complex and incomplete structure, a place that does not exist. Which would be the best possible or perhaps impossible city model, where the spatial, political and social dimensions harmoniously complement each other? The artists are invited to submit proposals (until 24 February, 2014) here:

"Searching for answers, we focus on a city that exists as a container of meanings, as a space where norms and identities are formed, as a multicultural environment, as a ritualised place and at the same time no–place, junk space, which consists of supermarket plantations and decreasing public zones, ripped by city development trends of liberal economy.  

Looking for references in utopian visions by Plato and  Thomas More, as well as revisiting Campanella’s City of the Sun or architectural utopias by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and Étienne-Louis_Boullée, we find ourselves in relatively recent past, characterised by attempts to carry out modernist utopias, splendour and misery of Marxist  ideas, as well as awareness of alternative living space and place proposed by varied subcultures.

One likely imagines ones own vision of a utopian city thus leading us to heterotopia – a non-homogeneous world imbued with alongside existing otherness, an interspace that exists somewhere outside, in parallel, beyond the mirror, that is simultaneously physical and mental and that by its very existence makes utopia  possible.

Following M. Foucault’s call, we can build a society and city with many heterotopias existing simultaneously in harmony, not only as varied places affirming co-existence of different, but also as a means of helping to avoid authoritarianism. Philosopher compares heterotopia to a ship that is “…a floating piece of a space, a place without a place, that exists by itself….” He continues: “In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.”  We invite you to imagine a city on the board of which you would like to set out for a journey!"

Solvita Krese, curator of the festival


‘Survival Kit’ is an annual art festival that has run since 2009, when it began as a reaction to the global economic crisis which forced the public to find new strategies of survival and encouraged artists to discover fresh means of existence. Previously the festival has represented works by such artists as Oliver Ressler (Austria), Harun Farocki (Germany), The Yes Men (USA), Gabriel Lester (Netherlands) and other internationally well-known authors.

‘Survival Kit’ is curated by Solvita Krese, the director of the LCCA. In 2014 it is co-curated by Aneta Szylak, the director of Wyspa Institut of Art in Gdańsk, Poland. This year the festival is also a significant contribution to the programme of Riga as the European Capital of Culture. For the first time the festival will also take place in Umeå, Sweden.