Revisiting Footnotes book launch #

2015-09-17 15:15

Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to invite you to the launch of the book Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region on September 18 at 6 PM. It will take place within the framework of the Contemporary Art Festival Survival K(n)it 7 in the former building of the National Library of Latvia, Krišjāņa Barona Street 14.

The publication Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region aims to capture and analyse the persistent Soviet era traces or references in art, public space, architecture, society, the field of collective and individual memories. Similar to footnotes in a book, the translated references – various processes, events, artefacts, symbols, systems, mythologies and nostalgias – give a kaleidoscopic commentary, elaborate and bring closer narratives about the recent past.

Within the book launch lectures by the Estonian curator, researcher and writer Margaret Tali and Latvian sociologist Baiba Bela-Krūmiņa will take place followed by a discussion. Researchers will focus their presentations on several issues related to the representation and absence within the art structures and will give insights to the questions of memory and biography in the changing contexts, linking their research topics to the materials published in the book.

Margaret Tali is a writer, critic and teacher from Estonia, currently living in Amsterdam. She works in and with the cross-sections of visual art, cultural theory and philosophy. Her current research deals with the roles of testimonies in the context of Eastern European history, waves of migration and the transcultural memories of traumatic events.  In 2014 she defended her PhD thesis “Speaking Absence. Art Museums, Representation and Knowledge Creation” at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis in University of Amsterdam. She works as a lecturer and researcher at the Sandberg Institute, and at the Maastricht University. Together with Tanel Rander she is currently working on an edited book project "Archives and Disobedience" (forthcoming in fall 2015).

Baiba Bela-Krūmiņa is an Associate professor in Sociology and Social Anthropology in the University of Latvia. In her PhD thesis she has researched the life stories in the border region between Latvia and Lithuania, focusing on the reciprocity between people and the cultural and social context, stories and culture within the depictions of the everyday life. She has researched memory and identity in relation to belonging to place in different regions in Latvia, as well as to the migration and experience of refugees in the stories of Latvians who undertook a path to Sweden.

Editors and compilers of the publication Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region are Ieva Astahovska and Inga Lāce, graphic designer is Monika Grūzīte. The first part of the publication contains essays by Ieva Astahovska (LV), Ilya Budraitskis (RU), Viktorija Eksta (LV), Mārtiņš Kaprāns (LV), Inga Lāce (LV), Davor Mišković (HR), Magdalena Radomska (PL), Mykola Ridnyi (UA), Tanel Rander (EE), Slavs and Tatars (Eurasia), Tamta-Tamara Shavgulidze (GE), Margaret Tali (EE), Sophia Tabatadze (GE), Dovilė Tumpytė (LT) and Ieva Viese (LV).  There are visual materials and diagrams illustrating some of the essays using the mapping methods by Vytautas Michelkevičius (LT), Agnė Narušytė (LT) and Lina Michelkevičė (LT) and new media artists Maija Demitere (LV), Paula Vītola (LV), Krista Dintere (LV)and Rihards Vītols (LV).

The second part of the publication translates footnotes of the socialism and post-socialism through artworks exhibited in the project’s exhibitions Revisiting Footnotes in 2013 by the artists Arnis Balčus (LV), Aija Bley (LV), Marijan Crtalić (HR), Henrik Duncker (FI), Indrė Klimaitė (LT), Žilvinas Landzbergas (LT), Marge Monko (EE), Lada Nakonechna (UA), Kristina Norman (EE) and Slavs and Tatars (Eurasia).

The contributors of the publication belong to the generation that returns to the consciously forgotten socialist past, yet their interest is rather an attempt to investigate and understand the conditions of contemporary reality that are still tied with this heritage. They explore, interpret and translate this experience through both visual imprints and the interrelationships of their meanings, applying different approaches, such as documentary, reconstructive, anthropological, archival and others. They do not refrain from depicting the dramas that arose from the change of the political and economic systems, instead treating the past and the present as belonging to the same timeline, which also contains potential scenarios for the future.

The publication Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region was made possible due to generous support from the European Cultural Foundation, State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Latvian Ministry of Culture and Arctic Paper.

For more information or in case you are interested to getva copy, please write to:

Survival K(n)it 7 programme during the White Night #

2015-09-01 11:10


On September 5, during the contemporary culture forum White Night, contemporary art festival Survival K(n)it 7 will offer visitors various activities and events throughout the day. They will take place along with the contemporary art exhibition, in the former building of the National Library of Latvia on Krišjāņa Barona iela 14. The different concerts, performances and a workshop will focus on the creative potential of mutual collaboration, everyday things and activities.

From 12.00, along with the Survival K(n)it 7 exhibition, the event space on the ground floor will host The Stitch Project’s embroidery and conversation workshop. The workshop will provide the opportunity for members of various social groups to meet at one table, to learn and practice traditional embroidery skills, meanwhile getting acquainted with each other, conversing and exchanging knowledge. Iranian artist Dzamil Kamanger will participate in the conversation during the White Night. He is also giving an embroidery performance near the Cabinet of Ministers on the opening day of Survival K(n)it 7, while at 14.00 Hilde Haun will give a presentation on the Stitch Project.

From 19.00, visitors will have an opportunity to participate in the ironmurring perfomance by artist association Klīga (Inga Ģibiete, Līva Rutmane K. and Klāvs Upaciers). “Glubināšana” is a neologism formed from merging the Latvian words “gludināt” (to iron) and “bubināt” (to mur). The White Night programme will continue with audio-visual concerts – first, at 21.00, Estonian musician Erik Alalooga will perform Noose Intro. The performance will make use of self-made analogue devices and instruments, and, in the process of experimentation with their capabilities and sounds, Alalooga will attempt to create a musical and aural alternative to the digitised culture of today.

At 22.30, the concert will continue with the performance of the group Kunst oder Unfall, which is realised in collaboration with Poetry Days 2015. Referencing the work of Hardijs Lediņš and NSRD, music will be joined by elements of poetry, installation and video, creating an electro-acoustic poetry performance. The nucleus of the group is an artist couple from Germany – Kalle and Augusta Laar, who during the White Night will be joined by the poet and publicist Liāna Langa and musician Inguna Rubene, a former member of NSRD.

At 23.00, it will be followed by Déjà vu a game of projects by the members of the audio-visual performance studio at Centre for Creative Learning Annas 2, and the programme will conclude with video artist Linda Konone and DJ Bastard Gy’s performance Twins in the rhythms of synthpop and electronic music.

A look at the programme of the contemporary art festival “Survival K(n)it 7” #

2015-08-21 12:44

Iiu Susiraja, Broom, photography, 2010

Already in its seventh year, the international contemporary art festival “Survival K(n)it 7” takes place in Riga, from September 4 to 20 offering a broad programme of events. Knitting, embedded in the wordplay of the title of “Survival K(n)it 7”, marks the theme of this year’s festival – the often invisible creative potential contained in everyday actions and things. Highlighting such seemingly mundane activities as embroidery, walking, cooking or cleaning, we draw attention to the choreography of everyday things, perceiving them as a special experience, as well as the ordinary which allows the extraordinary to happen.

The central event of the festival is the contemporary art exhibition in the former building of the National Library of Latvia (on Krišjāņa Barona street 14) with 40 artists from 18 countries taking part this year. One of the participants of the exhibition, Swedish artist and director Maria Loise Ekman has been dealing with the culture of everyday life and the ideology that constitutes it since the 1970s. In her drawings, paintings and films she questions the ideals of love and family entrenched in consumer culture, as well as traditional gender roles, creating short scenarios full of unrealised fantasies, seeming naivety and ambiguous seriousness. The series of photos by Ukrainian artist Anna Zvyagintseva to be displayed in the exhibition document almost unnoticeable objects or changes that remain in the Maidan – for example, misplaced cobblestones or bullet marks in the walls of buildings that bear witness to recent events in the otherwise orderly environment.

Kristaps Epners has been documenting his daily running routes for several years, turning to them again in his work for “Survival K(n)it 7”. Although at first running may seem like a monotonous activity, the artist admits that each time it reveals unusual details, diversifying the course of one and the same event. Latvian artist Andrejs Strokins meanwhile works on a kind of archaeology of the library building, documenting the things left behind by employees in the recently abandoned spaces – reader’s cards, extra copies of books, photographs, and creating from them new combinations.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a variety of events, offering the festival visitors creative workshops, lectures, discussions, performances and walks. On the opening day of the festival, September 3, at 15.00 Iranian artist Dzamil Kamanger will make an embroidery performance in public space, while at 18.00 near the former building of the NLL Lithuanian artist Eglė Budvytytė’s performance “Choreography for the Running Male” will take place.

From September 4 to 10 the former building of the NLL will host “The Stitch Project” embroidery workshop. “The Stitch Project” is an international art project which uses the experience of handicraft to promote dialogue between artists and members of various minorities in the society. On the final day of the festival, September 20, artist David Bernstein’s storytelling performance “The Marble Man” will be held, expanding on the series of works with cooking spatulas displayed in the exhibition. Based on the idea of the unlimited possibilities of imagination David Bernstein transforms, lengthens, broadens the all-familiar kitchen utensil – spatula – thus adding ever new associations and possible meanings.

Artists of festival “Survival K(n)it 7”: Lawrence Abu Hamdan (UK), Erik Alalooga (EE), Bani Abidi (PK), David Bernstein (USA / EU), Arturs Bērziņš (LV), Juris Boiko (LV), Liena Bondare (LV), Kristians Brekte (LV), Eglė Budvytytė (LT), Nanna Debois Buhl (DK), Maria Loise Ekman (SE), Kristaps Epners (LV), Ester Fleckner (DK), Nilbar Güreş (TR), Kalle Hamm, Dzamil Kamanger (FI / IR), Gudrun Hasle (DK), Reinis Hofmanis, Dārta Hofmane (LV), Ingela Ihrman (SE), Flo Kasearu (EE), KLĪGA (LV), Andreja Kulunčic (HR), Kalle Laar (DE), Johanna Lecklin (FI), Hardijs Lediņš (LV), Inga Meldere (LV), Robertas Narkus (LT), Katrīna Neiburga (LV), Ingrīda Pičukāne (LV), Jura Shust (BY / BE), Sandra Strēle (LV), Andrejs Strokins (LV), Iiu Susiraja (FI), Vladimirs Svetlovs (LV), Ginta Tinte Vasermane (LV), Anna Volkova (LV), Anna Zvyagintseva (UA), Imants Žodžiks (LV), Okin Collective (KR), Stitch projects (NO).

Festival “Survival K(n)it 7” will be opened on September 3 at 19.00. The contemporary art exhibition will run from September 4 to 20 on weekdays (except Mondays) from 14 to 20 and holidays from 12 to 19. The event is organised by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, curated by Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce. Partners: What, How & for Whom/WHW (Zagreb), Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), Riga Urban Institute, Museums Revealed (Riga).

For more detailed programme of the festival’s events and information about the artists visit the festival’s page:

Festival “Survival K(n)it 7” is realised with co-financing from the European Union programme “Creative Europe”. The project is financially supported by State Culture Capital Foundation, Education, Culture and Sports Department of Riga City Council, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Iaspis, Danish Arts Foundation, Frame Visual Arts Finland, Nordic Baltic Mobility Programme, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Finland, Danish Cultural Institute, City Council of Bergen, companies “Abnormal”, “Associates, Partners et Sons Direct”, “Kolonna”, “RedCab Taxi”, “Valmiermuižas alus”, “DIRECT paint shop - warehouse”, JRV Serviss, “Wok ToWalk”, “Coffee Inn”, “Akva D Life”.

Informative supporters: Radio “Naba”, Latvijas radio 1, magazines “IR”, “Studija”, “Veto”, internet media “Punctum Magazine”, “Satori”, “Delfi”, “Echo Gone Wrong”,, “Lettische Presseschau”, “Mums patīk”, “528”, "Riga This Week", television “Rīga 24”.

The annual contemporary art festival Survival K(n)it 7 will take place in Riga in September #

2015-07-15 16:54

The international contemporary art festival Survival K(n)it 7 will take place in Riga from 4 to 20 September with over 40 artists and artist collectives participating. Set in the former building of the National Library of Latvia, it will consist of an exhibition and a program of performative events and discussions. The festival is organised and produced by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art. 

This is the seventh edition of the annual festival and, following the format of the previous years, Survival K(n)it 7 invites artists to search for creative and alternative modes of survival, reflecting on both local and global social tendencies. The theme of this year’s festival – Survival K(n)it – has been entwined within its name using a wordplay and emphasizes the hidden potential of everyday activities, ‘small things’ to influence wider processes in the society. Within the context of the festival’s theme, knitting as an ordinary pastime symbolises creative initiatives, the interwoven public and private domains, while also underlining socialising and participation.

This year, the former building of the National Library of Latvia will serve as the main venue of the Survival K(n)it 7 festival. It will feature a diverse programme consisting of a contemporary art exhibition, performances, concerts, lectures and discussions. The neo-classical building on Krišjāņa Barona ielā 14 was built in 1910 and hosted the National Library of Latvia from 1956 to 2014, however, it is no longer actively used. Several festival events will take place in the city and over the course of sixteen days will offer visitors a manifold cultural programme, weaving together perspectives from different creative disciplines and social practices and highlighting causal relationships between seemingly insignificant daily pursuits and global changes.

Participating artists include Lawrence Abu Hamdan (UK), Erik Alalooga (EE),  Bani Abidi (PK), David Bernstein (USA / EU), Arturs Bērziņš (LV), Juris Boiko (LV), Liena Bondare (LV), Kristians Brekte (LV), Eglė Budvytytė (LT), Nanna Debois Buhl (DK), Maria Loise Ekman (SE), Kristaps Epners (LV), Ester Fleckner (DK), Nilbar Güreş (TR), Kalle Hamm, Dzamil Kamanger (FI / IR), Gudrun Hasle (DK), Reinis Hofmanis, Dārta Hofmane (LV), Ingela Ihrman (SE), Flo Kasearu (EE), KLĪGA (LV), Andreja Kulunčic (HR), Kalle Laar (DE), Johanna Lecklin (FI), Hardijs Lediņš (LV), Inga Meldere (LV), Robertas Narkus (LT), Katrīna Neiburga (LV), Ingrīda Pičukāne (LV), Jura Shust (BY / BE), Sandra Strēle (LV), Andrejs Strokins (LV), Iiu Susiraja (FI), Vladimirs Svetlovs (LV), Ginta Tinte Vasermane (LV), Anna Volkova (LV), Anna Zvyagintseva (UA), Imants Žodžiks (LV), Okin Collective (KR), Stitch projects (NO).

Survival Kit is the most internationally recognised contemporary art event in Latvia. It started in 2009 as a reaction to the austerity caused by the economic crisis and has continued to invite people to respond to the changes occurring in the world today and to reflect upon the possible survival strategies. Each year, the festival attracts and involves up to 15 000 visitors. The previous edition brought together ninety participants from twenty-five countries. Every year the festival is organised by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Survival K(n)it 7 is curated by Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce.

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.