News

SURVIVAL KIT 9 Invites to Observe the World from the Perspective of Nature #

2017-09-11 17:47

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, organizer of the biggest annual contemporary art event in the Baltics SURVIVAL KIT, this year encourages to step out of the traditional worldview and observe the planet from the perspective of nature.

Could viable alternatives to the conditions of the present day be found by embracing the embodied knowledge of other species or types of being? Encompassing mushroom growing laboratories and paintings which have been created by swamps or insects as well as voices of seals in the empty staircases of the exhibition space and exotic bird songs in the nearby park – the international exhibition and event program of the contemporary art festival SURVIVAL KIT 9 opens today under the title Becoming an Apricot * an Apple * a Crow * a Tree * a Cockroach * a Glacier * a Plant * a Mushroom * a Shell * a Bird * Algae. The main venue of the festival is the former building of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, continuing the tradition of SURVIVAL KIT of inhabiting the empty buildings of Riga.

Curators Solvita Krese, Inga Lāce and Jonatan Habib Engqvist explain the choice of the theme of this year’s festival SURVIVAL KIT 9: “We live in a time characterized by populism, shortsighted nationalism and the ongoing exploitation of nature, therefore the 9th edition of the contemporary art festival Survival Kit begins from tactile and tacit experiences in order to seek the potential of alternative ways of learning and perceiving. Perhaps it is time to become an apple, apricot, seal, insect, or glacier… in short, to enhance latent capacities, sensations waiting to be discovered; to tune in to the communication between plants; to ask the animals what they think; and to look at things through the multi-faceted and temporal perspective of a crystal.”

The exhibition and a wide range of events, including lectures and presentations by artists, art theoreticians and philosophers, film demonstrations, performances and readings, guided tours in the exhibition as well as exciting artist-led workshops for children, will run from 7 September to 1 October in the former building of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia on Kronvalda bulvāris 4.

SURVIVAL KIT 9 includes works by 24 internationally recognized, as well as emerging young artists: Maria Thereza Alves, Laurie Anderson, Jonathas de Andrade, Lotta Antonsson, Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Juris Boiko, Andris Eglītis, Ieva Epnere, Annika Eriksson, Andris Grīnbergs / Laima Žurgina, Jim Holyoak, Nona Inescu, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Christine Ödlund, Jean Painlevé, Andrej Polukord, Krišs Salmanis, Ehsan Ul Haq, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, James Webb, Gernot Wieland, Wong Kit Yi.

 

SURVIVAL KIT 9 Announces Programme of Events #

2017-08-28 14:47

Andrej Polukord, Kaiser Pilz, 2016

This year, SURVIVAL KIT 9, the biggest annual contemporary art exhibition in the Baltics, will be accompanied by a wide range of events which, like the exhibition, will be aimed at broadening the perception and learning from nature.

Throughout the duration of the festival, from 7 September to 1 October, there will be lectures and presentations by artists, art theoreticians and philosophers, film demonstrations, performances and readings, guided tours in the exhibition as well as exciting artist-led workshops for children. Special guided tours will be led by biologist Izāks Rašals and journalist Māris Olte giving the opportunity to look inside the former building of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia and its Museum of Zoology, Museum of the History of Chemistry as well as the Botanical Museum, whose collections contain surprising, little-known treasures.

Full festival programme is available at http://www.survivalkit.lv/en/programme/

Events during SURVIVAL KIT 9 Opening Week

The official opening of the festival will take place on Thursday, 7 September at 18.00. There will be a lecture by SURVIVAL KIT 9 artists Gediminas Urbonas, director of the Program in Art, Culture and Technology at the prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Nomeda Urbonas.  They will talk about ideas behind the interdisciplinary research platform Zooetics, which they’ve established in order to explore new ways of engaging human knowledge and research with other forms of life. The talk will be followed by artist Gernot Wieland's lecture-performance Depression in Animals dealing with the relationship between humans and animals and the mechanisms of power and control involved. Finally, artist Jim Holyoak will read a chapter from his work Book of Nineteen Nocturnes, exhibited in SURVIVAL KIT 9, which follows the wanderings of a monster made of wood, named Book, as she travels through a dream-like world, where the sun never rises. The festival's opening will continue with the Animal Night celebrity disco at the club PIENS.

On Friday, 8 September artist James Webb will give a talk titled There Are Far Too Few Friday Nights Left in the World. It will be followed by a guided tour in the exhibition with curators Solvita Krese, Inga Lāce, Jonatan Habib Engqvist and artists. Finally, the most prominent event of SURVIVALK KIT 9 will be the lecture by one of the most internationally recognized art theoreticians, curator of leading contemporary art biennales and events, writer and researcher Sarat Maharaj. He is the author of several important publications dealing with the postcolonial condition of cultural difference and translation in art as well as knowledge production. In his talk, Maharaj will discuss the value of human, animal and plant knowledge. Does the fact that other living beings do not speak human language mean that they know less?

Saturday, 9 September until 1.00 AM there will be a special programme for the White Night, throughout which the entrance to the exhibition will be free of charge. It will include a theatre performance of absurd facts in collaboration with Homo Novus, potato print workshop, short film programme and excursions for the entire family.

Sundays are days for children's activities at festival SURVIVAL KIT 9, when together with grown-ups they will have the opportunity to spend two hours in vegetable print workshop with artist Henrihs Bināns and make their own gouache and watercolour pigments with conservator Evita Melbārde. Throughout the festival, activities for children will be available in the exhibition, with a family guide to locate them available at the ticket desk.

The festival's events can be visited with an exhibition ticket: standard price 3.00 EUR, school and university students and pensioners with a valid ID, as well as people with well-behaved dogs: 1.00 EUR. Family ticket: 4.00 EUR, while festival ticket for unlimited number of visits: 5.00 EUR.

The opening of SURVIVAL KIT 9 on September 7 #

2017-08-23 14:30

SURVIVAL KIT 9 Introduces the Artists #

2017-08-21 09:53

Ieva Epnere, Green School, 1217

This year, SURVIVAL KIT 9, the biggest annual contemporary art exhibition in the Baltics, presents 24 internationally recognized, as well as emerging young artists. Among the works are both internationally known as well as specially commissioned new pieces aimed at broadening the perception of the world and learning from nature.

The exhibition will run from 8 September to 1 October in the former building of the University of Latvia Faculty of Biology on Kronvalda bulvāris 4.

The title of this year's SURVIVAL KIT – Becoming an Apricot * an Apple * a Crow * a Tree * a Cockroach * a Glacier * a Plant * a Mushroom * a Shell * a Bird * Algae – was inspired by a series of watercolours by internationally recognized artist Maria Thereza Alves, This is Not an Apricot, which will also be part of the exhibition. Alves is among the internationally best known artists who works with the problematics of environment and globalisation and questions related to human intervention in nature.

Among the festival's artists the artist duo Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas stands out with their installation The Psychotropic House: Zooetics Pavilion of Ballardian Technologies. It is a discursive experiment that aims to articulate ‘Zooetics’—a notion in progress—and explore new ways for human knowledge and research to engage with other forms of life. The artists will also give a talk during the opening of SURVIVAL KIT 9 on Thursday, 7 September.

The opportunity to see the works of Sámi artist Britta Marakatt-Labba promises to be a special occasion. With the help of a thread and a needle, the artist creates entire worlds in miniature, depicting scenes from everyday life and imbuing them with political reflections and stories of Sámi culture and history. The Sámi people have always lived in harmony with nature, and when moving will return all of their building materials to nature. Marakatt-Labba's works have also been exhibited in documenta 14.

In his works artist Gernot Wieland links personal narratives, historic reports, scientific facts and fictional elements with tragic and comic events, generating a sense of the uncanny, mostly in an ironic or absurd way. His work Thievery and Songs will be shown at SURVIVAL KIT 9. Wieland will also take part in the festival opening with his lecture-performance Depression in Animals on the relationships between humans and animals and their mechanisms of power and control.

Meanwhile artist James Webb will realise his project There’s No Place Called Home (Riga). It presents recordings of foreign birdsong that are broadcast from speakers concealed in the trees. First produced in 2004, this artwork is remade afresh in each site using a recording of a different species. For SURVIVAL KIT 9, Webb employs the songs of a Sichuan bush warbler (Locustella chengi), native to central China, to subtlety affect the local environment, referencing themes of magic, migration, and ecological contingency.

Among the emerging artists Pakistani-born Ehsan Ul Haq should be marked. He will use specimens from the Museum of Zoology located in the festival’s venue in his I Love Morality, imbuing them with new interpretations. In this manner Ul Haq investigates the egotistic nature of human beings while also negotiating the idea of his own futile existence. He draws attention to the vectors of power in the relationships among humans, animals and plants, and the human wish to classify everything – to name, control, and subordinate. Meanwhile artist Jim Holyoak exhibits his 500-page-long volume Book of Nineteen Nocturnes, hand-drawn over the period of 17 years. Echoing the genres of painterly and musical nocturne, the book is driven by its ambient, night-time setting – a realm populated by wandering monsters. It is about being lost, lonely and homesick, at the same time pointing towards contemporary ecological problems.

Winner of the Purvītis Prize, one of the artists in the Latvian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Art Biennale, Andris Eglītis will exhibit large-format paintings, made over long periods of time out in the pond, swamp, forest and meadow. The sun, wind, rain, insects, birds and animals have left their traces on them, letting Eglītis himself climb out of the role of the anthropocentric creator and feel like one of nature's creatures. Artist Ieva Epnere has created a video for SURVIVAL KIT 9, researching the special story of Marta Rinka, which unfortunately remains little known to the broader public. Rinka was educated in the renowned Pestalozzi-Froebel-Haus in Berlin in order to return to Latvia, where in 1908,  with the support of shipbuilder and philanthropist Augusts Dombrovskis, she established the Green School and a unique system of kindergarten pedagogy, offering a modern avant-garde educational system to working class children. Finally, artist Krišs Salmanis, another winner of the Purvītis Prize and the representative of the Latvian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Art Biennale, will show a work which hasn’t been previously exhibited in Latvia. In his own words: "A needle attached to a slender birch tree reads from a vinyl record the song of a chaffinch recorded a couple of years ago. Back then, the bird had perched within arm's reach on a similar branch of a tree, intoxicated by its own song. I managed to film it. Since then, from time to time I have wondered how the chaffinch is doing and how I might return to this incident once more. There are no amplifiers or speakers in the installation; the situation is almost analogue."

The exhibition will also include works by artists such as Laurie Anderson, Jonathas de Andrade, Lotta Antonsson, Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Juris Boiko, Annika Eriksson, Andris Grinbergs / Laima Žurgina, Nona Inescu, Christine Ödlund, Jean Painlevé, Wong Kit Yi and Andrej Polukord. More information about all the works in SURVIVAL KIT 9 is available at http://www.survivalkit.lv/en/artists/

 

Survival Kit 9 announces artist list #

2017-05-25 12:07

In September, for already the ninth year the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art will be holding the largest annual contemporary art event in the Baltics Survival Kit. This year it has been titled “Becoming an Apricot * an Apple * a Crow * a Tree * a Cockroach * a Glacier * a Plant * a Mushroom * a Shell * a Bird * Algae ”, and will be directed towards the broadening of perception and learning from nature.

The curatorial team of Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce reveal that the participants of this year's international art exhibition will include Maria Thereza Alves, Laurie Anderson, Jonathas de Andrade, Lotta Antonsson, Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Juris Boiko, Andris Eglītis, Ieva Epnere, Annika Eriksson, Andris Grīnbergs / Laima Žurgina, Jim Holyoak, Nona Inescu, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Christine Ödlund, Jean Painlevé, Andrej Polukord, Krišs Salmanis, Ehsan Ul Haq, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, James Webb, Gernot Wieland, Wong Kit Yi and others.

The intertwined relationship between nature and culture might be better understood by looking at the politics of nature throughout history. Can art encourage us to think beyond this division? Could viable alternatives to the conditions of the present day be found by embracing the embodied knowledge of other species or types of being? Learning by becoming – whether becoming a plant, an animal, or a mineral – allows us different sensibilities. Survival Kit 9 proposes future ecologies in which equality and rights are not limited to humankind.

Can we develop a more holistic understanding of the world by avoiding human-centred learning processes and empathizing with other forms of existence? We live in a time characterized by populism, shortsighted nationalism and the ongoing exploitation of nature, therefore the 9th edition of the contemporary art festival Survival Kit begins from tactile and tacit experiences in order to seek the potential of alternative ways of learning and perceiving,” the festival's curatorial team explains.

The curators of the international art festival point out that rather than staking claim to alternative facts, they wish to introduce elements of doubt – embracing the humility of not knowing while remaining willing to learn.

Survival Kit 9 will take place from 8 September to 1 October at the former building of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia. An especially broad programme of events will take place during the opening weekend of the festival from 8 to 10 September including guided tours with the curators, talks, discussions and other events. Media representatives interested in covering the festival, as well as for further information and partnership opportunities please contact marta.krivade[@]gmail.com, tel. +371 26486312 

 

Jonatan Habib Engqvist joins the team of curators at festival Survival Kit 9 #

2017-02-20 12:11

Photo: Nina Broberg

We are happy to announce, that this year Jonatan Habib Engqvist will join the team of curators – Solvita Krese, director of LCCA, and Inga Lāce.

Although the LCCA has previously joined forces with foreign curators, this year the collaboration will be much closer, in the words Krese and Lāce: "We chose to invite Engqvist to join the team because of his broad international experience. Working with Jonatan is a particular pleasure because of his dynamic and inspiring personality as well as his unusual way of thinking. He has a lively interest in artists and their work, complemented by theoretical knowledge in the fields of art, politics and philosophy. The new collaboration brings fresh perspectives and language to Survival Kit 9 that everyone will be able to see already in September.”

Jonatan Habib Engqvist is an independent curator and writer. He is currently co-curator of the process-based biennale Sinopale 6 in Turkey, organising New Småland – a series of events in collaboration between 4 art institutions in southern Sweden and running the small-scale curatorial residency CRIS in Stockholm. He was co-curator of the Momentum biennale 2015, project manager for visual art at Iaspis (2009-2014), curator of Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012, and has been employed as curator at Moderna Museet (2008-09). He has written for and edited several books and journals, is editor in mischief at tsnoK.se and teaches regularly at The Royal Institute of Fine Art in Stockholm. Recent shows include a public sculpture on the town hall in the city of Jönköping, Sweden, by Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus and Richard Wilhelmer as well as solo exhibitions with Bouchra Khalili at Färgfarbriken, Stockolm, 2016, Raluca Popa, RCI, Stockholm and A Kassen at the National Gallery of Iceland, 2015.