The international contemporary art exhibition
8.09. - 1.10.2017. Becoming an Apricot * an Apple * a Crow * a Tree * a Cockroach * a Glacier * a Plant * a Mushroom * a Shell * a Bird * Algae

This year the largest annual contemporary art event in the Baltics SURVIVAL KIT 9 will be directed towards the broadening of perception and learning from nature.

It will take place at the former building of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, Kronvalda bulvaris 4, Riga.

Opening hours of the festival's exhibition:

Wednesday 14.00 - 20.00
Thursday 14.00 - 20.00
Friday 14.00 - 20.00
Saturday 12.00 - 20.00
Sunday 12.00 - 20.00
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays!

Throughout the festival, activities for children will be available at the exhibition. The family guide (ask at the ticket desk) will help locate them!


Special events

7.09 Thursday
18.00 SURVIVAL KIT 9 festival opening (Kronvalda bulvāris 4, Riga)

Artist talk by Nomeda Urbonas & Gediminas Urbonas: Zooetics. Pavilion and Ballardian Technologies. In English.

Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas will talk about the ideas behind the interdisciplinary research platform Zooetics, which they have established in order to explore new ways of engaging human knowledge and research with other forms of life, and to imagine designs, prototypes and interfaces for future interspecies ecologies.

Lecture-performance by artist Gernot Wieland: Animal DepressionIn English.

Gernot Wieland's lecture deals with the relationship between humans and animals, and the mechanisms of power and control that are involved. Balancing between truth and fiction, Wieland's narrative is full of historical facts, tragicomic events, humour and irony.

Artist Jim Holyoak reads from his Book of Nineteen Nocturnes. In English.

Jim Holyoak will read one chapter from his Book of Nineteen Nocturnes, which is on display at SURVIVAL KIT 9. This tale follows the wanderings of a monster made of wood, named Book, as she travels through a dream-like world where the sun never rises.  

21.00 SURVIVAL KIT 9 opening party at the club PIENS (A. Briāna iela 9, Riga)

Animal night! Celebrity disco, dance performances by artists throughout the night, Becoming Your Favourite Animal workshop and many other high-quality night-vision opportunities. Artist Andris Eglītis will take care of the spatial design.

Please wear an animal mask! 

8.09 Friday
15.00 Artist talk by James Webb: There Are Far Too Few Friday Nights Left In The World. In English.

James Webb presents a personal studio visit in the form of a talk on the themes of sympathetic magic, uncertainty and hopeless optimism. Webb’s work employs media such as audio, light, and text, and is presented in clandestine public interventions as well as large-scale museum installations.

16.00 Guided tour

A guided tour with SURVIVAL KIT 9 curators and the artists Ieva Epnere, Andris Eglītis, Nona Inescu and Wong Kit Yi. In English.

18.00 CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS! Lecture by writer, curator and researcher Sarat Maharaj. In English.

!!CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS!! Sarat Maharaj is one of the best known art theoreticians in the world, and a curator of leading contemporary art biennales and events. He is the author of several important publications dealing with the postcolonial conditions of cultural difference and translation, as they apply to both art and the creation of knowledge. In his lecture, 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
12.00 Lecture by researcher Oxana Timofeeva: The Living Soul.

In Slavic languages, the word ‘animal’, zivotnoe, derives from zivot (“life, body”), whereas a Latin root for the ‘animal’ is anima (“life, soul”). Etymologically, animal life is thus the place of an encounter between body and soul. In Christian culture, those two terms comprise a contradiction, which creates a lot of ambiguity. Doesn't animal life create a kind of unity, where body and soul are one and the same thing? This lecture invites us to think through this unity both dialectically and psychoanalytically.

13.00 Guided tour

A guided tour with the festival’s curators and the artists Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Ehsan Ul Haq, Krišs Salmanis and Jim Holyoak.

until 1.00 WHITE NIGHT

To mark the White Night, the doors of the festival's contemporary art exhibition will be open until 01.00

19.30-20.00 Lecture-performance by artist Gernot Wieland: Animal Depression.

Gernot Wieland's lecture deals with the relationship between humans and animals, and the mechanisms of power and control that are involved. Balancing between truth and fiction, Wieland's narrative is full of historical facts, tragicomic events, humour and irony.

Gernot Wieland's potato print workshop: Potatoes and Psychodramas.

The workshop will consist of practical exercises – e.g., the making of several potato prints – and will include personal stories, psychoanalysis, imagination and concentration. It will draw attention on the self, the other and the use of language, and will hopefully be a mess and fun. No prior knowledge or experience of artistic practice is required.

Duration: 2 hours.

22.00-1.00 Programme of short films by the director Jean Painlevé (France)

The films will be repeated throughout the night


Love Life of the Octopus (13 min, 1969, in collaboration with Geneviève Hamon)

Sea Urchins (11 min, 1958, in collaboration with Geneviève Hamon)

Acera or the Witches' Dance (13 min, 1972, in collaboration with Geneviève Hamon)

The Vampire (9 min, 1945)

The Pigeons of the Square (27 min, 1982)

Friday 15 September
18.00-20.00 Documentary film programme in collaboration with VFS Films

Roof on the Moonway (30 min, 2001, directors Māris Maskalāns and Andis Mizišs)

In the early 1980s, two hundred pairs of common terns (Sterna hirundo) were forced to abandon their last natural nesting place on a river island near a major European capital – Riga. Looking for a new habitat, the birds chose the flat pebbled roof of a concrete island – a printing house – in the middle of the city. The first generation of birds to grow up on this roof and fly to southern Africa every winter have covered the distance from the Earth to the Moon. During the film, various human attitudes towards the terns will emerge. The attitude of the birds is clear – they view things from above.

Dreamland (52 min, 2004, directors Laila Pakalniņa and Māris Maskalāns)

There are places that we do not want to know about, places that we would rather pretend did not exist at all. One such place is a dumpsite. Yet this seemingly unattractive desert of rubbish provides a home for countless living creatures – insects, reptiles, birds and mammals. For them, the dumpsite is an elite habitat that offers food and warmth to its inhabitants all year long. Māris Maskalāns, surprises with his acuity and patience, which allow him to spend hours at a bird's nest or rat's hole in order to eventually shoot his outstanding images. Laila Pakalniņa meanwhile turns this choreography of the animal world into an intuitively intricate, wordless metaphor set to music composed by the Japanese composer Umebayashi Shigeru, the author of scores for several films by Wong Kar-wai. In 2005, Dreamland was nominated for the European Film Academy Documentary Award.

Friday 22 September
18.00 Curator Jussi Koitela's lecture Posthumanist Performativity within the Intra-Structures and screening of the film Haru, Island of the Solitary (1998)

Jussi Koitela’s talk will perform several entanglements involving the animate aspects of Klovharu Island, where writer Tove Jansson spent many summers, along with his own curatorial practice and the writings of the feminist theorist Karen Barad. Koitela will attempt to challenge the politics of the division of culture and nature through examples of curatorial discourse-materialisations, fragments of artworks by Sabrina Chou and Laura Põld, as well as the Moomin world created by Tove Jansson.