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 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.