The Contemporary Art Festival Survival Kit 8 will examine the acupuncture of society

For the eighth year in a row, the international contemporary art festival Survival Kit will take place in Riga. This year, from September 8 to 25, audiences will have an opportunity to visit a voluminous art exhibition and participate in a broad programme of events, which will entail film screenings, discussions, performances and other events. The festival this year will address acupuncture as a metaphor for determining the painful points of contemporary society and will gather approximately thirty Latvian and foreign artists.

Inga Lāce, one of the exhibition curators, notes: “Acupuncture, as a metaphor for testing the sensitive societal zones, has not been selected randomly. During the last few years, our society has grown increasingly more interested in alternative medicine, esotericism and suggestion. Eastern spiritualism is becoming ever more present in today’s techno-utopian world. Could this interest be interpreted as an escape from reality, a new lifestyle accessory or a key to an alternative survival, all along knowing that the tools and methods currently at our disposal no longer offer the desired result?”

“It is not surprising that many artists include references to spiritualism and esotericism in their oeuvre, both seeking creative impulses and ironically referring to contemporary society’s obsession with the ‘new spirituality’. The exhibition will offer an insight into the knowledge of shamans and witches. Also, visitors will have the opportunity to undergo hypnosis, to get acquainted with the effects of psychotropic plants, to meditate under magic symbols and to unveil the magic tricks of the modern-day financial market,” adds curator Solvita Krese.

The key venue of this year’s festival is C. C. von Stritzky's villa at Aristida Briāna Street 9 in Riga, which for a long period of time was abandoned but is currently experiencing its revival as a new cultural hotspot in the city. The festival is organised by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and is curated by Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce.

The international contemporary art festival Survival Kit was born in 2009 as a reaction to the austerity caused by the economic crisis and has since continued to invite people to respond to changes taking place in the modern-day world and to reflect on various survival strategies. Every year artists are invited to explore a socially significant theme, whilst also considering alternative scenarios of survival. Each year the festival, which is attended by approximately 15,000 visitors, takes place at a different location – an empty building in Riga, thus manifesting its potential and possible development strategies.

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