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 is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, Goethe-Institut Riga, Nordic Council of Minister’s in Latvia, Embassy of Canada in Latvia, French Institute in Latvia, Swedish Embassy in Riga, Icelandic Art Center, European Cultural Foundation, Le conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec, University of Latvia, Latvian National Archive, VFS FILMS, 2zoles, ar putniem, café PIENS, AUGA group, NP Properties, Valmiermuižas beer, ABSOLUT, Caffeine, Gemoos, Foodbox, Kino Bize, Ģertrūdes street theatre, Dirty Deal Teatro, music festival “Skaņu mežs”, Lux Express, Taxify and AKVA D LIFE.
Curated by: Jonatan Habib Engqvist (independet curator), Solvita Krese ( (Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art) and Inga Lāce (Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art)
Venue: Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia
Organizer: Lthe former building of the University of Latvia Faculty of Biology, Riga, Latvia
Date: September 8 – October 1, 2017
Photography: Ēriks Božis. All images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art