Artists show latest survival techniques

  • 2013-08-31
  • By TBT staff

SURVIVING: Artist Camilla Berner’s project at Survival Kit 2012

RIGA - TWith strength gained from the peripheries, a slow revolution is overturning positions of power and questioning the dominance of the center. Evolving from the needs of individuals and neglecting hierarchy, the new strategy of survival in the present day is reflected by a variety of artists in the 5th International Contemporary Art Festival “Survival Kit 5. Slow Revolution.” The festival, produced by the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, challenges the individual to pursue its desires.

“Survival Kit 5” has focused on slow revolution, which emphasizes the importance of margins, overturning positions of power and questions the dominance of the center. It is a non-hierarchical movement which has evolved from the needs of individuals and develops direct democratic traditions. The slow revolution invites one not to be afraid of reaching out for what they really desire.

The director of LCCA and “Survival Kit 5” Festival, curator Solvita Krese, comments on this year’s theme: “Each year when we organize the ‘Survival Kit’ Contemporary Arts Festival, we try to find out what has changed in the world, and what sort of survival strategies are being used in today’s society and how these activities are reflected in art. The world is still in the midst of rapid changes – political systems and maps are changing, as well as the balance of economic power. At the same time we can see an increase in mass community activity, stimulating a wave of protest against the system which controls political and economic power.”

Registering the world’s “hot” spots, we can look back on the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street actions in New York, which turned into a global movement within a surprisingly short period. This reverberated in Greece, Spain, Israel and in other countries. The demonstrations and protest actions in Russia against Vladimir Putin’s regime cannot go unmentioned among these. They are no longer events organized by a handful of “leftist” intellectuals or activists, but a massive and all embracing movement, which continues to grow wider, creating a dominant mood in a significant part of the community.

The slow revolution does not have any national borders, or leaders, nor does it have a political program. The main demand is to change the existing system or to create an alternative to the existing one. What is the possible alternative? Has the tradition of criticism come to a kind of dead-end, criticizing the existing situation but being unable to provide a new vision for the future, a new utopia?

What can an artist do in such a “seismic” situation? Is influencing the situation even possible? What sort of strategies can we use, being in quite a marginal position, in opposition to the dominating power? The advantage of marginality and being outside the official organs of power is the possibility to exhibit a critical point of view. The most daring ideas arise right on the margins of power. It’s important not to get “bogged down” in the predictable, but to develop one’s own rules and game, and to take the first step before the control mechanism has been able to classify, subordinate, take over and make your extraordinary solutions into components of the existing system.
The list of contributing artists includes Ane Hjort Guttu (NO), Anda Lace (LV), Ernests Klavins (LV), Eva Vevere (LV), FASTWURMS (CA) and many more.

Each year artists have been encouraged to contemplate on some theme of importance in the community and reflect it in their works, creating alternative scenarios for survival in the modern world.

Survival Kit 5. Slow Revolution, Lacplesa Street 60, Riga From Sept. 5 – 15 For more program information please visit: www.