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Knowbotiq. “MacGhillie, just a void”. 2010. From “Māksla+Komunikācija” press materials

Art is Coming! 0

Reserve the first weekend in October – beginning already with Thursday – for a cultural extravaganza that will take over Riga with not only show openings, but also two prominent festivals and a quadrennial. “Māksla + Komunikācija” (Art + Communication), “Skaņu Mežs” (Forest of Sound) and the International Sculpture Quadrennial – which is being held for the eleventh time in forty years – will provide an intensity worth preparing for. Therefore, has outlined the most important points to take in.

The International Sculpture Quadrennial – Riga 2012 (October 5 – November 25) will announce itself in a straightforward manner with contemporary sculptures that deal with the issue of societal integration, erected in the areas surrounding the Freedom and Victory Monuments. Thanks to an internet news portal's exaggerated imagining of how a statue of the Star/Comet of David (by Czech artist Hubert Czerepok) would look like next to the Freedom Monument, the local press has already started having a field day. One can only wonder what sort of provocation will ensue when, adjacent to the Victory Monument, the Dutch artist Stefanos Tsifopulos will set up his campaign stage for Putin. In addition to the objects put up for display in Riga's urban environment, there will be an exhibition housed in the Latvian Railway History Museum, ongoing through the end of November. International in scope, the pool of participants in the Quadrennial contains, alongside local sculptors, artists from Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. The curators of the Quadrennial – with an official theme of “Anatomy of Integration” – are the art historian Inese Baranovska and the artists Aigars Bikše and Ivars Drulle. The trio hope to instigate public discussions about tolerance among different cultures, languages and religions, offering up the medium of art as – possibly – the best way to speak about the issue. Since the reduction of cultural elitism is the main tenet of the Quadrennial, all exhibitions and events (lecture series, educational projects) have free admission.

An exhibition, a concert, a conference and a satellite project – these days, this is the customary lineup for every large-scale cultural event. And so it is with the new media festival “Māksla + Komunikācija 2012” (October 4 – November 4), whose organizers have made sure that the event will have everything necessary to put some meat on the bones of this year's theme – “Art of Resilience”. The festival will kick off with the opening of the exhibition at RIXC Media Space on October 4, at 7:00 PM; guest artists knowbotiq will perform their lecture-performance Dancing With'Without Darwin, which won the top art prize in Switzerland this year. On October 5 and 6, kim? Contemporary Art Center in the Spīķeri warehouse district will host an international conference featuring Michel Bauwens, writer and expert on culture, technology and innovation. Alongside the conference there will be two creative workshops going on, including the RIXC artist-led “Bacteria Battery”, in which participants will learn how to generate electricity from dirty water. Admission to both the conference and the workshops is free of charge! The only ticket that must be purchased is for the festival's concert on October 5, 7:00 PM, at the Spīķeri Concert Hall. Jazz musician and philosopher David Rothenburg from the US will perform improvisations that he combines with prerecorded wild whale- and birdsong. Latvian musicians and sound artists will, in turn, present a contrasting program, one of these being “Jaunā vienmuļība” (The New Monotony), a co-project of Jēkabs Nīmanis and Maksims Šenteļevs, performing “Trejas tatvas” (Three Tatwas) – a play on the three fundamental elements of water, wind and fire. The festival's satellite project will take place in the city of Liepāja, where from October 6 through November 4 the Liepāja University Art Research Laboratory will host the third international new art medium week, “iWeek”, with creative workshops, public lectures, new artist presentations, exhibitions and audiovisual performances.

Meanwhile, “Skaņu Mežs” will be blowing out the candles on its ten-year birthday cake. Having already organized a pre-event on September 8, during the “Baltā nakts” (“White Night”) festivities, the festival will return October 6 with a full program; find out more about it in their specially-made booklet. We'd like to point out that as part of the festival, there will also be an exhibition on view from October 19 through November 4; instead of the customary group show, it will be a solo show by Kaspars Groševs, held at the Kaņepes Cultural Center.