Manifestations of (In)Activism in the Latest Baltic Art

ISSP telpa, Berga Bazārs, Marijas iela 13 k. 3, Rīga

Simpozijs "(Ne)Aktīvisma manifestācijas Baltijas jaunākajā mākslā"

Laikmetīgā māksla neapšaubāmi ir ne vien sava laika vērtību, pārmaiņu un konfliktu spogulis, bet arī transformāciju rosinātāja. Taču stratēģiski mērķtiecīgs aktīvisms mākslā Baltijā arvien bijis drīzāk retums. Piemēram, politiski orientēta, "aktīva" māksla tā sauktajās Rietumvalstīs gan 20. gs., gan mūsdienās ir nesalīdzināmi klātesošāka un drosmīgāka nekā Baltijā, kur par konsekventām aktīvisma tradīcijām gan sabiedrībā kopumā, gan – likumsakarīgi – arī mākslā runāt ir grūti. Tomēr arī šeit māksla sevi ir apliecinājusi kā platformu sociālpolitisku jautājumu aktualizēšanai, pieļaujot tādu atklātības un izaicinājuma līmeni, kas citos kontekstos mūsu kultūrtelpā ir reti sastopams un nereti arī nepieņemams. 

Simpozija mērķis ir aktualizēt un vismaz daļēji apzināt politiskā un sociālā aktīvisma esamību/neesamību, aktuālos problēmjautājumus un izpausmju īpatnības Baltijas jauno mākslinieku radošajās praksēs, kā arī kuratoru un mākslas organizāciju darbībā, īpaši pievēršoties fotogrāfijai. Lai arī simpozija centrālais fokuss ir Baltijas valstis, kontekstuāli plašākam skatījumam un iespējai iepazīt citu kultūrtelpu aktuālās norises, simpozijā piedalās arī Baltijas jūras reģiona kaimiņu – Polijas un Vācijas – pārstāvji.


Contemporary art not only mirrors the values, transformations and conflicts of its time, but also encourages and fosters change. And yet, in many parts of the world, including the Baltics, strategic and purposeful social activism in art is rather rare. In the twentieth century, as in our current moment, politically oriented art has been much more common in so-called Western countries than in the Baltics, where it is difficult to talk about consistent traditions of activism in society in general, let alone in art. But still, even here, art has proven itself as a platform for raising awareness of socio-political issues, allowing greater degrees of openness and challenging power structures in ways that are rarely seen (and are often unacceptable) in other contexts within our cultural space.

The purpose of this symposium is to explore the existence (or absence) of political and social activism in Baltic contemporary art, to pay attention to any peculiarities of its manifestation, and to identify any issues that are currently being addressed, focusing particularly on the youngest generation of Baltic artists and on the use of photography and image. Although the symposium is focused on the Baltic States, in order to gain a wider sense of context and to take advantage of an opportunity to get acquainted with current developments in neighbouring cultural spaces, representatives from fellow Baltic Sea countries – namely, Poland and Germany – will also take part in the symposium.

Programma / Programme:

11.20 Atklāšana/ Opening
11.30 Airi Triisberg - Making Art Politically: Case Studies from the Baltics
12.00 Kaisa Maasik - Your Love Hurts. Interference and Non-interference
12.20 Jana Kukaine - Out of Date, Out of Place: (Mis)interpretations of Feminist Curating 
12.40 Mētra Saberova - Art and Social Activism: Scale, Impact and Getting out of Bed
13.00 Šarūnas Kvietkus - Conflicting Values in Contemporary Global Migration
13.30 Dalia Mikonyte - Archive of Activism 1993-2013 and Now

14.00 - 15.00 Pusdienu pārtraukums/ Lunch Break

15.00 Pauline Doutreluingne - Curatorial Activism for Tentacular Imaginaries
15.30 Claudia Bühler - Talking About an Explosive Theme
15.50 Rafal Milach - Civic Resistance
16.10 Yulia Krivich - Fluid Identity (and how to deal with it)
16.30 Noslēguma saruna/ Closing Discussion

Kuratore / Curator: Elīna Ķempele (LV)

Organizē: Rīgas Fotogrāfijas biennāle sadarbībā ar ISSP, Ziemeļvalstu Ministru padomes biroju Latvijā, Adama Mickeviča Institūtu, Gētes institūtu Rīgā un Igaunijas vēstniecību Rīgā / Organizer: Riga Photography Biennial in cooperation with ISSP, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Goethe-Institut Riga and Embassy of Estonia in Riga.

Ieeja bez maksas, pasākums norisināsies angļu valodā/ Language: English, free entrance.

Attēls / Image: Mētra Saberova. “Pimpin' Yo Mama Crib”. 2017. (Skats no performances. Foto: Valdis Jansons/ View from the performance. Photo: Valdis Jansons)

Vairāk / More info

Aaron Shuman in Riga (second try)

We all try again and are looking forward to host Aaron Shuman in Riga this weekend, provided no more volcano surprises coming up. The lecture “Whatever Was Splendid: New American Photographs” will take place at kim? at 19:00 on Saturday 1 May 2010.

The workshop Aesthetics of nostalgia will run this weekend, 1-2 May. You are welcome to apply for several vacant places till this Friday, 30 April!


ISSP Applications (update)

The Application form now works in all browsers! In case you encounter a problem, write to us at

We have already received first 10 applications from an incredible mixture of 7 countries! :) Looking forward for more!

ISSP Applications open (but for Safaris)

Hey hey! We are pleased to announce that the applications for the International Summer School of Photography 2010 are officially open. The deadline for applications is 10 May 2010. We will accept 60 students in total this year.

One small note! - our newly introduced on-line Application form still refuses to make friends with Safari browser, so problems with uploading photos there. Thus you will be on safer side if you use any other browser than Safari if you want to apply immediately. We are working on this problem, so hopefully everything works everywhere soon!
And of course, we are looking forward to seeing your applications!
And please, spread the news :)

Coming up - ISSP 2010 Applications

The new OnLine Application form will materialize Very Soon (all of our fingers crossed). Meanwhile, the complete information on ISSP 2010 is already here. Take a look and prepare yourselves!

Aaron Shuman in Riga: workshop and lecture

In framework of US culture month in Riga “Made in USA“, we are pleased to invite applications to an ISSP-run workshop Aesthetics of nostalgia by a great photographer, editor, writer and curator Aaron Shuman. The workshop shall take place on 17-18 April 2010, at kim? Riga.

The two days course combines lectures, critique, and individual photographing by participants to explore in depth the subject of NOSTALGIA. See complete workshop description here, and apply till 15 April!

ISSP 2010 workshops online

We are happy to present the fantastic collection of ISSP 2010 workshops! Please see Workshops & teachers. The electronic Application form will appear online very soon.

Sunny greetings from ISSP team :)

ISSP 2010 in the cooking

Hey  hey! Just in case anybody doubts it - ISSP 2010 will take place this year, disregarding all the crises!!! And it will be greater than ever, with fantastic teachers, and of course, fantastic students!:) The dates are 31 July - 8 August 2010, in Ezersala, Ludza. We are actively working on the preparations and fundraising - lets keep our fingers crossed for our yet-unconfirmed supporters and sponsors, as we hope to keep the fees down as usual…

We plan to announce the applications by the beginning of April 2010! btw, we have received two applications already - using the 2009 form. these are considered too late… upps… too early ;-))

Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou in Riga

Yes, its true - Vanessa Winship is coming to visit us again, together with her partner, another great photographer George Georgiou!

The schedule of public events that we are planning in cooperation with kim? :
23 March 2010, 19:00 - Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou: artist talk & works presentation - open event for all interested
27-28 March 2010 (2 full days) - “Documentary practice and narrative, the long term project”: double master-class, workshop - previous application required

Alfa Foto Lab darbībā

ISSP saistītais projekts Alfa Foto Lab ir izsludinājis on-line izglītības programmu un konkursu jauno fotogrāfu - Latvijas profesionālo un augstāko izglītības iestāžu studentu- radošiem projektiem. Galvenā balva - iespēja piedalīties SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD 2010 STUDENT FOCUS darbnīcās Kannās šī gada aprīlī! Pieteikumus vai reģistrēt līdz 7.martam!