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

Ville Lenkkeri on ISSP

Ville Lenkkeri on ISSP (24 August 2010):

Enthusiasm, energy and creative craziness seldom materialize in such progressive and altruistic form as in case of ISSP. It is the way of working of the organizers as well as the surroundings that they have chosen that set the atmosphere of the summer school. And the atmosphere is one of joyful creation; brotherhood of attempt, sisterhood of success.

Greetings from Ludza - ISSP 2010 Exhibition

The ISSP 2010 Exhibition was festively opened on 7 August 2010. Visitors are welcome to view the entire collection of artistic projects of 65 participants in Ludza till 2 October 2010.

ISSP evening programme open to visitors

The ISSP Evening Programme at Ezersala boarding school (Ludza district) from 1st till 7th August will be traditionally open for interested visitors and guests! Detailed programme in English here.

Update - ISSP 2010 and Arles

Mesdames et Messieurs! Here you will find the latest ISSP 2010 programmelist of participants (confirmed), and information for participants.

From 5th till ~11 July a considerable part of ISSP team will be in sunny Arles in France, for the Rencontres d’Arles festival! Any photography education establishments who wish to think about joint cooperation projects, or simply to get to know ISSP and enjoy our company and a glass of french vine together are welcome to contact us. You can write to À très bientôt! :)

Nordic-Baltic photography education exchange project

Already a bit old news, but great nevertheless - the Nordic-Baltic Culture Mobility Programme has supported our project application and we are starting to implement a short-term networking project called Nordic-Baltic Photography Education Exchange. From now on, closer links with the Union of Photography Artists in EstoniaFine Arts department (Photography) of Estonian Arts Academy in Tallinn, and Fine Arts Department (Photography) of Turku Arts Academy in Finland will be build. The aim of the project is to increase the quality of photography education through synergies and information exchange among the partner institutions. You will also have a chance to meet our project partners’ representatives at ISSP in August!

Selected ISSP participants 2010

Here is the list of selected ISSP participants by workshop - an amazing group from 24 countries! covering 4 continents! :)
Special thanks to our evaluation committee - Arnis Balčus and Iveta Vaivode - for the difficult job of evaluating applications, since there were so many excellent ones…
A notification of the selection results has been sent to every applicant by email.

We are looking forward for participants’ confirmations and to seeing this colorful company come to Ludza!

ISSP 2010 application results coming soon

Dear all, we have completed the selection process and are getting ready to announce the results. The list of ISSP selected participants will be announced to applicants by email and on this site today - tomorrow.

ISSP 2010 applications completed

Dear all, the ISSP Application period is now closed. We have received 182 applications from a total of 41 countries. The runners-up after Latvia (54) are Germany (15), Italy/Russia (11), UK (10), and Finland/Turkey (7). The furthest ones are Canada/US, South Africa, and Hong Kong. We seem to have gone global this year. This is truly exciting, thank you all!

We are looking forward for evaluating the applications! The results of participants’ selection will be known by the end of the month - everyone who applied will hear from us. Have a great month of May! :)

ISSP 2010 Applications - 5 days to go

Just a reminder: the deadline for the ISSP 2010 Applications is 10 May 2010 as announced and will not be prolonged. We will be accepting applications till 24:00 Monday, 10th of May. Any applications arriving later will only be considered for the Waiting list, if at all.

Ps. We are already very excited about the amazing collection of applications that have already arrived (by now from 28 countries, 4 continents)! We wish you all good luck and are looking forward for the selection process!

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 :)