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Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

Education

LCCA implements educational events for children, young people and grown-ups that stimulate understanding of contemporary art – creative workshops, excursions, talks, conversation workshops, presentations by artists and curators, discussions, thematic seminars, conferences – as well as publishing booklets, worksheets and guides. LCCA also organises LCCA Evening School, a cycle of text-reading workshops dedicated to contemporary art, an international LCCA Summer School as well as offering the opportunity to learn the skills of art messengers or mediators.

Education / For Kids and Families

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Curator: Māra Žeikare

Contacts: mara@lcca.lv

Tālr. + 371 67039282

LCCA educational programme for children and young people provides the opportunity to get to know the secrets of art and social processes through exhibitions and their accompanying events, acquire a creative attitude towards life through encounters with artists and discover the different forms of contemporary art. In this section of the page you will find information on current activities for families with children and school groups, as well as practical materials about contemporary art for children and young people – exciting guides about Latvian artists.

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Education / Art Mediation

LCCA Art Mediation programme is a special series of activities where people from different professions, each based on their own experience as well as engagement with the particular exhibition, are able to assist different viewers, enabling everyone to make the most of their visit to the exhibition. Art mediators are trained at events organised by the LCCA following pre-announced open calls, both by providing information on the themes of the particular exhibitions as well as training practical communication skills with the public.

Aija Kaula is a doctor of chemistry who has been working in the banking sector since the 1990s. Aija is particularly fond of contemporary art, which has become a serious hobby for her.
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Short portfolios of the art mediators

Education / Evening School

LCCA Evening School is a series of text reading workshops and lectures taking place since 2013. LCCA Evening School is based on the familiarisation with the current contemporary art processes with the aim of fostering the development of critical thinking and discussion in the Latvian art scene. Various issues in contemporary art are discussed through the experience of reading texts of important theoreticians. 

Reading Workshops 2020


These are non-academic and informal discussions about seminal texts, devoted to current issues of contemporary art as well as exploration of the recent past.

The programme is curated by Ieva Astahovska.


#1 Reading Workshop
 07. 04. 2020.

Pandemic and Its Metaphors

COVID-19 pandemic is causing a seemingly unprecedented state of emergency, which is challenging not only the health sector but also many other social fields. It has changed everyone's daily lives beyond recognition, bringing fear and frustration, slow-down, social distance and self-isolation, new ways of communication and surveillance, and also a new spirit of solidarity.

This state of affairs also raises a number of ethical and ontological issues. The Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito asks what essentially characterizes today, its potentialities and also its contradictions, and attempts to respond with the key word: the category of immunity and immunization. Immunization alludes to a particular situation that keeps someone safe from the risks to which she or he is exposed. However, at the same time it is the opposition of a the category of community. If the community is characterized by concern for one another, immunity repeals this condition, it breaks the circuit of social circulation, placing someone outside of it. Thus it is linked to today's demands and hopes, but also to the conflicts and traumas.

However, demands for the self-protection characterizes every society, and unexpected global spread of deadly viruses has affected societies also in the past. Susan Sontag in her work, AIDS and Its Metaphors discusses how diseases, including pandemics, create new metaphors and myths – the spread of deadly viruses has been compared to invasion, pollution, attack by alien enemy, or the apocalyptic world. Such metaphors are a pessimistic view of the epidemiological situation, which create paranoia, not an explanation. “That even an apocalypse can be made to seem part of the ordinary horizon of expectation constitutes an unparalleled violence that is being done to our sense of reality, to our humanity. But it is highly desirable for a specific dreaded illness to come to seem ordinary. Even the disease most fraught with meaning can become just an illness.”

Texts:

• Roberto Esposito, “Immunisation and Violence”, 2008.

• Susan Sontag, AIDS and its Metaphors, 1989, pp. 44–71.



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#2 Reading Workshop
28. 04.2020.

Ecopolitics / Ecopoetics

The current global pandemic means that we are facing not only a medical, social and economic emergency but also an environmental and ecological crisis. Human’s impact on the Earth’s ecosystem has created dramatic climate change and cataclysms, as well as other challenges that call us to seek alternative models of contemporary reality. These models would be based on new perspectives, ethics and forms of responsibility, and would form new relationships, not only between people but also between living and non-living things, between nature and culture and between society and the environment.

These new perspectives are being analysed by scientists, philosophers, artists and many others, but the most inspiring search lies in an intersectional approach that brings together diverse fields, and prioritises transnational and anticapitalist solidarity, where local and global thinking and acting are simultaneous.

Texts:

• Astrida Neimanis, “Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water”. In Undutiful Daughters: Mobilizing Future Concepts, Bodies and Subjectivities in Feminist Thought and Practice. Eds. Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni and Fanny Söderbäck. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 85–99.

 Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, “For Slow institutions”. E-flux Journal #85, October 2017.



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#3 Reading Workshop
19.05.2020.

Digital Space

With cultural institutions closed due to the pandemic, many are looking for an alternative to physical space—museum exhibitions, theater performances, concerts, even festivals and art fairs are moving to the digital environment through streaming services and virtual reality. If previously immersive media and augmented reality remained niche areas, with social distancing, digital technologies are experiencing unprecedented demand and new audiences.

The digital environment seems to be promoting democratisation opportunities, providing unprecedented access to a wide range of cultural events on a global scale and offering new experiences. The potential of the digital space is also invaluable in the field of education—almost all activities that previously took place in the physical space are now transferred to a virtual environment. However, the key challenge is to use digital platforms and services in a constructive and critical way, understanding privacy issues and the risks of new types of surveillance and control.

Texts:

• Florian Cramer, “What is ‘Post-digital’?”, in Berry D.M., Dieter M. (eds), Postdigital Aesthetics. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015, pp. 12–25.

• David M. Berry, “The Postdigital Constellation”, Berry D.M. in: Berry D.M., Dieter M. (eds), Postdigital Aesthetics. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015, pp. 44–57.



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#4 Reading Workshop
09. 06. 2020.

Post-Socialism and Nationalism

The workshop is organised in collaboration with philosopher and researcher Toms Ķencis.
As early as 1882, Ernest Renan in his famous lecture “What Is a Nation?” (Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?) concludes that for nations, forgetting some past events is as important as remembering others. The twentieth century offers much to forget, and time accelerates more by each year. Collective memory and cultural heritage have replaced history as the central form of representation of the past. In the twenty-first century, this raises more and more questions: What is a community or collective that remembers? Do we need to remember everything? Is it art’s task to remind something?

National identities in the former Socialist Bloc countries are further complicated by a number of factors: the radicalization of nationalism in the postcolonial environment, the contradictions between ethnic and territorial concepts of the nation, the devastating effects of neoliberal capitalism on social ties, transitional violence and the lack of adequate theoretical tools. Therefore, this time we invite you to join us looking at the relationship between the nation and memory through concepts related to contemporary art and monuments.

 Texts:

• Piotr Piotrowski, “Between Real Socialism and Nationalism”, in: P. Piotrowski, Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe. Reaktion Books, London, 2012, pp. 155–201.

• Harry Weeks, “’After-War’: Kristina Norman and the Negotiation of Post-Communist Community”. [2012]



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#5 Reading Workshop
07. 07. 2020.

Rasism and Eastern Europe

Currently, one of the most vivid and visible global movements is Black Lives Matter, which demands a fundamental, systemic change in racial inequality and fights for the rights of black people. In a broader perspective, it is also mapping relations among colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial capital, which continue to create new forms of oppression and exclusion.

In Latvia, the dominant political narrative is that the country is racism-free; however, a recent example such as the refugee crisis in Europe reveals “the exclusionary character of national discourse together with a social environment conducive to the development of hostility to the entry of ethnoracially marked migrants” (Law & Zakharov, 2018: 125). The wish to preserve ethno-racial uniqueness in the Baltic countries is largely informed by the parallel processes of globalisation and Europeanisation. The emergence and legacy of racism in Eastern and post-Soviet countries also reveals further complexity, including a “process of racial Europeanisation which privileges Western Europe and denies the agency of Eastern European states in this process, and attempts to rediscover the privileged whiteness that has been partly lost during the socialist past” (Law & Zakharov, 114).

What role do art institutions play in maintaining and preventing systemic racism and related inequalities? What changes would be needed in institutions, beyond representing black artists in their collections and exhibitions? Currently, in museums in the United States and Europe, debate about the history and exclusive nature of art institutions themselves has intensified, with many trying to fundamentally rethink their accessibility and encourage openness to different voices and knowledge systems. In light of this, we might also ask how these processes resonate in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region?

Texts:

• Achille Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason. Duke University Press Books, 2017, pp. 10–37.

• Ian Law, Nikolay Zakharov, “Race and Racism in Eastern Europe: Becoming White, Becoming Western”, in: Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness. Eds P. Essed, K. Farquharson, K. Pillay, E.J. White. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 113–139.



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#6 Reading Workshop
23. 09. 2020.

Freedom and Control

As early as his 1990 essay “Postscript on Societies of Control”, Gilles Deleuze had claimed that instead of the ‘disciplinary society’ described by Michel Foucault, we are now living in a ‘control society’, which functions as an enclosed form of freedom within strictly delimited, but obscured, boundaries. Deleuze further explained that the model of power today is not a panopticon, but rather a freeway, where people can drive infinitely and ‘freely’ without being confined yet still being perfectly controlled.

Today, this model is vividly exemplified by social media, data flows and the digital environment in general. Users experience an illusory freedom to navigate in the way they choose, but the digital environment and the algorithms behind it invisibly control what they seek and how they act. Furthermore, in political governance, digital and online methods allow for wider implementation of surveillance and control, thereby legitimating discrimination and authoritarianism.

In his work The New Dark Age, artist and writer James Bridle addresses these issues, surveying the history of art, technology and information systems. He observes that as the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. The belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and that more data will help us build a better world, is confronted with the awareness that in reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories and post-factual politics.

Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests, starting with financial systems and shopping algorithms, and ranging through to artificial intelligence and state secrets.

Texts:

• Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control”. October, Vol. 59 (Winter, 1992), pp. 3–7.

• James Bridle, “Complexity”. The New Dark Age. Technology and the End of the Future. Verso, 2018, pp. 194–253.

Education / Summer School

LCCA Summer School is an international programme of informal education for young and future artists, art and culture critics, curators and culture managers from Latvia and abroad. LCCA Summer School gives its participants the opportunity to exchange ideas with lecturers, guest-curators and workshop supervisors recognised in the art world, developing the skills of critical thinking, argumentation and debate in an interdisciplinary format as well as inviting the participants to collective creative practices.


Britta Marakatt-Labba, Historja, 2003-2007 (fragment), Embrodery, print, appliqué, and wool on linen
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Call for Participants !

Summer School Communicating Difficult Pasts in Kuldīga, 2–7 August 2019 


Deadline for applications: 3 June


MA and PhD humanities students, as well as early-career artists, art historians, curators and cultural studies researchers are welcome to apply.

We live in a time of increasing violence, which is gender, community and class based. These aspects need to be considered in order to understand its operation, while finding ways to communicate both past and present violence has become pertinent for understanding contemporary societies. This year’s Summer School programme will explore the complexities of communicating the 20th-century past, and analyse how art and culture can advance debates and thus influence current realities.

For the sixth year the Summer School of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) is held in cooperation with Kuldīga Artist Residency, the Art Academy of Latvia and the Estonian Academy of Arts. The Summer School continues to draw on developments in critical thinking, artistic research and creative practices related to actual debates in contemporary culture. This year its central theme will be how violent pasts remain with us and how contemporary artistic research and curatorial projects have found ways to mediate their different dimensions. Our programme will bring together interdisciplinary scholars, artists and curators who have analysed the contemporary legacies of the Second World War and related them to Cold War and postcolonial frameworks .

Difficult knowledge (Roger Simon, Erica Lehrer) and difficult heritage (Sharon MacDonald) offer important perspectives to traumatic and long-silenced histories and modes of their remembering. These discourses bring themes which are often invisible or marginalised in public knowledge. Artists and scholars engaging with these subjects confront the increasingly prevailing representations of selective memory, which by rejecting particular experiences, ignore difficult history. The mediations of difficult pasts we will touch upon concern violent conflicts and traumatic losses, their afterlives in personal experiences, the lives of communities owing to forced migration and deportation, subjugation of indigenous people, practices of exclusion and othering of communities. For instance, how could more complex and layered histories be told that complement disputed pasts with new perspectives, in ways that combine critical consciousness with empathic understanding? How could violent histories be narrated in ethical and audience-conscious ways? The Summer School programme will draw parallels between different histories, which are often confronted with each other in competing terms. Furthermore, we will consider how to apply intersectionality to thinking about the past and present in the Baltic Sea region .

The Summer School Communicating Difficult Pasts will focus on the uneasy relations between pasts and presents, their entangled nature in the 20th century and the impact that these difficult histories have left to contemporary realities in the Baltic Sea region. Topics such as the legacy of right- and left-wing ideologies and their impact on rising populism, intolerance towards cultural difference and marginalisation of ethnic minorities or queer communities are entangled in the region with histories of the Holocaust, Soviet repressions and colonialisms. These experiences are often addressed, researched and discussed locally or nationally; this Summer School aims at understanding the relationships between these difficult and traumatic pasts and articulating their influences and presence today through the perspective of shared histories.

Speakers organising workshops and lectures are distinguished thinkers and experts in the fields of visual art, cultural history and theory, as well as memory, feminist and LGBTQ+ studies. They will introduce research and curatorial projects and discuss intersections between minority studies, postcommunist and postcolonial discourses. The speakers include Violeta Davoliūtė, Professor of Political Science at Vilnius University (tbc), Ilya Lensky, Director of the Museum ‘Jews in Latvia’ (tbc), artist Harri Pälviranta from Finland, Adi Kunstma, Senior Lecturer from the University of Manchester and Norwegian-Sami artist Máret Ánne Sara.

The curators of the Summer School programme are Ieva Astahovska and Margaret Tali.

Participation in the Summer School is free of charge; however, participants must cover partial accommodation and catering costs of 80 EUR.

To apply to participate, please fill out the application form: tiny.cc/lccasummerschool

and submit it by email with a CV and a letter of motivation in English. Additionally, you can add a creative portfolio including projects or one to two publications related to the theme.

The deadline for applications is 3 June 2019. Please email the documents to: lccasummerschool@gmail.com. We will respond to applicants by 14 June.

For any questions regarding application, please contact Ieva Astahovska at ieva.ast@gmail.com