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Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

Ecosystems of Change. A series of conversations, artistic research, journeys and experiences

28.11.21

Welcome to the series of conversations, artistic research, journeys and experiences “Ecosystems of Change” that will take place in the urban environment in Riga and elsewhere. We’ll inform about the upcoming event dates after 15 November.


Events within this series are created by artists in collaboration with researchers, with participants including: Vika Eksta, Haralds Matulis, Liene Lāce, Linda Boļšakova, Inga Erdmane, Anita Zariņa, Ivo Vinogradovs, Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits. The series is curated by Ieva Astahovska. 


Change seems to be the most continuous characteristic of the postsocialist space, and we continue to experience it at ever-increasing speed. Since the 1990s, this has been partly due to the legacy of the recent past—the life between “after” and a “not-yet-completed” change of system. Even though we move further away from this past, the conditions of endless social and political turmoil, the ecological crisis and the pandemic are forcing us to accept and adapt to changes as a natural process of the present and also the future, similar to the development of species who are constantly undergoing transformations and at the same time tending to resist them.


The focus of this series of events is on social, political and ecological change, the relationship between humans, the environment, nature and culture, reminding us that we are part of a much wider ecosystem, or ecosystems. These are all experiencing a constant flow of energy and information, changing due to human influence and creating novel ecosystems that significantly differ from what they have been historically.


The legacy of the past, the meaning and experience of place, issues of identity and belonging, memory and the intertwining of historically significant and mundane events—these are just some of the aspects that the events of this series address. Artists in interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists, environmental researchers, geographers and biologists will seek to explore the complex and often paradoxical nature of change in our region, thinking through critical environmental and ecological perspectives and choosing both political and poetic attitudes.



Program of events


>> October 16, at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

Haralds Matulis and Liene Lāce - Journey to Chernivtsi 

Location: Pētersala


Chernivtsi is a city in the Carpathians, yet is surprisingly similar to Riga. It is also known as Little Vienna, the Babylon of Southern Europe and Jerusalem near Prut. Although it has been a part of Austro-Hungary for a long time, it now sits within the Ukraine. “Journey to Chernivtsi” focuses on the experience of traveling in the space of post-socialism and post-colonialism. Minsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi are associated with Soviet and post-Soviet times. This time touches on nostalgia for the memories of past Soviet childhoods, with a nineties feeling created by the dress, light walls, advertisements, covered parasols and plastic chairs. There are still few tourists, but a boom is expected soon, everyone wants to earn.


On October 16, theatre director Haralds Matulis and human geographer Liene Lāce invite extends an invitation to a trip to Chernivtsi. The trip will depart from the 19th trolleybus destination in Riga, Pētersalas Street. We invite you to dress warmly: in October the average air temperature in Chernivtsi is 10 degrees. Recollection after the journey.


 The number of participants is limited. We therefore request that you please fill in the application form.



>> October 16 and 17, from 12pm – 4pm

Linda Boļšakova. Living Memory.

Location: Former Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, Kronvalda Boulevard 4


What do memories of place and the place of memories in culture and individually mean for each of us? Is it to remember what has been submerged in the past? How important is physical space in the preservation of memory? Can our memories—like plant species—disappear if they lose their biotope? Remembering is a creative process that involves the imagination. Sometimes it means diving into dark waters, where almost nothing is visible. The way we look to the past largely determines our future trajectory.


The only natural stand of the alpine butterwort in Latvia, found on Staburags cliff, was flooded in 1965, creating the water reservoir of Pļaviņu Hydroelectric Power Station. Currently, the alpine butterwort, which is one of the witnesses of the last ice age in Latvia, grows only in special laboratory conditions. The alpine butterwort of Latvian origin has disappeared completely, as the butterwort currently grown in the Salaspils Botanical Garden comes from seeds harvested in Estonia.

The artist Linda Boļšakova extends an invitation to a performance of a multisensory experience for one person.


 The number of participants is limited. We therefore request that you please fill in the application form.



>> We’ll inform about the rescheduled event date after 30.11.2021

Inga Erdmane and Anita Zariņa. 

Unless I Move, The Earth Becomes Flatter

Location: Spilve


Spilve meadows are an area reclaimed from the sea, located about 20 to 50 cm below sea level. There are about fifty thousand hectares of such artificially created areas in Latvia. The drainage of bogs and wet meadows began during the time of Latvia’s first republic and triumphed with great success during the Soviet years. Now they have been forgotten.


In this site-specific talk, you will learn how Spilve meadows affect the Baltic Sea and its ecosystem during a trip through the meadows accompanied by artist Inga Erdmane and geographer Anita Zariņa.


 The number of participants is limited, please fill in the application form.



>> December 3

Vika Eksta. People of the Marsh

Location: Grāveri, Krāslava county


In the hope of engaging in conversation with the inhabitants of Grāveri, Vika Eksta invites them to a free viewing of the 2004 documentary Seda: People of the Marsh (director Kaspars Goba). The life of the ethnically diverse society depicted in the film in the early 2000s resonates with everyday life in Grāveri today, where people are also living far from the capital and have learned to rely only on their own selves. After the screening of the film, in a conversation with the artist, viewers are invited to share their experiences of how they live and feel today. What have been the most significant changes in Grāveri in recent decades? How do inhabitants live together or struggle with changes in the environment? Do they help each other to cope and, if so, how?


The event takes place in cooperation with the Grāveri Cultural Centre.



>> December 10, 5pm (EET)

Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits

Deep Sensing: The Ecology of Post-Soviet Military Industries

Location: RIXC Gallery, Lenču Street 2, Riga


In 2001, the RT-32 radio telescope in Irbene, Western Latvia, hosted the legendary symposium on radio astronomy and sound art: “RT-32 Acoustic Space Lab.” At that time, only a few years had passed since scientists and society had learned of the existence of this secret object. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of its military forces from Latvia in 1994, this object was given to scientists. The gigantic 32-meter antenna was designed to receive signals from the air and depths of space and was once used for both spying and interception of artificial satellite signals.


Twenty years later, returning to the Irbene radio telescope—which currently functions as Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center, home to scientific research into deep space exploration and now open to tourists—the artists are launching a new art research project titled “Deep Sensing,” which focuses on socio-ecological issues. How has this isolated object of communication and the legacy of the secret Soviet military industry changed today, when some of the most urgent issues are the challenges posed by climate change and the pandemic? In “Deep Sensing,” the artists use new sensory perception technologies, immersive media and aesthetic practices to take a critical look at the tools of modern civilisation as a glorification of the fulfillment of intellect, imagination and desire, isolated from our sensory world, bodily experience and environment, to create new visions for the future in a socio-ecological direction.


The artists will invite you to a multimedia presentation of this art research and to face-to-face and online discussions with the scientists involved in the project.



The series of events “Ecosystems of Change” is organised within the framework of the project “Reflecting Post-Socialism through Postcolonialism in the Baltics” by the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art. The project analyses the imprints of post-socialism and post-colonialism in the Baltic region, exploring them through the current ecological crisis, environmental issues and nationalism.


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The project is supported by the target program “KultūrELPA” of the State Culture Capital Foundation.


Partners: Grāveri Cultural Centre, University of Latvia and the Museum of the University of Latvia, RIXC.


Graphic design: Alexey Murashko
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