In cooperation with the Goethe Institute the contemporary art festival Survival Kit 13 is organizing The Hearing Voices Café – an ambitious program of events, which will take place in a pop-up cafe at the festival venue which will be open throughout the duration of the festival in cooperation with the "Borscht - dinner with Ukrainians" team.

The Hearing Voices Café is a project of the Goethe-Institut incorporated into a comprehensive package of measures for which the Federal Foreign Office provides funding from the 2022 Supplementary Budget to mitigate the effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

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FRIDAY, 9 September

Otherwise – who would sing
Dance party and a story evening about the practices of cultural resistance during the Singing Revolution


Venue: “Hearing Voices Café”, Pils iela 23

The event will be held in Latvian.

Organized by Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in collaboration with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

By creating and widely enforcing certain ideologized aesthetic canons, the totalitarian Soviet regime created vast opportunities for the so-called intonational opposition. Any cultural product that was so much as neutral towards the officially pushed method (called “socialist-realism”) and its clichés, potentially became an antithesis to the ideologized aesthetics and thus to the ideology that lay at its core. Of course, this veiled, but nearly omnipresent, opposition didn’t limit itself with the field of academic, or professional, art. Rather, it really bloomed in the areas of popular culture, entertainment, and amateur art; and by doing so it influenced the lifestyles and worldviews of a large part of society. It is one of the most important factors – even the most important of all –, that prepared society for the social and political changes that came in the 1980s / 1990s.

The aim of the discussion Otherwise – who would sing is to uncover the expressions of the intonational opposition during the final stages of the USSR, via the experiences of certain partakers in this process. Non-academic music, and its significance in breaking down the social and cultural structures of the USSR, will be made a point of focus. This will be achieved, at least partly, by comparing the cultural spaces of Latvia and Germany, and the points of intertwinement thereof.

After the discussion we’ll return to the sound of the 1980s and 1990s and experience at least a smidge of the power that was flowing through the musical freedom of the era. Dance music by the legendary disc-jockey Roberts Gobzins will carry us onwards through the twists and turns of collective and perhaps even unexperienced memories.


Eduards Liniņš is a host/commentator on Latvian Radio shows. Since 2006, he has been crafting programmes on history, foreign policy, culture, etc. on Latvian Radio 1.

Dainis Mjartāns graduated from the Latvian Gymnasium in Münster and studied Politics and Communication Sciences at the University of Berlin. He holds a master’s degree in Public Relations. From 1995 to 2004 he worked for Radio Free Europe in Prague. One of the organisers of the World Latvian Youth Congress in Haiko, Finland in 1989. Initiator of the World Latgalian Meeting in 1992 in Rezekne. Since 2004 lives in Latvia. Together with his fellow thinkers he has established a Latvian art centre in Cēsis. Published in Diena, Nordeuropa Forum, Jaunā Gaita, Laiks, Via Latgalica, and others. Member of the National Council for Electronic Media (NCEM) from 2012 to 2017. Currently Member of the Board of the official publisher of Latvia Latvijas Vēstnesis.

Valdis Ābols is a translator and editor of the magazine Rīgas Laiks (since 2012). In the 1980s, he was a singer-songwriter, a member of the folk band Akcents and an activist of the Environmental Protection Club.

Zane Šmite is a singer, ethnomusicologist and folkmusician currently teaching at Jāzepa Vītola Latvian Academy of Music.

*The event is accessible to people with disabilities. Before visiting the festival, please read about the accessibility here. If you need special access requirements or have any questions about the accessibility of the festival, please contact us at