Gundega Laiviņa: The Main Roles Are Going to Inhabitants of Riga
Every house can be a culture house
‘The cultural outlook remains centralized, both, in the physical and the mental space. Everyone is seasoned in attending their nearest supermarket, but, as soon as there is a cultural or artistic event somewhere in the vicinity, in a less traditional space, it is viewed with suspicion, since usually the culture is thought to be found in the center,’ Gundega says.
Why cultural events are always relegated to non-traditional spaces outside the center? Predominantly, for the lack of other options, as most of the neighborhood architecture cannot offer spaces for art and cultural proceedings.
In the process of preparing 'Riga 2014 – European Capital of Culture' program, out of personal interest, Gundega mapped the cultural space of Riga and concluded that cultural edifices, in the most densely populated districts, simply cannot be found.
‘Experience attests that the centers of art and culture propel the social life to a new level and strengthen the identity of place and the sense of belonging to it.’
The main roles will be taken by inhabitants of Riga
Relatively divided into two large sections, namely, the events in the neighborhoods and documentation of Riga by artistic means or in the art work, about 20 projects of the ‘Road Map’ are planned for the whole length of the year.
‘A large number of these programs will ‘star’ the Rigan as their main protagonist, the central character and co-author. In my opinion, it is very important,’ Gundega Laiviņa is convinced.
One of the main events of this thematic line is the documentary ‘Force Majeure. Riga,’ produced by ‘Mistrus Media.’ The idea of the film was born in one of the first brain-stormings, which were organized when Riga was only preparing to enter the competition for the status of the European cultural capital.
The new full length documentary will be sum of the episodes filmed by different documentary directors. Colleagues in creation of the film will be outstanding documentalists from several European countries, each joined by a social anthropologist, who will ‘open them the doors of Riga’ and take part in the process of filming. The artists will begin their work already in the summer of 2013, but the film will be premiered in September next year, and I hope it will not be second to ‘Paris, I love you’ or our legendary ‘Side-street.’ The master-work of professionals will be accompanied by workshop, organized by the Film Center for young learners, in which they will create their own films about their neighborhoods.’
May – the month of photography
May 2014 is to become the month when Riga is taken over by photography – intensive inter-action between professional photographers and inhabitants of Riga will occur ranging from open platform, where everyone living in Riga will be invited to offer their photography, to exhibition of professional photo art in the cityscape. This project is generated by a group of organizations ranging in diversity from the on-line photo-magazine ‘Fotokvartāls’ to International Summer school of photography, which is already working on the initiative ‘Contemporary Portraits and Self-portraits.’ In this project, professionals in the field will act in various of Riga’s neighborhoods on perfecting the skills of neighborhood members in photography, and the result of this inter-action will be displayed in an exposition.
A wonderful documentation of Riga will be the collaboration of photographer Kaspars Goba and author Gundega Repše in a project reflecting the islands of Riga.
Gundega is at work on the text and Kaspars is photographing Riga’s islands, which are among the features of the town’s geography undergoing dramatic and irreversible change as a result of its development. The book will be opened next spring, while the photo show will invite its audience in May as part of the photo – month project.
Urban art and poetry
Another event Gundega wishes to underline is the art festival ‘Black Canvas’ expected in the spring and the Festival of urban poetry planned for the summer. ‘The aim, for both these events, is to include a possibly large number of neighborhoods and to create programs, resulting in artworks, which will remain in the cityscape as objects of environment art. The center of attention for ‘Black Canvas’ will be graffiti, which are to be taken to an entirely new level, namely, to be turned from an element degrading the urban environment into an art form worthy of admiration, thanks to participation of the artists of the highest rank, who will create new art work in Riga. And the Festival of urban poetry, in turn, will move the epicenter of cultural events to such neighborhoods as Purvciems, Zolitūde, Brasa, Grīziņkalns, Sarkandaugava and Torņakalns.