Corner House Programme – Events, Concerts, Shows, Performances

Corner House Programme – Events, Concerts, Shows, Performances
Kaspars Garda, Riga 2014
The Corner House will be open to the public from the 1st of May until October. The project “Corner House: Case No. 1914/2014” will include five exhibitions in the building as well as a programme of various other events, which is provided below.

2nd of May, 4 p.m.
“Not Just Ērenpreiss”

Participants: Saulkrasti Bicycle Museum, LTD “Erenpreis Original”, Latvian Antique Bicycle club.
Demonstrations of antique bicycles. The history of the Ērenpreiss bicycle-manufacturing company and the restoration of antique bicycles today.

Organised by the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.

3rd of May, 7 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, Latvian Museum of the Occupation exposition

Venedikt Erofeev – “Walpurgis Night or the Steps of the Commander” (A tragedy/staged play reading; translation from the Russian: Eduards Liniņš).

Directed by Laura Čaupale, musical direction Orests Silabriedis and Ugis Vītiņš; Artūrs Skrastiņš as Lev Gurevich.
Venedikt Erofeev (1938-1990) completed his only play “Walpurgis Night or the Steps of the Commander” in 1985. About ten years later, an edition of Venechka’s legendary work came into the hands of Eduards Liniņš and he translated it into Latvian – not for any specific purpose, more because of his enthusiasm for the brilliance of the dialogue and pathos. Just about everyone who read the translated text at the time queried whether it had been worth the translator’s efforts, because it unquestionably belonged to a time in the past which would never return. That seemed an apt assessment: the Soviet Union had collapsed, the Iron Curtain had fallen, Russia, despite harrowing backward steps, was moving towards openness and the rule of law. The paranoia of the “builders of communism”, delirium of pan-Russian messianism and intoxication of imperial propaganda seemed to be diagnoses that time had defeated. That is how it may have seemed even in the second half of last year, when Eduards Liniņš and Orests Silabriedis, having met for the “Corner House. Case No. 1914/2014” project, remembered the long-forgotten idea to stage “Walpurgis Night” on the relevant date, the 30th of April. And now, recent events seem to have returned phantoms of lost eras to the European political stage. The play accurately diagnoses the mental state of the Soviet empire. And as shown by the latest activities in the post-Soviet space, such diagnoses are very difficult to treat. “I congratulate you all on the occasion of Workers’ International Solidarity Day, tovarischi patients!”

17th of May, 8 p.m. – 12 midnight
Museum Night at the Corner House. DJ Uldis Rudaks

Why were “2xBBM” banned? What did the legendary “Katedrāle” sound like? How did Raimonds Pauls fare on the art rock scene? What did “Sīpoli” and “Pērkons” sing about? What sort of dances did Hardijs Lediņš and Juris Boiko put on? What was “Dzeltenie pastnieki’s” bag? What was Zenta not allowed? There are endless questions about 1970s and 80s Latvian music, and, as ever, the best answer is to listen to the music.

On Museum Night in the Corner House courtyard, DJ Uldis Rudaks will be playing records that demonstrate the diversity of Latvian music during the decline of the Soviet era. Yes, the system could fight against musicians, suffering from unhealthy Western influences, with surveillance, instructions, prohibition and termination of their activity. But the music continued to play. The Iron Curtain and the ubiquitous vigilant ear restricted physical freedom, but from time to time, people’s minds had more freedom then than they do today. Museum Night invites you to the triumphal musical march of spiritual freedom in a kaleidoscopic compilation by outstanding DJ and Latvian music expert Uldis Rudaks.

28th, 29th, 30th, 31st of May, 7 p.m.

“Leftovers from the War”. International performing arts group show (in English)

Playwrights/actors: Nina Larissa Bassett (Denmark), Ivo Briedis (Latvia), Elin Patersdottir (Iceland), Janne Saarakkala (Finland)

The performance comprises the personal stories of four Nordic artists and is like an unusual tour through a historic building with live exhibits and ghosts of the past. They were all born in a time separated from World War II by nearly two generations, but they are still in a sense ready to feel like survivors of that war, or in the designation they have chosen – “leftovers”. This global catastrophe which affected, more or less, every European nation and territory and thus forged links between them, serves as the main historical axis around which the authors’ messages about their families’ destinies revolve. The authors – the biological successors to their ancestors – also become the revitalisation and reincarnation of their historical memories.
To date, “Leftovers from the War” has been staged at the well-known Finnish National History Museum in Helsinki and the Odsherred County (Denmark) local history museum and its surroundings. Now it is the turn of the Corner House – a place with a much less institutionalised interpretation of history, but infinitely more authentic, a leftover of a bygone era yet to be processed by museums.

7th of June, 12 noon
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Event “Commemorating Latvian Army General Kārlis Goppers (1876–1941)”

The 7th of June is Latvian Scouts’ Day, so the event will provide information about today’s Latvian scouts and guides with workshops, games and obstacle courses for young people, children and their parents.
Organised by the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

4th of July, 9 p.m.

Alix Landau-Brijatoff, Emmanuel Robert-Espalieu

“Just Enough Time to Pack a Few Things”
A one-act play for three characters with klezmer music / French with Latvian subtitles
Directed by Isabelle Starkier. Roles: Broša Jankelovica –Judith Magro, Blūma Jankeloviča-Landau – Valentine Varèla, newspaperman – Juris Žagars, violinist Eric Slabiak and the Les Yeux Noirs ensemble.

On the 14th of June, 1940, the Wehrmacht marched into Paris, the defeated French Government having proclaimed it an open city. On the 17th of June, 1940, Riga, ceding to a Soviet ultimatum, saw the arrival of the Red Army. In just a few days, World War II had seized two European capitals into its power and these have become the spatial reference points for the play by Landau-Brijatoff and Robert-Espalieu which is based on the book “Tombes lointaines” (Distant Tombs, Paris, 2009) by socio-psychologist and writer Alix Landau-Brijatoff. It is the story of the fate of the author’s family, which is revealed through one of the most horrific humanitarian disasters of the 20th century, the Holocaust. The author’s mother Blūma Landau was in Paris at the beginning of the war, her grandmother Broša Jankeloviča – in Riga. As luck would have it, when hostilities began in Europe in 1939, Blūma’s mother did not listen to the insistent calls of her own mother to move to Latvia, but joined her husband in southern France. Latvian neutrality, which seemed to assure a safe haven, turned out to be an illusory saviour, as also was the unshakeable power of the Red Army – like the lives of many thousands of Latvian Jews, Broša Jankeloviča’s life was cut short on 8 December 1941 in a mass grave at Rumbula, outside Riga.

The play’s dialogue is the conversation between two women – mother and daughter – across war-torn Europe; initially by telephone, but later – through diary entries meant for the other party or just thoughts expressed in phrases. The roles are played by notable French theatre and cinema actresses Judith Magro and Valentine Varèla. A third character, a newspaperman, breaks into in this intimate dialogue – the far-off voice of a chronicler of history (Juris Žagars). The unavoidable and unrelenting tragedy’s journey from foreboding into shocking reality creates the script’s dramatic acceleration. And, just as in life, the tragic situation pervades the play’s vibrant tonal palette with quotations from classic authors of various nations, Jewish fables and recipes, and the vitality of klezmer music.

19th of July, 4 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Lecture-demonstration: Military uniforms and accessories during World War I
Speaker: Georgs Kuklis-Rošmanis. An account of Russian army tunics and accessories during the First World War. Demonstrations of items from a private collection.

Organised by the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

13th of August, 6 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Lecture: “The Journey of Mērija Grīnberga (1909-1975) to Germany to accompany Latvia’s cultural treasures”
Speaker: Jānis Kalnačs Ph.D. The story of the forced removal to Germany of Latvia’s cultural treasures in 1944 and the destinies of the people who brought them back.

Organised by the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

22nd of August, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

International Conference “The Baltic Way – Inspiration for Political Change”

The Corner House will host part of the Baltic Way conference, taking place on the 21st and 22nd of August and dedicated to the unique statement of their aspirations for freedom and the restoration of statehood made by the Baltic people 25 years ago. The conference is organised by Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Riga 2014” foundation, Latvian Academy of Sciences – Baltic Centre for Strategic Studies and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The conference is part of the Baltic Way 25th anniversary programme. In 1989, marking the half century of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the direct outcome of which was the beginning of the Second World War and the destruction of the sovereignty of the Baltic States, around two million people joined a human chain connecting the three Baltic capitals. The Baltic Way became an unprecedentedly strong attestation of the desire for the restoration of statehood. As a vivid symbol in European and world history, as a unique model of non-violent resistance, this action has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage register.
The two-day conference covers a wide range of topics, comprehensively analysing the existence of societies and individuals under totalitarian regimes, various forms of resistance to such systems throughout their existence, the struggle for the renewal of statehood between 1985 and 1991, and where the collapse of totalitarianism lies in Europe’s historical memory.

The conference has invited leading history, political science and social memory researchers from countries including the Baltic States, Poland, Germany, Great Britain, USA, Russia and Ukraine.

23rd of August, 7 p.m.

Closing event of the campaign “The Reawakening Generation: Born together with Latvia”

How does the Third Reawakening generation or those who were “born together with Latvia” feel about the time they were born? What do the ideals, hopes and choices of their parents and grandparents mean to them? The campaign “The Reawakening Generation: Born together with Latvia” speaks to the Corner House visitors who were born from 1988 to 1991, asking them to tell their stories of the Third Reawakening (and record their stories on video) and share the photographs of the Baltic Way where they can be seen as children or that show their parents. The campaign will conclude with a “live chain” of young people joining hands in the Corner House, retelling the best stories, participating in a discussion about the Latvian identity today, a screening of excerpts from the stories they told on camera, and an exhibition of photographs they brought to the Corner House.

The event will be concluded by “Gaujarts” in concert, one of Latvia’s most distinctive indie bands, the sound and musical thinking of “Gaujarts” is instantly recognisable. Performances are somewhat ironic, a little resigned, their music has something of unrequited love, Bal-musette, fried potatoes in student lodgings and rain drops on windows and what’s more, they know what good poetry is. “Gaujarts” horizons do not begin at the threshold of Latvian independence, no, they know who Mirdza Ķempe, Ojārs Vācietis and Klāvs Elsbergs are. “Gaujarts” choose texts that seem relevant and that speak out.

3rd of September, 6 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Baltic German Day

Participants: “Domus Rigensis” Latvian-Baltic German Centre, Riga German Society vocal ensemble “Morgenrot”.
The memories of Renate Adolphi, archive manager at the Baltic-German Carl Schirren Society of Lüneburg (Germany) about her experiences in 1939. German music by the “Morgenrot” vocal ensemble.
Organised by the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

11th of September, 6:30 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Documentary film premiere: “Vārpa – the Promised Land”

The film portrays the exodus of Baptists from Latvia to Brazil in the early 1920s and the establishment of the Vārpa colony in the rainforest in the state of Sao Paulo. Seeking the answer to the question – how was it possible to maintain Latvian identity for almost a century in an exotic environment – eye witnesses of long-ago events are interviewed, their stories accompanied by a rich array of old photos and documents from Brazilian and Latvian archives. The film documents daily life and Latvian traditions in Vārpa today.
The making of the film was supported by Latvia’s State Culture Capital Foundation and the WFFL Cultural Foundation.

Organised by the film’s producer, the Latvians Abroad association – museum and research centre

19th of September, 6 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition / Courtyard

Discussion for schoolchildren: “I Hate History”

And what good are those history classes!? What’s good about knowing that a long time ago people were doing things that nobody does today? I don’t care! But perhaps… Perhaps those people were not that different at all? Perhaps it’s worth trying to do what they failed at? So at least we don’t end up where they did?

Representatives of the generation for whom the historic truth held within the building may seem just “a ghost or horror story” are invited to the discussion at the Corner House. The discussion brings together the “young” and “old”, teachers and pupils, history buffs and those who do not care about history. To some, the discussion may open up new horizons, whilst others may just strengthen their beliefs.

11th of October, 4 p.m.
Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Lecture “How Exhibits Reach Museums”. Speaker: Anita Gailiša, Manager, Inventory Department, Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

An account of how the collection of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation was established – in the past and today.
Organised by the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

19th of October
Time of the event TBA

Ground-floor hall, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia exposition

Closing event – a discussion “Should We Paint It?”

Participants in the “Corner House. File No. 1914/2014” project, cultural theorists and managers, representatives of creative industry organisations, government, municipalities and private cultural foundations, and property developers discuss the future utilisation of the Corner House.


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