FIELDS – Contemporary Art Exhibition at Arsenāls

FIELDS – Contemporary Art Exhibition at Arsenāls
Kristīne Briede
Yet another major event of the “Riga 2014” Programme – the opening of the international contemporary media art exhibition FIELDS and the “Art+Communication 2014” festival is set for the 15th of May at 6 p.m.

The exhibition FIELDS will be surprisingly diverse in terms of new ideas and revisited themes, as well as aesthetic forms. The exhibition will present approximately forty contemporary avant-garde works that brilliantly and dynamically interpret the present time, challenging existing viewpoints and deconstructing social issues, but also offering positive visions for the future.

The changing role of art in society is one where it doesn’t just create a new aesthetic but gets involved in patterns of social, scientific, and technological transformations. FIELDS, jointly curated by Rasa Šmite, Raitis Šmits and Armin Medosch, presents an inquiry into patterns of renewal and transition. The curators posed the question of which expanded fields of artistic practice offer new ideas for overcoming the crisis of the present and developing new models of a more sustainable and imaginative way of life.

The organisation of the exhibition is in full swing at the Arsenāls exhibition hall at the moment. One of the first guest artists to arrive in Riga is Heiko Hansen from the artistic association HeHe in Paris, setting up the “Radeau de Sauvetage” – a sailboat that travels along an abandoned narrow-gauge railway.

HeHe artists approach the problem of abandoned technological infrastructure with a good deal of humour, putting forward works of art as an alternative to public transport.

Another artist from Paris, Shu Lea Cheang will present the “Seeds Underground” project, emphasising the preservation of agricultural plants and seed diversity in Europe. During the Night of Museums on the 17th of May, the exhibition FIELDS will host Shu Lea Cheang’s interactive performance “Seeds Underground Party” at 7 p.m., where visitors will have the opportunity to exchange various plant and vegetable seeds, sharing and acquiring something valuable or beautiful for their gardens.

Lisa Jevbratt, a Swedish artist living in the United States, brings to Riga a very unusual work – she created her “Zoomorph Laboratory” in collaboration with colour eyesight researchers. “Zoomorph” is special software that simulates how animals see. FIELDS visitors will also have a chance to see the world through a red fox’s eyes, for example.
          
Whereas Latvian artist Gints Gabrāns together with microbiologist Jānis Liepiņš will present new, genetically-modified bacteria enzymes, with the help of which humans could absorb one-third more nutrients even if eating grass and tree branches. This, he believes, is a feasible solution to the future problem of overpopulation in the world.

The exhibition will also include the Serbian artists’ collective project, an interactive game about oil platforms in the Baltic Sea, Richard Barbrook and Ilze Black’s interpretation of Guy Debord’s “The Game of War”, the radical London artist YoHa’s video about Edward Snowden and U.S. global surveillance activities, the latest work by Voldemārs Johansons – a rotating sound object, Mārtiņš Ratniks’ visualisation of electromagnetic fields in old TV sets.

The artists who participate in the FIELDS exhibition possess imagination that knows no borders – their works focus on agrarian and electromagnetic fields, fields of perception and vision, the human body as a field, power lines and data fields, oil fields, the fields where the private and the public overlap, fields where honey bees gather nectar, and much more. These are just a few examples of the intriguing works that will be displayed at the exhibition FIELDS. The exhibition will run at the LNMA exhibition hall Arsenāls from the 16th of May to the 3rd of August.
          
More information about the exhibition and contemporary art will be provided during lectures that the exhibition curators, art researchers Armin Medosch, Miško Šuvaković and Ieva Astahovska’s will read at the Goethe Institute on Friday, the 16th of May (admission free of charge). There will be guides at the exhibition to help the visitors navigate through the multiple works of art; guided group visits may also be arranged. Guided group tours will take place on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m., and free educational tours are available for schoolchildren. To book a visit, write to rixc@rixc.lv or call 26546776.  

The European Capital of Culture Programme of Riga is prepared and run by the foundation “Riga 2014” in collaboration with state, municipal and non-governmental cultural organisations and creative associations. The Programme is financed by the Riga City Council, Ministry of Culture and the European Commission, and offered to the public in partnership with “Lattelecom”, which also provides technical support for the Programme.

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