Survival Kit festival to bring diverse art offering to Rīga's left bank

This year, the annual contemporary art festival Survival Kit is changing its location, for the first time drawing art lovers to Rīga's left bank, called Pārdaugava. The abandoned Physics and Mathematics Faculty of the University of Latvia on Zeļļu street 25 will serve as the festival and exhibition venue from when it starts on May 23 at 7 p.m. 

The Contemporary Art Centre of Latvia, which organizes the festival, says its tenth edition has an especially diverse program. The artist Carla Garlaschi is starting the festival off with a live latin reggaeton diva performance, the visual character and texts of which depict the trials and intrigues of a Latin-American art persona. 

In the Presentation of the Princess Prada single 'Money Money', the tempestuous emotions of the heroine obsessed with status, continental philosophy, and television series eventually lead to a clash between global pop-culture and the past of regional politics.

After the performance, a young Latgalian rapper Ūga, real name Daiga Barkāne, will take the stage. Ūga is part of the underground hip-hop collective Ausmeņa Records, and happens to be the only female in the collective, which records music in the distinct Latgalian dialect of the Latvian language. Representing the entire spectrum of hip-hop culture, Ausmeņa Records have rappers, DJs, breakdancers, and graffiti artists among its cohort.

A celebrity disco will follow afterwards, featuring  the director of The Latvian National Museum of Art Māra Lāce, local and international sound artists from the Klik Klak collective, Elīza Āboltiņa and Labais Dāma of They are Here, the artist Ieva Balode, and the program director of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, all playing their favorite music in 30-minute sets.

Throughout the opening, the Let us land our time machines. Eva un Adele performance will be taking place. Its performers’ identities remain secret.

A total of  34 international and Latvian artists are participating in Survival Kit 10.1 exhibition and performance program, which runs from May 23 to June 30. 

The Centre of the Contemporary Art of Latvia, the organizer of the event, together with Solvita Krese, Inga Lāce, and Àngels Miralda, are examining the meaning of "outlands", subverting the traditional notions of geopolitical and cultural divides in both center and periphery, illuminating the complex process of identity formation.

It is no accident that the organizers have chosen an empty building in Rīga as the venue. The aim is to draw public attention to the potential uses of abandoned spaces. The former University of Latvia faculty was built in 1888 and initially served as an orphanage for German children, and then as a police academy.

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