SERDE: yearbook 2014-2015

Page 1


2014 / 2015


RIGA 2014 - FREEDOM GARDEN The “Freedom Garden” was planted at Vidzemes Market in Riga. It is an aesthetically ecological research-oriented project aiming at creation of real urban garden in big city. Its main idea is to urge thinking about the idea of urban garden in the center of town and returning to ground values, traditions and long-forgotten skills such as ability to grow edible and medicinal greens on window sills, balconies and terraces in the city. The idea of the project, which was part of the “Riga 2014” Program, goes back to 2009. The Garden of Freedom at the Vidzeme Market had an autonomous irrigation system and various technical solutions adapted for gardening in the urban environment. Various vegetables and culinary herbs were growing in the garden.



RIGA 2014 - HARVESTING During the contemporary culture forum “White Night” at Vidzemes Market was “Freedom Garden” harvesting. During the event audience was invited to harvest and prepare the crops for the winter. Architect Ivars Šmits shared his experience in urban gardening. Actor Varis Klausītājs and artist Kate Seržāne together with audience went through the path of vegetable life. Lithuanian artist Ruta Vitkauskaite leaded the vegetable instrument workshop were everyone had a chance to create an instrument from some vegetable and to play in vegetable orchestra. As an evening closing performance was first performed the “Aronia M. Overture” which was collaboration project by tree artists: composer Ruta Vitkauskaite (LT/UK), sound artist Karl Heinz Jeron (GER) and artist Bartaku (BE)



RIGA 2014 - ARONIA OVERTURE “Aronia M. Overture” is collaboration project by tree artists: composer Ruta Vitkauskaite (LT/UK), sound artist Karl Heinz Jeron (GER) and artist Bartaku (BE) The “Aronia M. Overture” is an attempt to assist the Aronia Melanocarpa (Chokeberry) in expressing its essence and the relations to its ambient environment: a former Soviet plantation on the edge of a Latvian village that since 1991 transformed from a monoculture into a more biodiverse ecosystem. Since 2009 artist/researcher Bartaku annually explores and develops the narrative of the 1Ha Aronia M. Plantation (1HAMP) as part of his ongoing research “PhoEf: The Undisclosed Poésis of the Photovoltaic Effect”. In 2013 he met composer Ruta Vitkauskaite and sound artist Karl Heinz Jeron, and asked them if they would be interested in creating the Aronia M. Overture. The reason of composition – to introduce Aronia M. making its qualities speak through musical gestures and musical expressions e.g. translate the astringency of the berry that dries out mouth and closes the throat (hence, chokeberry) through the use of extended singing techniques for the creation of dry sounds..



RĪGA 2014 - GROWING TEXTILE Aizpute - Montmeyran These two woven textile installations compare rural areas in France and Latvia. One of the textiles represents the Latvian town of Aizpute, where the artist has been in residency in 2012 and 2014, and the other one represents the artist’s home town of Montmeyran in France. Both sites are similar in some respects (population, size, geographical features, etc ...) but they are very different with regard to their integration into nature, their relation to agriculture, the importance of green spaces access to them, etc. For creating the pattern, the artist has used satellite images and photos of both places. Riga - Marseille The idea of the two of four woven textile pieces are to compare two urban places: how similar they are in size, population, etc., but different in their approach to nature. Riga as European Capital of Culture 2014 and Marseille as European Capital of Culture 2013. For inspiration, the artist has researched satellite images and photos of both cities. The artist has also collected some items that bring those cities to remembrance, and introduced them into the weaving.





Participants: Kārlis Alainis, Anda Poikāne, Ieva Saulīte, Edgars Ošs, Gunārs Dzelme (LV), Remigija Vaitkute, Albinas Jukumas (LT), Okay Ikenegbu (NG), Greg Loring (USA), David Snoo-Wilson (UK).




Participants: Kārlis Alainis, Kirils Panteļejevs, Ivars Miķelsons, Gunārs Dzelme, Ilze Dambe, Kristīne Nuķe-Panteļejeva, Nils Jumītis (LV), Kip Jones (CA), Naomi Campbell, Katie Hovencamp (USA)




Participants: Jānis Tolpežņikovs, Ieva Zilberte, Kristīne Niedrāja, Rūdolfs Baltiņš, Inga Dubinska, Anna Sebok, Ance Ausmane (LV), Kaisa Ailt, Marilns Mikk, Maarja Allmaa, Relika Vaher, Laur Oberschneider (EE).




Participants: Jānis Tolpežņikovs, Ieva Zilberte, Uģis Pucens, Didzis Golubovs, Ingus Briedis















FRONTIERS IN RETREAT Incubator: Cultural Heritage as resource Lectures, guided tours and artists presentations.

Participants: Sylvia Grace Borda (CAN/SCO), Anete Borodušķe (LV), Kristaps Brīze (LV), Jaana Eskola (HIAP, FI), Johanna Fredriksson (Mustarinda, FI), Gints Gabrāns (LV), Eli Garmendia (ES), Tina Gudmundsdottir (Skaftfell Residency Centre, E. Iceland), Anna Karpenko (RU), Maria Kerin (IE), Jānis Liepiņš (LV), Pauliina Leikas (Mustarinda, FI), Jenni Nurmenniemi (HIAP, FI), Ieva Ozolina (LV), Andrew Gryf Paterson (FI/SCO), Anna Rubio Llambi (CAT), Nuno Sacramento (SSW/SCO), Joanes Simon Perret (FR), Una Smilgaine (LV), Rasa Šmite (LV), Anita Vaivade (LV), Bart Vandeput/Bartaku (BE)








The four-week-residency period was all about experimentation. The experiences gained on the making process, and the trial-and-errors became more valuable than the actual produced objects. I wanted to explore the meaning of scale, reflections on volumetric relations, and at the same time I was trying to connect some formal and enduring conceptual dots in my work. In practice this meant experimenting with ceramic sculpture at a smaller scale, which bore resemble to architectural scale models. I usually work at a larger scale with my sculptures, so this was an interesting possibility to try and translate my visual language and expression into a smaller scale taking use on line and volume. The experimentations were about combining the idea of a flower pot with sculptural platform. One of the most known type of flower pot is the one manufactured from red earthenware without glazing. The low-firing gives the clay material the porosity, which regulates the humidity of the planted soil in an optimal way. When the surface is not glazed, the material breathes and also stores water ceding it to the plant when it needs it.




2014 Growing textile Growing textile is an installation about 4 cities where I have spent time. Riga (LV) and Marseille (FR), Aizpute (LV), the town where SERDE residency centre is based, and Montmeyrant (FR) the city where I was born. Riga and Marseille were both European Capitals of Culture (2014 and 2013), and they have approximately the same amount of population and similar size, but when you look at the satellite view of these two cities you can easily notice how different are the spaces dedicated to vegetation. Marseille has a high density of buildings, and you can notice that most of the green spaces are some small private gardens hidden from the street by a fence or a wall. There are also some small public parks. In Riga you can find some wastelands with wild plants, which are available on the street, in some large public parks, and also some grasses space between the road and the pavement. If you compare Aizpute to Montmeyrant you can easily notice that the way of doing agriculture is very different. Around Montmeyrant you find some very geometrical fields separate by few trees, and almost no forest. Near Aizpute, fields have a more organic shape, and there are also some small forests and lakes all over. From these observations I created a four-part installation where each installation is an allegory of one of the above mentioned cities or towns. On one side there is a handicraft woven textile with also some other objects inserted within (for example, branches, grass, leaves, plastic bags and also other objects associated to these cities). In addition, there are some seeds introduced into weaving. Furthermore, the weaving associated to "Riga" have been weaved by Riga's citizen themselves during an open workshop. The second side of each part is made with some objects that remember these cities: local brand advertising, postcards, toy cars giants flowers, piece of wood and all kind of objects found around. I put some seeds everywhere into the installation that grown thanks to an automatic watering system. The watering system build with some random plastic bottles, second hand pipes... it runs five minutes every hours and transform the installations in a funny fountain. During 2 months plants grown, bloom and died through textiles and objects, changing slowly the installation.




2014 Meat Pavilion The Meat pavilion of Matisa Tirgus is an unused building in the recent years. Gradually the walls crashed, the roof leaks, the windows fall. Looking closely, I saw that more than 20 species of plants were installed in the building. Mosses, grasses, young trees are growing on the walls and cracks of the building. Nature begins to reassert itself over the city. I decided to build this model of the Meat Pavilion with brittle materials such as cardboard, paper, and install some seeds of different species. The quick growth of the plants transform the model and change the time and sizes scales. The bean plant which is grown in a week becomes a three through a roof and cress seeds become bushes. Through this installation, the slow movement of nature is recreated in accelerated form, and invites us to ask ourselves about the place that we give to plants in our life.




2015 "Human interventions vs natural landscape" For this time in SERDE's residency I focused on the human intervention with the natural landscape(s). I looked at the Latvian countryside, and I noticed how close to the nature this culture still is. Many people are growing their own vegetables to eat. The agriculture lands are usually small and often a little bit patchy, because of the non-usage of fertilizers. With this particular perspective, I felt it to be very strange to find an electric pole in the middle of a field, or an iron traffic sign just next to a gardening place. By the simplest of interventions, painting and photographing on those objects, I assisted in the illusion of making them 'disappear' within their landscapes, and show the contradiction of the human interventions within nature, bringing out the nonsenses of human interventions. "The garden's Thieves-trap" This sculpture is related to my first experience in SERDE. I was walking in some allotment gardens when an angry guy came to scold me in Latvian, because he thought I was a thief. With the language difficulties it was hard to explain him that I was a French artist just looking for inspiration in those gardens. Finally he understood me, and I notice how important these gardens re for Latvians. It's not only a pleasurable place, it's also a true way of eating. For that reason they are very careful of it, and protect it with every aggregation! Consequently I made this huge trap to protect their gardens, and catch thieves.





Group of artists from the city of Perm (Russia) Tatiana and Maxim Necheuhin Nurulin, Lydia Erokhin and Igor Novikov and their colleague from the Netherlands - artist Lillian van Ordorp. The residence was organised in the framework of the international project «GLOBAL ART COMMUNITY». Curator of the group Sergey Teterin gave a video presentation of the festival "CYBERFEST" in SERDE art center. After returning to Perm a special presentation of the project was organised at the Exhibition Hall of Perm.




Sound artists Lauris Vorslavs and Ģirts Radziņš and video artist Mārtiņš Ratniks.




Revival. Presence: 'Different present-aspect' research platform of environmental art and relational aesthetics, using experience and video as media. Beyond producer and consumer, there is a separation of art and life. Situation variability, life as a co-author. The unexpected is viewed not as an obstacle or something to overcome, but as something advisable and something easily included as an additional project. Abandonment of a goal in itself and provocation, using non-violent approach. This attitude transforms the project from present research via new media to “happenings” performances in the city, through which there is an awareness of the body and movement, presenting to the local people’s attention. However, there is a feeling that for the residents of Aizpute, “happening” seems to be too forced tool, what although raises local people's amazement and anxiety, but it is not bringing them closer to the 'presence'. Artistic threads: technique of body, multi-sensory cognition, improvisation and spontaneity, sharing, procedural dimension, silence, video dance. Interdisciplinary Artist-residency Centre “SERDE” and Aizpute Cultural Centre doors were opened for morning gymnastics, evening dance and movement lessons. There local people exchanged experiences with the artists. The verbal and kinetic guidance of Kate and Madara gave an opportunity to explore the phenomenon of awareness. Video dance “How Aizpute moves” Arriving at Aizpute revealed that there is many different dance groups, so Kate decided to make a video called “How Aizpute moves”. She participated in folk dances, sport dance, show dance, tap dance, and contemporary dance rehearsals, by moving there with camera. Presence mapping A sharp observation from moment to moment in every interaction with the locals gave Madara a rich feeling and emotional materials which, at the end of the day, was processed by dancing in authentic movements, in order to keep track in what way and how much the present is filled with imprints of experience. Show “No-show” The show created in Aizpute Cultural Centre turned out as a gathering which arguably created a 'life event'. Accompanied by Madara and Kate, the audience focusing on feelings when moving from comfortable chairs onto the stage, to be together eating a pie, drinking tea and talking.




2014 In last few years my artistic practice has focused into an installative direction in contemporary painting. I like to play with the concept that painting has moved more into different forms and opens up in space. Priority is given more to process and state. The thematic I work with are studying mostly the various aspects of absence. It has grown from awareness that an absence of something often impress us more acutely than that which is happening in present. I worked in SERDE during August 2014 and created a site-specific painting installation to the abandoned theatre and culture house in Aizpute. The small village itself gave a strong impulse to my work. I built a questionnaire bicycle. Made tours in the town. Collected answers from locals about longing and missing. So it was like a intriguing play between my thoughts and the mood of the local space. During the residency I got influenced by empty buildings, geometrical motifs, bare trees, dreams, blue colour, walking, fences, cold air and abandoned factory houses. “Longing for...� was a experiment to stage and visualize the sense of longing.





In summer 2014 was the second time I came to SERDE residency. This time, the main task was – to work on collaborative creation of Aronia Ouverture with researcher Bartaku and sound artist Karl-Heinz Jeron, as well as make some improvements for the vegetable orchestra instruments that I started working on last year. However, same as last year, my creativity suddenly multiplied into many other projects, and that is some phenomena that SERDE environment influences and supports. On the first week, still waiting for my Aronia team to arrive, I was mostly working on the symphonic work, Ashraga (for symphony orchestra and accordion solo). The work was based around idea of breathing and meditation, and Inuit throat singing, implemented into score. I was practising yoga and trying to learn Inuit singing simultaneously. This work was recently performed in Vilnius, Gaida festival, by the Lithuanian National Orchestra and Martynas Levickis as a soloist. At the same time, I met amazing artist team from Russia that were on their last days of SERDE residency. We soon became friends, and on Igor’s (one of the artists’ birthday that happen to be just at that time), I gave him for a present one of my two years ago created pieces for violin and electronics, called Violin Ritzos. This late night birthday performance lead to the idea of me of accompanying the opening of their exhibition – presentation of the works created in SERDE. For that, I created solo violin improvisation, walking around the room and trying to ‘play’ every painting in the room, imitating either shape or colour or mood.

participated in the Church Choir rehearsals, which was really fun! I was also allowed to practice violin and organ in the church. That inspired me to create my first ever organ solo piece, which I performed in the Sunday Mass on my last days in SERDE, along with Violin Ritzos (echoes from Russian Birthday) and Bach’s Partita d-moll. I recorded this organ piece, and placed the recording with the mini speaker in Aizpute’s market during the SERDE’s Apple festival. They had a sculpture of a metal horn, similar to the one used on the old record players in this market. The horn, empty inside, worked as an amplifier, so there was placed the organ piece entertaining visitors of the market for the whole day, inviting them to either visit the church, or the SERDE Apple Festival. During the festival, I also joined a newly arrived dancer Anna, and accompanied her performance in the tree, by standing and playing violin in the tree while she was dancing around in the branches. But the main focus of the residency at SERDE became our festival in Riga, at the Freedom Garden at Vidzemes Market, as part of Riga’s Capital of Culture events. There we performed our first ever try of the Aronia Ouverture, that included the dripping machine, audience interaction elements, and Riga-based un-choir participation. On the same day, I had a couple of hours workshop of vegetable orchestra – besides carrot flutes and pumpkin drum, this year I built some beetroot castanets, beetroot and carrot whistles, courgette trumpets and one pumpkin tuba, - the last ones became real success among the kids that appeared to be extremely good at playing those not so easy to play ‘vegetable brass’.

Soon the Russian artists left, and the Aronia team – Bartaku and Karl-Heinz arrived. From then, our main focus became the Aronia berry. Karl-Heinz brought nearly finished to build aronia dripping machine, that we called Octopus Machine (because of it’s qualities and shape). To explore it’s sounds and to imply them into overture’s structure was one of the main activities. Besides that, we kept exploring and getting inspired by the aronia berry. We developed the idea of un-choir – a choir in which we teach singing techniques that in fact don’t require any singing, and then perform a piece with them. One of the singing techniques, Inuit throat singing, I borrowed from my first inspiration for Ashraga piece. I also used some of the techniques that I explored in Q-O2 residency in Brussels (our meeting point between two SERDE residencies in 2013 and 2014). With the great help of SERDE managing team, we gathered some local people to join our workshop series (learning singing-nonsinging techniques), recording them at the Idea house in Aizpute, and then getting them to join our live performance of the Aronia Ouverture at SERDE apple festival. One of the choir members was Varis – the wine maker, whom we knew from the last year, and who was a great inspiration for the aronia Ouverture, since he is the one that produces aronia wine and makes his own experiments with this berry. In fact, coming back to SERDE meant to me also re-building my relationship with Aizpute’s locals,- beside Varis the winemaker, the priest Varis and his wife Nora. The priest and his wife, as usually, were really enthusiastic about music and welcoming me to take part in the Aizpute’an church community. I accompanied them with my violin in the Sunday Mass, and 34




Prototype Aronia Dripping Machine While my residency at SERDE in 2014 I have built a sounding device for the collaborative project Aronia M. Overture. It is a collaboration with the Belgium artist Bartaku and the Lithuanian composer Ruta Vitkauskaite. The machine makes use of contact and non-contact methods for measuring electric fields and the internal processes of the plants. The Aronia sonification introduces a number of unspecified processes in the berries which create an orchestrated aleatoric audio piece.

Dripping Aronia Berries

Musical Instrument


In addition to the chance aspect, the machine has been extended with a sort of a keyboard to be playable by a musician. There are two options. One provides the possibility to play tuned tones and the other layer is in total control by the Aronia berry to achieve chance operations. Depending on a musical score the chance option can be combined with the tuned option.

According to the the internal electro-chemical state of the Aronia berries, the sound, the colour of the sound, and the volume of the sound are varied. Thus, an improvised piece of music is created from electronic components connected to the Aronia berries. The goal is to increase possibilities to articulate variations in noise and develop musical-acoustic qualities of the Aronia berry for a concert.





“Metabolic Dominance” In 2004, the US Defense Department’ s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a competition with the aim of providing soldiers with the means of carrying out battle operations and relocating without food stores. Under the project “Metabolic Dominance” we offered genetically modified human ingestion system bacteria, which synthesize cellulose disintegrating enzymes. Cellulose is a simply sugar glucose polymer. It forms any plant cell walls. Such cellulose disintegrating enzymes would give soldiers the chance to obtain nutrients from any available plants and timber, or else, in circumstances of urban warfare, from paper. For example, it if proves possible to create a full cellulose disintegration process, 11% more kilocalories can be obtained from 100 g of paper (which contains cellulose) than from 100 g of bread (400 and 355 kcal respectively). We have already created the first bacteria of this type. Outside the human body (G.G.), bifidobacteria from its ingestion systems were genetically modified, giving them the ability to synthesis cellulose disintegrating enzymes. This was done, in collaboration with the microbiologist Jānis Liepiņš and the company GenScript ( In order to prevent genetically modified bacteria from coming into contact with a soldier’s body, it is planned that biocapsules will be used which have developed by Dr. David Loftus Medical Director, NASA Ames Research Center, and which could be custom-adapted for the requirements of this project. Dr. Loftus was created the biocapsules so that transgenic organisms do not come into contact with the organism of an astronaut, and so that their synthesized molecules to protect astronauts from radiation. Biocapsules are made from composite carbon fiber, which is sufficiently dense to hold comparatively large synthetic organisms in the capsule, but also to be permeated by many smaller therapeutic molecules – in the case of our project, cellulose disintegrating enzymes synthesized by transgenic bifidobacteria. “PostFOOOD” UN estimates that by 2050 the number of world’s population will reach 9 billion, therefore it will be necessary to produce by 70 per cent more food. Thus instead of producing greater amounts of food the project offers other solutions and studies the interaction of these new ideas with culture, environment and human. The project Foood is based on the human’s (G.G.) genetic modification of metabolic bifidobacteria outside the body giving them the ability to synthesise an enzyme that can break down cellulose. Cellulose forms the cell walls of all plants. For the human metabolism, the indigestible cellulose cell wall reduces the nutritional energy value of food. Cellulose is glucose polymer of ordinary sugar. These cellulolytic enzymes would allow humans to make a third more efficient use of food from the plant world – potatoes, carrots, cabbage etc. that contain a significant amount of material that is indigestible by humans . They would also allow the more efficient use of completely new types of food resources even, for example, cellulose containing wood and paper.




2014 Aronia Morphing Since five years artist/researcher Bartaku (Bru) has been carrying out artistic research on the 1Ha Aronia M. Power Plantation (1HAMP), a former kolchoze in the town of Aizpute.

Keywords: Biochemistry; Botany; Biodesign; Critical design; Ethnobotany, In vitro plant biology; Morphogenesis; Superfood, Transdisciplinary research Aroniacentrism! The thought was voiced and some observed a series of luminescent white triangles piercing the skin of a shiny purple Aronia M. berry. -- Bartaku

In September 2014 he observed at 1HAMP that Aronia M. was dissatisfied with its scientific nomenclature: "Aronia Melanocarpa (Michx.) Ell.". Instead, a new name arose: ‘Baroa Belaobara’ to be used from September 2014 onwards. Consequently this renaming created a void since the existing scientific name “Aronia M.” no longer represents anything. Henceforth, a new form emerged, as a mental image, a sketch, a handmade clay shape stained with Baroa B. Kabuki Paint. So, as a next step: how to make this new shape ? This “Aronia Morphing” requires utilizing existing and emerging biotechnologies and it needs to be investigated which will be the best techniques: from In vitro cell culture over manipulation via nutrition to hydroponic seed growth and ultimately morphogenesis: the identification of master regulatory genes that control shape and size of the berry. The latter ultimately leading to a Baroa B. bush that arguably could be seen as a 3D-printing device. The use of these techniques add questions to the research including the ethical and biological implications as well as the social, historical, ethnographic and food energy context. Ultimately, Aronia Morphing is about rethinking our understanding of our relation with our own identity / body, other animals, plants as well as life itself. Also part of the research will be the development of the partners needed. As for scientists, Janis Liepins, researcher at the University of Latvia, Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, will act as mentor and guide. Arts organizations that at the time of writing expressed their will to be partner in the undertakings are SERDE Interdisciplinary Arts Centre (Lat) and HIAP (Fin). This initial stage of the research will take place at SERDE and at 1HAMP during max. 6 weeks In Aug./ Sept. 2015. At various stages of the 3-4 year artistic research the process will be presented, with its complexities of ethics and aesthetics - In a semi/living, preserved or documented form that include the methods involved in the creation. The “Aronia Melanocarpa” is part of the Rosacea family, and is used as a food additive (color depth) and for juice and wine esp. in the region of the great lakes (US, Canada) and East-Central Europe. The berry contains of the highest levels of anti-oxidants registered, and has been used for its medicinal properties (lowering blood pressure; anti-inflammatory...). As opposed to many other fruits / vegetables like tomatoes, corn, apples/pears,... the Rosacea family has not been researched as profoundly (genome not sequenced for instance). This means that this artistic research will contribute to the development of knowledge.





during the meeting where we discussed the urge of mingling fundamentally human pigment with Baroa pigment. So that it’s relation with the Sun can shine via the human-skin, expressing the new future shape for Aronia M.

Assignment Serde-Signe asked: “could you show an overview of some of your work that you made as a Serde resident in the past years?” Her question was fused by the hosting by Serde of participants of the 2013-2018 residency project ‘Frontiers in Retreat’. The Liepaja Media Art students asked “How did you get to know Serde”? The answer to this question most often consists of word constructions like: “In 2009 I gave a talk at Serde as part of a conference organized by RIXC. I showed some images of organic dyes converting light into electrical energy. Afterwards, someone told me I might be interested in a berry growing on a field just outside of town. Since this first visit in 2009, annually I found myself returning to ‘1HAMP’ (1Ha Aronia m. Power Plantation):leading to photo series, public labs, performance etc. Often the work is made with local people, Serde residents and often Latvian scientists.” Ance 2011, -12, -13, -14: “Your stuff is in the Back Room Closet" Ance 2015: “Your stuff is in the Flamingo Closet in the Back Room" ‘Residence Take-off’ Rituals During the Frontiers in Retreat Incubator plant biologist Anete Borodušķe performed a science talk on Aronia revealing it being an apple rather than a berry. Keeping the spectators focus effortlessly she explained possible techniques for growing and morphing Aronia. Simultaneously, in a lab in Riga, new Aronia is becoming. A bit later Bartaku showed in the Serde patio an overview of Aronia M./Baroa B. work with a ‘postcard on a vertical string’-talk. BAROA BELAOBARA The Aronia morphing experiment is a consequence of Aronia’s discontent with its scientific name ‘Aronia Melanocarpa, observed at 1HAMP in September 2014. The new variant will have a more suitable shape that fits the nomenclatura better. Also, it was sensed that the best name for the existing berry (apple) bush should be ‘Baroa Belaobara’. Bartaku is used for executing Aronia’s will. The AM/BaBe Distrib. Labsy’ was an interpreted version of Anete’s lab space, located in the top right room of Serde’s workshops. It contained the Aronia morphings, some fake lab elements and a real flow hood with disinfecting Soviet U.V. lamp (recup). Anete performed an in vitro re-enactment facing fake camera’s and a photo of the real 11 Smema-camera’s longing for Aronia Baroa Belaobara to blossom in May 2015. (It did not). White Suits Harvesting ‘Is this for performative reasons?’ the white suit with Baroa juice-painted number ‘8’ asks me. It torpedoed me back to the purple giant circle -indeed like a giant Baroa berry- on my right hip some months before. Some weeks after 1HAMP wanderings. It was possibly not from a tick. Possibly if was from a horsefly. Possibly now also a carrier of the Borrelia bacteria. SKIN has to be taken off via a biopsy. A start-up University-spin off biomed Lab proposed it 42



ANNA RUBIO (ES) All the trees I met. II

The work is a continuation of my exploration with trees which I started in Farrera in 2012 and continued in Java. It was performed at the Apple-ing Festival, with the collaboration of the musician Ruta Vitkauskaite. What an intimate connection can be established between a tree and a person. What an example of health, strength, about what life is and how symbols are hidden in them. From the first day in Aizpute I was captivated by the trees, and especially with you. Very close to SERDE you welcomed me. Your sensual forms captivate me and, at the same time, I feel you big and strong and full of life. Horizontal branches of selfish beech, stretching majestically drinking light. Every day I come to your daily life. Children going quickly to school, women going shopping, some drunk, some distracted dog and the leaves. How many generations wished to climb you! From the second day I couldn’t resist to discover your body. The diameter of your strong branches allows me to feel safe and moving every day for your light relief. I explore you and I see that you are man and woman at the same time and I like that. Complete, holistic. You excite me, welcome me and swing me. The moss that you nourish, dress you with a dark and soft green. It’s a dress custom made just for you. I'll be another ant again, coming up, a ripe fruit, and now also a lover. Fagus, faig, dižskabārdis… Stairs and Water It was an improvisation work coming from the ideas of Amerta Movement. Listening to the place for 22 days and exploring my presence inside its presence. This work was shown on the 26th of September and still in process. I found this place on the second day. Some mysticism, wind, trees and water. These stairs remind me of old structures, of access to a temple. As if they wanted to transport me up to the sky and down again toward the lake… Reminding me of the circularity of life. Suddenly, I realise how much the water is present in this place, in this town. I feel the moisture on my feet, mouth, in my bones and heart. Nature is so strong, water is so strong! The green invading and gaining ground against grey human constructions. Hopeful smile. Meanwhile, invading new areas of grey, nature begins its slow and patient attack in other places. Like this moss on the stairs and the leaves that are right now falling.





As a dance and movement artist, I was one month in SERDE last summer for the second time in the context of the European project Frontiers in Retreat. This artistic project is focused basically on ecology and the environment. I kept working with the All the trees I met, Stairs and Water and Apples projects. All the trees I met The work is a continuation of exploration with trees I started in Farrera in 2012 and continued in Java. Was performed on the Apple-ing Festival and the Incubator (Frontiers in Retreat event), with the collaboration of the local musician Rihards Plešanovs This piece mixed vertical dance and creative movement techniques to explore the intimate connection between a tree and a person, and all the symbols that appear through the process. In this dialogue or work, I also want to show to the audience new perspectives about the tree, and it's environment: the tree's point of view, it's textures and it's beauty. Related with that I did a small workshop for children to give them the possibility to swing and enjoy in the trees. Stairs and Water This is an improvisation work coming from the ideas of Amerta Movement. Listening to the place, and exploring my presence inside it's (the place of attention's) presence. This work was shown on the 26th of September 2014?, and I made a film to explain the creative process. This year I was continuing with this work, and also recording all the process, as an exploration to increase awareness about this place throw creative movement. Apples I started to work with apples and their symbols in 2014 in Farrera (Catalonia) after being shocked of the strong presence of apples in Aizpute. Apples is an investigation based upon creative movement to explore the evolution of the uses of this fruit, and the imagining of new uses. Also I wish to add value to these beautiful trees in the town, it's fruits, and from a symbolic level explore the concept of falling down.





Immersed in the creative process of 'Sleeping Forest' project, I came to Latvia inspired by the Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks. I wanted to know the environment that inspires his creations. Installed in SERDE I found a perfect place to fix my base camp, and live near the Latvian nature, dipping further into the imaginary of the Sleeping Forest. SERDE have helped me to manage my routes, and everything I need to move around the country. During my stay I had also photographed everything that happened in the residence, from annual Apple-ing to the artist-resident’s performance. Latvia Before coming, I created a blog to collect the whole process of the project. During my stay in Latvia the blog became my travel diary. During 3 weeks around the country, I had been photographing around Aizpute, Cirava, Kazdanga, Liepaja, Pavilosta, Kolka, Riga and Sigulda. The journey has been very rewarding, both personally and photographically, and I have obtained very interesting material for the project. The project: El Bosque Dormido The Sleeping Forest is the result of the artistic correspondence I have keeping with the poet Roberto R. Antunez. I would send him photographs to which he in turn would reply with texts. This project began in December 2013 with the exchange of the first images and texts via e-mail and finished in October 2014, after the residency. In addition to the correspondence we share music, photos, text and quotes etc. from other authors. Thus, the music of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks became one of the main axes. His music enveloped us in the atmosphere that is sensed in text and photos. The distillation of this correspondence will take exhibition form in November 2014 at the GKo Gallery.





Thanks to the help of the people I love, I had the opportunity of returning back to SERDE for the second time. Last year, on my first time I came to Latvia, I was immersed in the creative process of 'The Sleeping Forest' (El Bosque Dormido) project, inspired by Latvian (and Aizpute-born) composer Pēteris Vasks. I wanted to know the environment that inspires his creations. I absolutely fell in love with Latvian forests and landscapes, so I needed to return back to continue creating the imaginary of The Sleeping Forest. This year, SERDE has been my 'first base camp' to reconnect with the Latvian nature for ten days. Then I spent ten days more travelling across the country. Being in SERDE was perfect to concentrate in my creative process again, and to start photographing and filming again. El Bosque Dormido The Sleeping Forest is a long term project. It started with an artistic correspondence I have keeping with the poet Roberto R. Antunez. I sent him photographs, which he in returned with texts. This project began in December 2013, with the exchange of my first images and his texts via e-mail, and after the first residency period, finished in October 2014. In addition to the correspondence, we share music, photos, text, quotes etc. from other authors. Thus, the music of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks became one of the main axis. His music enveloped us in the atmosphere that is sensed in the combination of our texts and photos. The distillation of this correspondence has taken an exhibited form in November 2014 at the GKo Gallery ( The material created during the summer of 2015 will be an important part of the final piece that is still growing. I’d like to return to Aizpute next summer (2016) to celebrate the classical music day and participate at the Vasks’s homege due to his 70th Anniversary.





SERDE is looking better and better each year as the sympathetic building renovation progresses - I enjoy it more each time I visit! And having the darkroom to work in was a real treat. When your creative process involves some form of technology, it's great to know somewhere that has really good equipment and be able to use this equipment. SERDE has a couple of really good large format enlargers and all other necessary equipment to make prints from large format 4x5 (10cm x 12cm) negatives. The prints I was making were 60cm x 60cm and I took the portrait as the main theme. I spent some time setting up lights in the photo studio in order to get the look right. The objective then was to produce some classic-looking portraits and still lifes that were simple and minimalist, a kind of homage to the history of photography. Once in the darkroom I was able to spend ten days developing and printing these negatives in order to get the best out of them, improving my knowledge of the chemicals, the enlarger and photography in general all the time. The portraits are of the other residents with whom I shared my happy and productive time.





For this residency I was experimenting with diptychs. This happened kind of by accident and the results were surprising and instructive, so I continued. Using one of SERDE's large format enlargers I was able to place two 35mm negatives side by side and print them on the same sheet, rather than masking off each negative and printing them one by one. The side-by-side pictures that emerged seem to have more meaning than printing either of the two negatives on their own, each saying something about the other. They are almost like very short films: open-ended unfinished narratives that invite the viewer to participate by making connections, subconsciously finding a story. I like the way these pairs of pictures look and intend to continue this as a series, sometimes looking back through old negatives to find these pairs and sometimes deliberately putting images together as they appear in front of the camera. I hope to be back at SERDE soon to continue.




2015 framing aizpute is a video project which focuses on, and activates; architectural, industrial, and natural environments in Aizpute. The concept is to create a recollection, or memory, of an ephemeral moment in time; where two performers frame a specific place, which has existed and will continue to exist after they have gone. highlighting aizpute is a series of public interventions. Using white paint, the two artists painted various objects throughout Aizpute, which no longer have a use or purpose. The goal of this project is to focus on, and to make significant, various remnants which are often unnoticed or unappreciated. Co- (lab) / Serde: collaboration and collectivity, was an artist laboratory and performance series conceived and co- led by Jasmin Schaitl and William "Bilwa" Costa. During the lab, performing and visual artists from Latvia, Austria, USA, Lithuania, UK, Japan, and Sweden worked solo, in small groups, and as an entire group in addressing the topics of collaboration and collectivity. Focused on the specific physical characteristics of the Serde spaces, and other indoor and outdoor spaces in Aizpute, they experimented and developed site-relative works. The lab culminated in a series of solo, duo, and group performances, interventions, and exhibitions. Name of LAB participants: Phoebe Brown (UK) Ingrida Čepanonytė (LT) Ieva Savickaitė (LT) Hiroko Tsuchimoto (JP/SE) Ilze Vanaga (LV) Anna Vilāne (LV) Dace Šteinerte (LV) Inga Frišfelde (LV) Ance Ausmane (LV) Helga Gansone (LV) Paula Āboliņa-Ābola (LV)






2015 | Marsel Nichan balances as a composer constantly between several cultural inspirations. In that sense, he is a period representative of a young, growing composer generation which are increasingly being influenced - impression / expression - from a multicultural society. For Marsel, personally, that complex diversity it's not formed into separate incidents or decorative splashes of colour, but rather a sort of artistic wholeness, an indivisible composite or alloy. Today's expansive soundscapes represents a treasure chest for his creation, a constant source of inspiration and renewal. In my time at SERDE this year I made a sound installation that was partially created with audio material recorded in Aizpute. Some of the sounds were recorded by a few young people from the "Idea House", which became the basis for a couple of musical works while others are music pieces previously created. This was my second time at SERDE in Aizpute and it was very instructive. I learned more about the society and made contact with the old church in Aizpute. Everybody was welcoming and I had a great time. My project evolved so fast and that we could make it while I was there was fantastic. It was thanks to all forces that I got that made it possible and I´m thankful for the hospitality from all at SERDE.

In September, as an artist-organiser, facilitator and independent researcher, I was a guest of SERDE, primarily connected to their 'Frontiers in Retreat' Incubator event in early September titled 'Cultural Heritage as Resource'. I was invited to assist and support the smooth facilitation of the event, and act as guest-host, a role I had been given and taken many times before in cooperation with SERDE. However, I also took on board the topic in a more elaborated manner, as I will describe to be the work I made in residence at SERDE during that month, and beyond that particular temporal bracket. Precluding, during, and after the 'Cultural Heritage as Resource' event I also explored and researched what I thought this might mean as a phrase and as a motivational and organisational strategy, unpacking the phrase in English.* This text became the publicity and introduction text to the seminar and Incubator event itself, with the aim to spark a discussion and consideration of various so-called cultural heritage subject, practice and approaches might be utilized and valuable for artists, designers, social-scientists and activists. In particular, within the context of the Frontiers in Retreat project, when engaging with interwoven ecological subjects, as well as heritage professionals. The rest of the residency period continued to explore the theme, but with a different approach. Photo documentations of potential resources (human, natural or otherwise) which could be utilized in Aizpute to re-think and re-interpret the traditional way to document or raise awareness of cultural heritage topics. This included cross-cultural, intra- and inter-national perspectives, with short texts included, and were then posted to my own FB profile as new cover images (one of the most explicit and public updates in the popular social media platform. This practice that emerged during the official residency period of September extended much longer onwards until the end of the year, and far beyond. All 'Cultural Heritage as Resource' social media posts were tagged with the following hashtag – #CHaR – to make them easier to find online. #CHaR




2015 "Our initial project idea was to create a performance that explores the interaction between humans and their surroundings in societies in close relation to nature and water. Living close to nature, we concluded, meant having a neighbour close who's temper and actions one cannot control or negotiate with. Although providing food, transport routes and a beautiful scenery, nature can be a treacherous ally that in an instant can take back the life it once gave. In times that are characterised by fast and constant change, we wanted to ask the question: What we could learn from people that have learned to live with the fact that nature is at least as relentless as the capitalist system? Should we take a deep breath and dive into the rapid and constant stream of information that washes over us on a daily basis, or should we learn how to build ourselves a ship to stay afloat? Could we, instead of drowning in tidal waves of data, learn how to surf and use the waves and currents to reach our goals in life? In search for a structure and framework to allow our lives to flow smoothly we looked at what now was in front of us. The local environment. May it be intellectual, physical or architectural - a community of individuals construct these structures, and thus they influence our behaviour as well as how our society is formed. We build with our hands what we have in our hearts, and what we have in our hearts will influence what we build. However, we concluded that nature is ultimately the framework we all have to find our place within. Growing up as brother and sister in a small city, spending a big part of our childhood in the forest, on rivers, lakes and the sea. Fishing, hunting, growing things in the garden, we now encountered an environment similar to that of our upbringing, but in another cultural setting. We attempted to create a performance, a reflection, of, in and for the local community, seen with the eyes of strangers with a similar heritage."





I set off to Aizpute with the idea of observing, and re-creating in drawing and paint, the magical thinking surrounding herbalism today. The Kurzeme flora resembles closely that of my home country Ukraine. Therefore, I was able to collect the same medicinal plants that grow back home, to recreate the tea made by my grandmother,. Besides the herbalist tradition running in the family, my interest stemmed from the inextinguishable faith in herbs' healing properties, and the persistence of magical rituals surrounding the belief. I intended my paintings to be a conceptual parallel to herbs, recreating my grandmother's herbal tea recipe in images. The observed and recreated rituals surrounding the collection of herbs served as a starting point for the larger format paintings completed back in London. The paintings were supported by the symbols and objects, whittled from social media, and the images of contemporary news and cultural icons that came up in a word search for 'healing'. The painting colour schemes were extracted from digital sources and magazines, in an attempt to underline the deliberate nature of the work. In these series of paintings I have explored the healing effect of art on the viewer. I have de-constructed the healing processes, and related the magical consciousness of herbal healing through painting. The focus was on whether the viewer's faith in herbal healing properties carries the mythological and associative -thinking through onto its painted interpretation. The resulting body of work was exhibited at the Florence Trust in London in the beginning of 2016. Next summer I would like to come back to Aizpute to continue the line of work around the traditions and rituals carried out during Midsummer celebrations.




IEVA OZOLINA (LV) During my residency in SERDE I worked on 3 planned tasks: 1. Studies of local people and rural environment and planning the visual art project;

2. Documentation of SERDE's organized seminar Cultural Heritage as Resource and creating short film 3. Python, “behind the shot� graphic design for book in collaboration with writer Elvita Ruka and discover not-shown materials in the movie "My Father, banker"



Sylvia Grace Borda is applying her photographic skills to document the town of Aizpute's abandoned apple trees and small orchard holdings. As part of her mini-residency in 2015 she started to conceive of a larger conceptual artwork in which to produce a panorama based on her study photographs to run along one of the town's main roads for approximately 2 km. In this way, Sylvia is hoping to create an illusion in which the buildings seem to become a continuous apple field, and to blend the town into its natural scenery. Sylvia's overall aspiration is to create a series of apple photographs for use in the panorama mural that depict the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn seasons. Her work will reference a well- known set of seasonal panels by Corot held at the National Gallery in London. Ultimately in working with urban planners, SERDE Arts Centre, and a number of professional sign painters Sylvia will hope to transform the exterior walls of selected buildings in the historic town centre in 2016-17 to form one of the world' largest continuous photographic-like panoramas. It is hoped her proposed artwork will become a national and international icon for the area as well as a cultural destination.

Artist rendering of what an Aizpute house exterior might appear like with a photo-inspired mural painted across it (2015) 64




The book Allotment (2014) is a selection of personal experience stories that reveal the small gardeners lifestyle and values, neighbouring, thieves and homeless arbitrariness, amusing adventures and occurrences. The fieldworks organized by Signe Pucena, Ieva Vītola and Una Smilgaine observe the allotments culture and everyday experience in Riga (allotments Lucavsala, Jumpravsala, Bābelītis, Jugla – Ūdeļu street district, in the backyard and balcony gardens in Zolitūde and Imanta), the province (in Sigulda, Krimulda, Salaspils and Talsi district). During the seed period and harvest time 29 garden owners were interviewed about their traditional knowledge, practice, observations and beliefs connected with work in garden. Field works documented specific allotment ethnography in photographs with various unique and creative solutions how to design the flower and vegetable beds and how maintain allotment.




Stories of the Forbidden Zone was the expedition where the main object of research was specific stories and context of the people who lived at the western coast of Latvia, near the Baltic Sea during the Soviet period. In Soviet times (1944–1990) in the territory of the forbidden zone there were several military bases and frontier surveillance posts. The territory of the forbidden zone, the dune area was regularly ploughed, the local inhabitants weren’t allowed to go fishing in the sea. For example, sunbathing, swimming and gathering ambers or sea manure was only allowed in a specific area at specific times. If anyone was caught in the forbidden territory of the beach or at the wrong time, then he or she was taken by the border guards and punished. During the expedition local people memories, which reveal many abandoned secrets, were collected encouraging to remember and get acquainted with soviet time evidence in Kurzeme seaside. The selection of these stories is published in book Stories of the forbidden zone in Latvian (2013) and English (2016) languages.


Organiser: Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE Signe Pucena, Uģis pucens Design and layout: Ance Ausmane

With thanks for collaboration: Paula Aboliņa-Ābola, Armands Ausmanis, Agnese Egliņa, Ilze Elbere, Imants Lepsis, Ance Kvasnikova, Dzintra Vēvere, Helga Gansone, Laima Alundere, Varis Sants, Mārtiņš Sants, Jānis Kreicburgs, Didzis Golobovs, Ingus Briedis, Artūrs Lapka, Rihards Plešanovs, Inga Langenfelde, Anete Zīlīte, Krišjānis Šneiders, Ieva Vītola, Una Smilgaine.

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