This year the Polish artist joins a group of international artists that includes Spain's Jaime Pitarch, Israel's Nira Pereg, Denmark's Camilla Berner and Latvia's Alnis Stakle to focus on "downshifting" with regard to lifestyle choices in a fast-paced world
The fourth edition of the Survival Kit festival toys with the idea of leading a more "egotistical" life in tune with nature and one's own wants and needs in order to achieve greater personal growth. The topic is a hot issue across the globe as a symptom of the changes brought on by the global economic crisis. As a respite from the "rat race", human beings are encouraged to take a critical look at the perception of success and happiness, to lead a more balanced life of work and leisure, to focus on personal fulfillment. According to festival organisers, the theme "the rural returns to the city" is meant as a "survival kit" for contemporary man, where "knowledge, attitude and emotions stand next to the relatively pragmatic skills of everyday life". It sets nature and its potential metaphysical properties up against the more "rational" aspects of contemporary living. They propose a recipe for such a kit that blends 20% bravery, 20% knowledge, 10% endurance, 10% resourcefulness, 40% creativity.
Poland's Julita Wójcik is among the artists presenting works at the show, all of whom take a singular perspective across a variety of media to demonstrate a shift back to a more simpler existence, such as a rural life that is in tune with the seasons and ecology or a merely indulging in basic pleasures like flying a kite or even peeling potatoes. As Wójcik, an artist who gained renown in part for a piece focused around the very activity of peeling potatoes, explains,
I think (in a way) we live now in a time similar to middle ages or – in some way – also like the Revolution time in XIX century France. And this revolution has already begun: in Spain, Greece and those countries where the economy has recently collapsed. People change their life to make it more personal, more "useful". They eat less, build less, and produce less garbage. They do those everyday things that we all do but in "human proportions". In my artistic practice I have always been trying to expose simple daily activities like flying a kite, gardening, peeling potatoes... to do that what for today’s world is to be "slow-living"...
The Survival Kit Festival has taken place in Riga since 2009, attracting close to 65,000 people each year. Simultaneously, there are three satellite festivals taking place in Sigulda, Tukums and Aizpute. It is a relatively fresh initiative on the global art scene, aimed at attaining the stature of a formal art biennale by 2014, when Riga serves as the European Capital of Culture. The 55 artists taking part in Survival Kit are also joined by architects, scientists, new entrepreneurs, teachers and other energetic experts, developing and implementing creative strategies to survive the times of crisis. The festival takes place in a pop-up art space in the former Tobacco Factory on Miera Street, organised by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), a dynamic unit seeking connections between art and the current processes in the society, claiming the city and the surrounding reality as a field of creative possibilities, reacting to changes in the global art space by cooperation with artists and other art organizations, production work, information distribution, education, analysis, research, provocation, questioning, naming and frequently also trespassing the usual borderlines, as well as encouraging people to participate and be socially active. Survival Kit is curated by Solvita Krese, the director of LCCA.
For more information, see: riga2014.org
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart
Source: press release