Art + Communication: Waves

This year marks the 10th anniversary since 1996, when the festival „Art+Communications” took place in Riga for the first time, and since its beginning became a regular event in the life of media arts. This year, August 24 through 26, the New Media Cultural Center RIXC is presenting a festival program consisting of an international exhibition, conference, open presentations, performances and screenings of experimental films and video.

To further explore immaterial media arts, its processes and creative explorations, to observe those in a wider context of contemporary arts and culture, the festival will present an international exhibition entitled „Waves” in the Latvian National Museum of Art exhibition hall „Arsenals”. This exhibition brings together about 40 international works of (media) art, created by 70 artists from a 18 countries.

The theme of this year’s festival and also that of the exhibition is „Waves” – electromagnetic waves as a material and a medium in the arts, and waves as a universal principle. Still „Waves” is more than just a name of a festival or an exhibition. It is a fundamental concept, and through this concept we wish to present a view of those creative experiments, social dynamics of the networks and new media arts, which have expressed our work for the last ten years.

Two years ago, when Armin Medosch, writer, new media artist and “Waves” exhibition curator, first came to the conference in Riga that was organized by RIXC, was the first time we encountered the idea of „Waves”. It seemed that Armin Medosch had unveiled the deeper meaning of those free flowing explorations and communication arts processes, which our collegues and we had been trying to discover and create for several years. Back then in Riga, we discussed the possible realization of the „Waves” exhibition, agreed on collaborated curating, as well as talked about the importance of this concept and its relevance to RIXC’s function and ideas.

Searching for the suitable exhibition hall in Riga, the most appropriate choice seemed the Latvian National Museum of Art. The Museum itself would thus be serving as environment and context, where the „snapshot of media arts processes” would be made possible. Subjectively (or perhaps naturally) and possibly in contrast to the span of last ten years, suddenly we were curious about such static and physically real format as an exhibition, since in the past for the most part we experimented with various free formats, i.e. staging events in virtual space rather then physical, overcoming geographical restrictions in order to find new forms of self-expression and create new spaces of autonomy.

For us this is the first international exhibition of this magnitude, and in its creation we have contributed just as much enthusiasm as we put into our first „Art+Communication” festivals, or first „Xchange” real-time sound loops that were streamed in cyberspace (connecting participants from many different and remote countries in the world, regardless of their geographical location – cities or suburbs…).

„Waves” mission is to make a contribution to expanding the context of electronic networked media arts. To get a better understanding of visual culture of 20th century, in this festival we also have invited Erwin van’t Hart, a film curator from The Netherlands, to create programs consisting of classical and contemporary experimental films and video. In turn, the participating artists of the “Waves” exhibition are those, who have devoted most or all of their creative work to experimenting, discovering and expanding the borders of the visual arts. “By creating mobile ad-hoc networks or by pointing antennas towards outer space or the depth of oceans artists literally open up the horizons towards the possibilities of a new way of seeing and interacting with the world.” [2]

„Waves” in a sense is a return to “fine arts” (in terms of creation ”imagery”), where the dominant element now is the imagination and no longer a concept or visualization. By utilizing new technologies in the arts and attempting to cross the boundaries of science and art, imagery is the key that opens new boundaries. Imagery is also a way of communicating science, making it if not completely comprehensible, at least conceivable (audio/visually) – in this way enhancing imagination in the consciousness of every human being.

Exhibition „Waves” takes place in Latvian National Museum of Arts exhibition hall „Arsenals” until September 17, 2006.

Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits
Rīgā, 2006. gada 8. augustā

References:
[1]  Smits, Raitis, Rasa Smite. Xchange – net audio and radio experiments. [Lecture materials on the web]. Web link: http://re-lab.net/netradio/workshop01/06/index.html
[2]  Medosch, Armin. WAVES. [Context of the Exibit]. 2005.

Links:
http://rixc.lv
http://rixc.lv/info/festival.html
http://rixc.lv/waves

Rasa Šmite (Latvia) and Raitis Šmits (Latvia) are artists and new media activists, founders of the E-LAB (1996), RIXC (2000) and “Art+Communication” festival in Riga, Latvia (1996).
Since 1997 interested in “acoustic space” research: they are initiators and founding members of the net.radio OZONE (1996) and XCHANGE network (recieving PRIX Ars Electronica in 1998); editors of the “Acoustic Space” publication series (since 1998); organisers of the "Acoustic Space Lab" symposium in the Irbene Radiotelescope (2001); in collaboration with r a d i o q u a l i a, Clausthome and VIRAC they have developed live-installation and streaming project „Solar Radio Station” (2006); and together with Armin Medosch are curating international exhibition "Waves".
Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits are the initiators, founders and participants of a number of other co-projects, networks and mailinglists (NICE, Locative Network, Trans-European Cultural Mapping (TCM), etc.)
Since 1996 they have organised and participated in numerous conferences, exhibitions, symposiums and festivals; lecturing in Latvian Arts Academy, Riga Stradina and other universities; they have been experts and members of various boards on new media culture. Rasa Šmite presently is director of the RIXC center for new media culture and studying PhD. in social sciences, culture and communications at the Riga Stradina University. Raitis Šmits is teaching in Visual Communication Dept. of the Latvian Arts Academy and working also as programme leader of net.radio OZONE, director of E-LAB and coordinator of the RIXC Media Lab.

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