Survival Kit 11


In the former Museum of Literature and Music, Riga, Latvia September 4 – October 4, 2020

The eleventh edition of the festival is titled Being Safe is Scary and will be curated by Katia Krupennikova.

Being Safe is Scary takes its title from a site-specific piece created in 2017 by artist Banu Cennetoğlu for documenta 14. The phrase comes from graffiti on a wall of the National Technical University of Athens, noticed by Cennetoğlu around the time of the signing of the EU-Turkey refugee deal in March 2016. Violating international law on refugee protection, the contract forced every irregular entrant to Greece to be handed over to Turkey, causing reception facilities and temporary camps on the Greek islands to be turned into detention centres. By adopting this heavily charged title, this edition of Survival Kit connects itself to wider, ongoing discussions around security and political violence. 

The notions of safety and security are central to today’s political imagination. They are used to provide rationales for wars, nationalist agendas, racism and inequality, and to legitimise and normalise extensive surveillance and self-surveillance, aggression, hatred, insularity and other reactionary attitudes and policies. The politics of fear feeds upon precarity. Whole systems of domination are built upon the fierce illusion of protection, encouraging brutal competition and enforcing both financial and moral indebtedness.

It is usually the most marginalised members of society that are classified as threats: those stigmatised due to sexual identity, race, class, religion or gender. The figure of the migrant, as deployed in populist discourse, is one of the key phobic objects of our time. In addition, those who organise and participate in resistance against the status quo are often viewed by the state as security threats. If these people are threats, who are the endangered subjects that need protecting? And what are the real threats and dangers that are covered over and pacified by this construction of social dangers? 

This exhibition aims to explore why it’s urgent and necessary to transform the suppositions that undergird such discourse and calls for safety to be reconnected to practices of love, intimacy, sharing, commonality, mutual support, attention, care for each other and for the environment, and social alliances.

Survival Kit is organised by Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), the largest institution of contemporary art in Latvia that curates and produces contemporary art events of national and international scale. As of 1993, it has researched and curated contemporary art processes both in Latvia and abroad to provoke critical reflection on issues topical for contemporary society. We are widely recognized  for our annual international contemporary art festival Survival Kit, regular exhibitions at the  Latvian National Art Museum, as well as Latvian participation at the Venice Biennale, São Paulo Art Biennial, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Rauma Biennale of Contemporary Art. LCCA holds the only archive of Latvian contemporary art.

Artists: Alevtina Kakhidze, Omar Mismar, PEROU, Pilvi Takala, Polina Kanis, Robert Gabris, Sabian Bauman, Karin Mischalski, Saskia Holmkvist (with Ellen Nyman & Corina Oprea), Sauli Sirviö, Sigrid Viir, Silje Figenschou Thorensen, Yazan Khalili, Muhammad Ali, Martta Tuomaala, Līga Spunde, Alexis Destoop, Anna Dasović, Apparatus 22, Emma Wolf-Haugh, Envija, Evita Goze, Evita Vasiļjeva, Imogen Stidworthy, Johan Grimonprez, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Katrīna Neiburga, Klara Källström & Thobias Fäldt, James Bridle

We need oil to breathe (2018) painted steel, inkjet print on glass-fibre wallpaper, shaft (found in Turku 2018)

Two months of black plastic bags mixture II” (2018) newsprint, polycarbonate, synthetic rubber (found in Paris 2018), steel

Blueprints_silver_room (2020), Metal holder for emergency shafts (found in Turku 2018) laser print on overhead projector films, spray paint

Documentation: Madara Gritāne