Normunds Kozlovs

I am pleased to greet you on behalf of the Riga new media center RIXC at our host floating art gallery, Noas. The fourth ART+COMMUNICATION festival is opened under the sign of Intercultural Jamming. As the title announces, this is the border-situation of open meeting space: the sphere of improvised and interactive communications, in a way, jazzy performance.

I hope it won't become jammy in the sense of communication distortion--the sort of traffic jam or warfare radar broadcast jamming several western radio stations experienced here during the soviet era. Here is the meeting point of different backgrounds and cultures as well as different media styles and formats--> aural, visual, textual, spatial and virtual.

For almost a decade, Riga, Latvia has been a place free of totalitarian control and centralization. It has changed drastically within these ten years. And those changes became possible and real due to the openness to change and, of course, thanks to the initiatives bringing about the change.

We are still enjoying the same formal freedom of information. Freedom is needed in order to fill in the content of these formal shapes. Of late, new media practice is subversively taking on that responsibility--it provides the content of change.

Simultaneously, media practitioners are becoming the policy makers. And our discussion tomorrow is dedicated to the NICE network interface for intercultural exchange, "policy meets practice". Uncovering conditions for new communication forms and unleashing new dimensions becomes urgent in the administrative battles for their very existence.

The new media culture inheriting the civil resistance and grassroots publishing traditions is initiated by an interdisciplinary field with international backbone that is right now stepping out of virtuality and ready to appear on the radar screens of local mass media, administrative and official institutions. We all are participating in this process not only by being very here and now but also through all kind of support. Thank you!