THE SUMMER OF ZERO
* The facts
Karosta is a suburban district in the city of Liepaja on the west coast of Latvia. Karosta was built apprx. 100 years ago as a militar fortress and harbor for the Russian Impair. Just some years ago the Soviet army was managing it for their military purposes - it was strictly forbidden for any non-military people to enter Karosta, which at that time was inhabited by 25.000 militaries. The Soviet army left Liepaja's Karosta as late as in the summer of 1994 and the area opened up. Inhabitants today: 7000.
During the Summer of Zero different art, culture, exchange and social projects took place in Karosta. Three projects that integrated between themselves and gave a wide possibilities to make this Summer of Zero to a great cultural happening.
* Subjective Objective - an international art and culture exchange project that started 3 years ago (1997) was managed and fulfilled by young and "spiritually young" Latvian and Swedish photographers, filmmakers, painters, musicians, poets and others.
The project finished with a grand exhibition (18-27th of August), that was held in an empty 5 stored building in the middle of Karosta. Then the threads of several projects came together.
… but first the marines from Latvian Sea Forces (located in Karosta) helped artists to clean the exhibition house. It was the first time in a very long time that something was built and cleaned instead of destroying and robbing...
In these actions children who were involved in the creative workshops took an active part…
* The creative workshops for youth and children in Karosta were:
Camera obscura - (called also for pin-hole camera), June
Workshop leaders Marcis Bendiks & Andrej Ivanov (Latvia)
30 participants - young photographers from Riga and Karosta
* Do it yourself
Workshop leader Kajsa Sveilis - June, July
Karosta kids & youngsters making sculptures, paper, applications, preparing a huge "alien" sculpture for the exhibition.
* Children art school
Workshop leaders: Filippa Arrias & Lisa Bjorklund (Sweden) - July
Ceramics, painting, masks, games
Participants 25 children from Karosta
* Pirat radio Karosta FM
Workshop leaders Kate Rich & Heath Bunting (Great Britain) - August
Local radio project:
9 youngsters from Karosta (this project is continuing, see below)
Workshop leaders Viesturs Grazdanovics & Ilze Ruska - July, August
Children making their own animated films
* Video, film
Workshop leaders Martins Avots, Olegs Straume - July, August
Children making their own video films
* Karosta choir
Musical leaders Peteris Draguns. Olegs Straume, Nils Ile, Maris Mikulskis
* Let's return to the exhibition… 18th of August. 00
So every artist took one or two or three rooms in this "central art gallery" and installed their works that was mainly photos, paintings, slide shows, installations, and so on. In the exhibition also the best of the children's works that was made during the summers workshops were exhibited. At the opening the "Karosta children choir" sang the new anthem of Karosta "Wake up!"
The same day a 100 filmmakers flew in with a Swedish Army plane "Hercules". They were participants of the international filmmakers meeting "Transit Zero", that took place on the both sides of Baltic sea. 5 Days in Vickleby, Sweden, three days in Karosta, Latvia. Directors, photographers, producers, scriptwriters, teachers, students, buerocrates from Sweden, Moldova, USA, Russia, Great Britain, Columbia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Argentina, Latvia, South Africa, Estonia. "Transit Zero" is a meeting place for old masters and youngsters. Together they learned about new technologies, exchanged knowledge, strengthened their contacts, watched, analised and discussed films, put the first steps on a new path for cooperation. Many of the participants led different workshops connected with film and video.
…so they flew in and on the big screen (300 square meters) on the fasade of the exhibition house a film show started. The audience was apprx. 400 local inhabitants - children, their parents, old people from the neighbourhood, guests from Riga and other cities and countries.
At the same time the second part of animation workshop took place in front of the exhibition house so the creative work continued hand in hand with the show.
The exhibition created a huge resonanse in the society. One part of the people hated it - they where almost offended by the show. Their comments were that they already live among the ruins and poverty and it was no reason to make art out of it. The others loved the exhibition, even cried and were emotionally touched…
Exhibition lasted for 10 days and during that time lots of people also from Liepaja city center came to see it. For some it was the first time they ever visited Karosta…
* What's next?
We - the organizers think that the Summer of Zero was the first great action in this region and it must grow and develop. Right now together with the active people from Liepaja we are creating a culture and information center in Karosta that will continue to work in direction that was started during this Summer of Zero.
The autumn number 1 has began and in November we are opening a first activity room for children & youngsters in Karosta: Internet café and youth radio project will go on, later comes photo lab, video studio and lots of other things.
* The organizers
Project "With my eyes"
Technical creativity house Annas 2
Housing management Karosta
Latvian Culture Capital Fund
Latvian National Centre of cinematography
Latvian Sea Forces
City Council of Liepaja
* For further information - don't hesitate to get in contact: