In light of our current situation, the 2nd edition of Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA2), and suddenly it all blossoms, had to be reimagined. Initially planned to open on May 16, 2020 with a five-months duration, the project will now transform into a feature movie and the unfinished exhibition will become its film set, introduced through an online series of talks and conversations starting May 21, 2020.
RIBOCA2: and suddenly it all blossoms, curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, grew out of the urge to change our way of inhabiting the world through reaching out to other voices, sensibilities, and ways of making relationships. As an alternative to the deluge of hopeless narratives, the notion of re-enchantment became a frame for building desirable presents and futures, where the end of “a” world does not mean “the end of the world.” The present global circumstances resonate dramatically with the project and its urgent call for reinvention. Yet it has meant that the exhibition’s original plan, composed of 85% new commissions, cannot be carried out as initially imagined, as parts of the world have abruptly paused and with them core transport and production infrastructures.
As conventional ways of making, thinking and experiencing are being profoundly challenged, the need to reimagine exhibition formats and access seems more pressing than ever. Adapting to the great level of uncertainty in the coming months while maintaining its commitments to the artists, and suddenly it all blossoms will be transformed into a movie set, which will be open to the public for three weeks if conditions allow. The film itself will present a dialogue between finished, unfinished, and absent works. Somewhere between a ruin and a construction site, at the threshold of unknown tomorrows and open possibilities, and suddenly it all blossoms acknowledges our situation and the limits of our control.
Taking place in the Tarkovskian settings of Andrejsala, the former industrial port of Riga, the film follows the remnants of the original exhibition plan and unfolds as an odyssey, a drift and a meditation that evolves between the works, surrounded by an ecosystem of granaries, empty lots, wastelands, an abandoned power station, a paintball field, hangars, bird colonies, a railway station and cruise ships, among others. Bearing the traces of yesterday’s industries while awaiting its potential rebirth, Andrejsala is a metaphor for the ruptures of modern utopias, Soviet ideals and capitalist hopes borne by Latvia’s tumultuous history. The film is equally a reflection on thresholds, on standing at the intersection of past and nascent worlds.
The series of talks and conversations, imagined with associate curator of public programmes Sofia Lemos, will start on May 21, 2020. Unfolding through RIBOCA2 digital platforms, it is constructed from a glossary that has been crucial to the Biennial’s curatorial proposition. Outstanding theorists, researchers, poets, and writers are invited to reflect on words such as Ends, Human, Love, Underworlds, Care, Magic, Voices, or Ghosts, taking them as lenses through which to consider alternative perspectives and visions for our presents and futures. Contributors include CAConrad, Marisol de la Cadena, Emanuele Coccia, Boris Groys, Jack Halberstam, Tim Ingold, André Lepecki, Sophie Lewis, Michael Marder, Birgit Menzel, Astrida Neimanis, Tobias Rees and Marina Simakova.
The visual identity, developed with the Laboratory of Manuel Bürger, equally echoes ideas of movement and mutation. Inspired by the notion of the atmosphere as a site of mixes, circulation, and permanent becoming, the campaign will begin with the motif of clouds obstructing vision and perspectives. Evaporating as the weeks pass, the clouds will morph to allow images of the project, the works and the venues to be slowly revealed.
Full participant list here.