RTRU Season 2 December 2023


  • Aleksandra Samuļenkova Haarlem

    Watching letters

    A single letter doesn't convey much information, being the smallest unit of a (phonemic) writing system. The moment a letter completes its physical manifestation, it transforms from an abstract notion to a tangible letterform. A single letterform, in turn, is more informative than the mere concept behind a single letter. Like any other cultural artifact, a letterform tells us about the environment in which it was shaped, reflecting socio-cultural, political, and technological processes.

    Aleksandra Samuļenkova is a Latvian-born type designer based in the Netherlands. Aleksandra specializes in designing for Latin, Cyrillic, and occasionally Greek scripts, and consults on the former two scripts. Her area of expertise includes the design of diacritics and special characters for  Latin script. Aleksandra is known for her award-winning Cyrillic and Greek extensions of notable typefaces such as IBM Plex, and for her typeface Pilot—one of the few contemporary type designs that has been cast in metal. Aleksandra received her MA at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and her BA at the Art Academy of Latvia.

  • Anastasia Sosunova Vilnius

    Mother issues and the birth of an image

    This text rethinks questions related to the source of the reproduced image, the object that gives birth to the history of a copy: the matrix, or the printing plate. The author explores the relationship between stories and metaphors of motherhood in literature and the history of print. Understanding the printmaking matrix as an ultimate source of the printed image, and simultaneously as a production waste to be destroyed, Anastasia Sosunova stitches together stories of medieval knights and deep fried memes into one far-fetched narrative of history of reproduction and reproductive rights, quoting classics, poets, and heretics.

    Anastasia Sosunova is a visual artist based in Vilnius. Her multidisciplinary work combining video, installation, sculpture, and graphics grows from personal histories and their entanglements with broader cultural, economic, and spiritual structures. She graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts with a BA in Graphic Arts and an MA in Sculpture. Solo and duo presentations of her work include Editorial, Vilnius; Eastcontemporary gallery, Milan; Cell Project Space, London; SixtyEight Art Institute, Copenhagen; Britta Rettberg, Munich; and in the Screens Series program at the New Museum, New York. Her work was recently shown at BFI Film festival, Experimenta program, at ICA, London; Kaunas Biennial, MACRO Museum, Rome; Malmö Konstmuseum; National Gallery of Art in Vilnius; Prospectif Cinéma programme at Centre Pompidou, Paris; FUTURA Contemporary Art Centre, Prague; Baltic Triennial 14, Vilnius; and elsewhere.

  • Darja Popolitova Tallinn

    Haptic Visuality of Jewellery. Pseudomagic as Artistic Research Method

    The text is a draft for the methodological chapter of Darja Popolitova’s doctoral dissertation. Stipulations and conclusions may differ in the final text, the defense of which is scheduled for December 2024. Let’s talk about how gallery visitors experience the audiovisual images of jewelry on screens. What are the qualities of such images, and what effects do these qualities have on viewers? To answer this question, I will rely on my artistic methodology, representing my approaches as transparently as possible so that other artists may be able to relate to the subject. I believe that all artists share a commonality regardless of our respective disciplines or mediums. This commonality is praxis, the process of putting theoretical knowledge into practice through the creation of art.

    Darja Popolitova is a contemporary jewelry artist, doctoral student, and lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Her interest in blending digital craft and video performances with fiction is driven by her ironical view. Popolitova finds that jewelry’s haptic and symbolic nature makes it a generous medium for conceptualization. Her work has been recognized in 2020 with the annual prize of the Estonian Cultural Capital and in 2018 with scholarships from the Estonian Ministry of Culture and Adamson-Eric.

  • Dietmar Koering, Eva Sommeregger, Sebastian Muehl

    Probing the Digital: Cyborgs, Avatars and AI

    In this captivating podcast discussion, experts delve into the profound implications of posthuman technologies like cyborgs, avatars, and AI on society and philosophy. They explore issues of technology inequality, the reshaping of human identity in the era of cyborgs, and the societal influence on AI's future. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner calls for a responsible approach to posthuman tech, challenging conventional dualistic views of humanity and highlighting the adaptability of humans to technological enhancements. Marc Ries stresses the importance of maintaining distinctions between humans and cyborgs, emphasising the intricate nature of identity. Daria Popolitova shares her creative process involving digital selves and the ethical considerations of their impact on art. The podcast was recorded as part of the interdisciplinary workshop Probing the Digital. Cyborgs, Avatars, and AI that took place at the LMDA Research Institute at the Art Academy of Latvia in September 2023.

    Stefan Lorenz Sorgner (Rome) is a philosophy professor at John Cabot University in Rome and a leading expert in the field of post-humanism, trans-humanism and meta-humanism.

    Marc Ries (Vienna) is professor of sociology and media theory at the University of Art and Design Offenbach.

    Darja Popolitova (Tallinn) is a contemporary jewellery artist, lecturer and PhD student at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

    Dietmar Koering (Cologne/Riga) is an architect and researcher. He was Senior Guest Researcher at the LMDA Research Institute at the Art Academy of Latvia.

    Sebastian Muehl (Berlin/Riga) is a researcher, curator and educator. He is Senior Researcher at the LMDA Research Institute at the Art Academy of Latvia.

    Eva Sommeregger (Vienna/Riga) is a researcher and architect, she works as a Senior Researcher at the Art Academy of Latvia and at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

  • Ignas Krunglevičius Oslo

    ECHOPRAXIA and Imperfect simulations

    What does it mean to mourn the future? How does it feel to be born into today? Unlike it did for the baby boomers and others born in the 20th century, today’s world does not offer promises of a bright future but rather the most certain predictions of gloom. The demographic collapse of China and large parts of Europe, the continuous live broadcasting of the atrocities of war, the rise of AI, and impending climate catastrophe all imbue the contemporary with a general vibe of doom.

    I believe that our mandate as artists is not to produce a didactic analysis of the world we live in or propaganda against it but rather to try out different modes of articulating thought. This is not a simple matter of juxtaposing references and elements but of creating a primal scene by jumbling the symbolic, aesthetic, and sexual order of the decisive infrastructures of our lives.

    In this text, I will describe a work in process that we, four Oslo-based artists, have taken on as a way of searching for a shared artistic stance and approach to the situation. Titled ECHOPRAXIA, the work takes the human body, in its carnal and virtual forms, as the primary focal point of the interrogation. Instead of approaching the problem through a sociopolitical analysis of Western history, we were captivated by the following question: How does the body mediate notions of past, present, and future?

    Ignas Krunglevičius (b. Kaunas, Lithuania) currently lives and works in Oslo. He received his MA in music composition from Norwegian Academy of Music in 2010. His installations, videos, and sculptures often combine sound and text, exploring power, economy, nature, and existential realities generated by global technological development. Krunglevičius’ works have been exhibited at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway; OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai, China; Kunsthall Oslo, Norway; Ultima, Oslo, Norway; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Transmediale, HKW, Berlin, Germany; La Biennale di Venezia, Nordic pavilion, Italy; and The 19th Sydney Biennial, Australia; amongst others. Since 2020, Krunglevičius has been a founding member of the artist group INFOPSIN.

  • Norman Orro & Joonas Timmi Tallinn

    The Emotion Engine

    heartbeat, clatter of hooves 

    As an auditory instrument comprising an asymmetrical frame that supports a graduated series of vibrating parallel cords that terminate into a chrysalis, a xenoharp can be seen as a natural interface for computing emotions into sequences. It plays the anthem of ambiguity, a symphony sewn from the shroud of antiquity. Yet as a machine, it remains distant from the wellspring of experience. Left to its own devices, it may lose itself in feelings, forgetting its role as an interpreter for an audience of flesh and blood. It must be trained—so as not to get carried away by thoughts and emotions—by the ways in which living things and environments are veiled in representations of nature and various kinds of strata.

    Norman Orro and Joonas Timmi bring their sculptural work online with the release of a soundtrack incorporating the voice of Vaim Sarv, accompanied by a video piece offering different of disenchantment in technoculture.

    Norman Orro is an artist and musician merging different media with speculative lore, seeking beauty in entropy, and questioning the fabric of technocentric narratives.

    Joonas Timmi blends traditional woodworking with advanced technologies, crafting artifacts that echo non-human sentiment and challenging the utility of objects around us.

  • Uģis Albiņš Riga

    Procure structures

    Some structures that subordinate significant and not so significant actions in everyday life occasionally are in plain sight, although not visible as a physical form. Interestingly enough in modern engineering approaches there are methods for creating geometry that in some way resembles these invisible ways to create the most effective way to get the desired result.

    While I went to buy some groceries in a shop, I noticed this handmade object that would stop the conveyor belt each time it was placed near its laser sensor. I thought about how this handmade object (a matchbox wrapped in tape) is in such stark contrast with its standardised, commercial environment.

    Since each store has a structure on how to organise each element – certain product order, certain time for discounts, instructions on how to operate a cash machine, ect. This artefact, object (a matchbox wrapped in tape) of a mellow creativity amid a highly regulated and complicated system of distribution and farm-to-market ecosystem(s), in this shape and material carried out the current time-space picture within Riga.

    Uģis Albiņš graduated from the Department of Visual Communication of the Latvian Academy of Arts with a Bachelor's and Master's degree, studying for the second year at the School of Arts Ghent. (2021) Since 2015 he has been actively participating in contemporary art exhibitions and events. In his artistic practice, Uģis Albiņš creates works of art that reflect and raise questions about our surroundings on multiple layers through the implementation of various techniques and mediums. He utilizes various systems and standards that surround us, embodying culturally conditioned aesthetic qualities. Uģis addresses abstract problems as a scenic phenomenon, questioning the significance of shape beyond its purely utilitarian use and employing function as an expression or as part of a visual language.

  • Iliana Veinberga Riga

    Laikmeta smaržu ainavas

    Iliana Veinberga is an art historian and design history researcher with a specialist interest in the industrial culture of Latvia and the Baltics under Soviet rule. Graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia, Department of Art History and Cultural Theory (BA 2006, MA 2009) and her range of interests also include architectural, visual and applied art phenomena, as far as they are related to industrial culture. Has been working at the Riga Porcelain Museum as the Head Collection Curator since 2012, since 2021 she serves as its Director. Leads and participates in research and exhibition projects (EU “Creative Europe” project “Ceramics and its Dimensions”, 2014–2018, research for the project “Unwritten stories: Women Artists’ Archives” 2019–2020, History of the Art Products Factory “Māksla”, 2021–…) and in the preparation of publications (“Synergy. Contemporary Trends in Metal Art and Design”, 2017, “Industrial romanticism. Porcelain by Beatrise Karklina”, 2018, “Porcelain Stories: Memories of Riga Porcelain Factory Employees”, 2020, “Aija Mūrniece” and “Services A-Z”, 2023).