Marking the centenary of the state of Latvia, this year in September the greatest meeting of space scientists in the history of Latvia will take place in Riga – European Planetary Science Congress. However, not only scientists but also artists are actively involved in investigating the secrets of the universe. In Latvia these are artists from RIXC Centre for New Media Culture, who enthusiastically begun cooperation with Latvian radio astronomers by the end of 90ies. One of the founders and former director of Ventspils International Radio Astronomy centre – Edgars Bervalds, has said about this cooperation: “art is able to fill in the vast spaces of universe that science cannot reach”.
In 2001 the RIXC Centre for New Media Culture organized an international art symposium “Acoustic Space Laboratory” at Irbene radiotelescope, with the view to discover possible applications of this unique antenna in art and civil communication. As a result a multimedia study was developed – “RT-32. Acoustic space laboratory” on the history of Irbene aerial and artist experiments in it.
During European Planetary Science Congress these videos will be demonstrated in specially created mobile objects. At the first object one will be able to watch a video on the history of this once secret Soviet military object since its origination in 70ies until Latvia re-instated its independence and the efforts of Latvian astronomers to protect this unique object from destruction, as well as the restoration in 90ies. The first time information on the existence of former secret communication centre “Zvaigznīte” (“Zvjozdočka”), located in Irbene, not far from Ventspils, and the massive parabolic antenna RT-32 and RT-16 was revealed to public, was only in 1993, when an agreement on Soviet Army clearing the Baltic countries was reached. Today both unique radiotelescopes of Irbene have been restored and Latvian scientists actively participate in observation of the universe.
The second video is devoted to the international sound art, radio and satellite technology symposium “Acoustic space laboratory” (2001), which was attended by more than 30 artists, radio amateurs and radio activists from different countries across the world – Latvia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, USA, Slovenia. Artists in their creative experiments both interpreted radio astronomical data, creating 3D visualizations, as well as made recordings, experimenting with the antenna acoustics. In cooperation with radio amateurs technical equipment for detecting satellite signal was also installed and communication satellite transmissions over the Indian Ocean were recorded, which were then converted into industrial, sound cosmic landscapes by Latvian sound artists from Clausthome.
Authors of thevideo “RT-32. Acoustic Space Laboratory” are Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits; the work was co-produced by artist Mārtiņš Ratniks; producer – RIXC. The original version of video “RT-32” (2002) is part of the collection of the future Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art.
RIXC is an innovative artists’ initiative that originated in mid 90ies as an electronic art laboratory and later – in 2000 was officially established as a centre for New Media Culture. RIXC founders are artists Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits who have been active and creative in the fields of art, science and new technologies since mid 90ies. Šmitses are also curators of RIXC annual Art and Science festival and chief editors of scientific journal and book series “Acoustical Space”. Rasa Šmite is also a professor in New Media Art programme in Liepaja University, and Raitis Šmits is an associate professor in Department of Visual Communication in Art Academy of Latvia.
In December 2016, Šmitses received the “Excellence award” from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, conferred for local and international success and contribution to culture.
The RIXC video installation “RT-32. Acoustic space laboratory” about the history of Irbene radiotelescope and artist experiments with radio astronomy.
During the programme of centenary celebrations of Latvia, the RIXC video installation “RT-32” will also be further available both this year and next year elsewhere in Riga and Latvia.
Welcome to visit the exhibition in the Radisson Blue Latvija Hotel, Elizabetes iela 55, Riga, 2nd floor, September 18–22, 2017, 10.00–18.00 (until 15.00 on September 22nd).
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 67228478, 29746163
Support: Special purpose programme “Latvia – 100” of SCCF (Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation); Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.
+371 67228478 (office)
+371 26546776 (Rasa Smite)