BCC: Blind Carbon Copy

is a gossip and research based collabo-
ration between Maija Rudovska and Juste Kostikovaite who met during Group Affinity summer school workshop by Slavs and Tatars, held at Kunstverein München in 2011.
      BCC serves as a network project for curators from the Baltic countries and Scandinavia. It’s title, Blind Carbon Copy refers to the transmission of secret information through the bcc: function in the email programmes, when information is shared but the fact of sharing is hidden from the addressee.

Project is supported by Nordic Culture Point, The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture

The Season of Learning

The Season of Learning is devoted to the celebrations of centenaries that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and many other countries marked in 2017 and 2018. The project is looking back on the 100 years of history and, at the same time, looking at the 100 years to come.
      How to think about the potential models of acting in the future and acknowledging the past without normalizing it? How to live in the present not knowing the future?
      Alex Cecchetti’s performance “Walking Backwards” (2013) serves as an inspiration for this project. The Season of Learning borrows this particular method of looking backwards as a conceptual tool in approaching the past, present and future cases of the Baltic countries with possible interactions with other Nordic and European regions. The network aims to create a collage of past events remixing them into new contexts. What can be celebrated, what can be re-valued, what can be brought into the future?
      The Season of Learning is a network project, realized over 3 years (2016 - 2018). It serves as an educational tool for its members, who engage in shared activities and knowledge exchange. The network project focuses on strengthening ties within the art-world by recognizing it as the most important infrastructure between people from various art scenes from the Baltic, Nordic and other European countries.

Viktorija Siaulyte (LT/DE), Monika Lipšic (LT), Egle Kulbokaite&Dorota Gaweda (LT/PL,CH/SE), Andreas Nilsson (SE), Nikolaj Stobbe (DK), Sonia Dermience (BE), Geir Haraldsen (NO), Zane Onckule (LV), Jenna Sutela (FI), Kristel Raessar (EE).

Behind the scenes of BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) and Season of Learning:
BCC was established 6 years ago by Maija Rudovska and Juste Kostikovaite based on a need and a lack of structure that would unite the Baltic context and people and that would address the different and the common problems, such as education in our region. We have been aiming to learn and educate ourselves by creating a lively networking system and structures of self-organization. Instead of going to the academia and being attached to a certain institutional frame, we intended to develop something that would sustain our needs without being overly involved in other power structures (which obviously is a bit naïve). We also believed that this platform would give us the freedom to build up a system for ourselves – both being related to the contexts we come from and aiming to work internationally. As it normally happens, we first looked towards our neighboring countries – the Nordic region and built the networks with them, afterwards expanding our contacts and developing this network project internationally.

September 28 – 30, various locations in Riga, Latvia

The Season of Learning network unfolded into a seasonal educational platform with is first event Language: From Practice to Action, launched in Riga in collaboration with the Art Academy of Latvia, 427 Gallery, Kim? Contemporary Art Centre and Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art.

It aims to foster critical thinking and discussion about the field of contemporary art and the processes and politics surrounding it in the Baltics and beyond. Taking the form of a symposium and a set of workshops, the event focused on language in its broadest sense: as a means of communication that can either bridge communities and individual interactions or bring conversation to a deadlock, a tool to exercise power over the marginalized but also an instrument for possible emancipation of communities or locations.

Ieva Astahovska, iLiana Fokianaki, Santa Hirša, Victoria Ivanova, Katia Krupennikova, Anne Szefer Karlsen, Kristel Raesaar, Margaret Tali.

Curated by Maija Rudovska and Inga Lāce.

Supported by OCA, Latvian Culture Capital Foundation and the Nordic Culture Point Mobility programme.

December 2, 2017, ARS, (Tallinn, Estonia)

Young Girl Reading Group 151: Folding City, a performance by Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė
      By pronouncing words out loud, emphasising the relationship of body to text, a collective body is created. YGRG is a sonar-social architecture of shared curiosity and synchronicity. The reading becomes a rhizomatic network of voices, suggestions and references. A vulnerable hyperbody is formed. It is composed not only of particles and molecules that circulate within, but prefaces, dedications, citations, appendices, illustrations, references, notes, diagrams and thoughts which travel in reverse.
      YGRG 151 is a further development of YGRG 144 performance that took place at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London as part of In Formation event series curated by Juliette Desorgues. Reading parts of Hao Jingfang’s “Folding Beijing”. Full text accessible here

Maria Metsalu, Pire Sova, Keiu Krikmann, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė. Costume: YGRG and Anne Karine Thorbjørnsen. Sound: Brooklyn Bridge.

Organised in collaboration with Keiu Krikmann (Konstanet).

Supported by the Nordic Culture Point Mobility programme, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

Special thanks to Ari King, ICA London and Juliette Desorgues, Safiya LaGillé, Ellenx Tellnobody, and Catherine Prieto Österberg.

September 28 - October 1, 2017, Tallinn Photomonth (Tallinn and Narva, Estonia)

The Season of Learning network meeting took place during the professional week of Tallinn Photomonth. The meeting was organized in collaboration with Tallinn Photomonth and Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center encompassing a number of activities, including a trip to Narva.

June - August, 2017, Calvert22 (London, UK)

The Future is Certain, It‘s the Past which is Unpredictable, is a project curated by Monika Lipšic at Calvert 22, London. Artists: Emily Newman, Juan-Pablo Villegas, Felix Kalmenson, Emilija Škarnulytė among others.
      The Future is Certain, It‘s the Past which is Unpredictable picks up a Soviet joke to open up a space for reflection on writing history. The title could be read as an ironic comment on the ideological system, but it rather compels to see the complex relationship between great forces – the past, the present and the future – from a larger philosophical perspective. The past is seen here as a potent force in the sense that it doesn’t just go away naturally, as pointed out by the African postcolonial thinker Achile Mbamba. Some work has to be done: cultural, social, political; otherwise the past reasserts itself in the present and the future. To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it “the way it really was”, according to Walter Benjamin. This is particularly true in relation to artists working with historical material. This group will present a range of artistic manipulations, representations and comments on historical events, as well as suggest metaphorical lenses to view the relationship between past-present-future – not necessarily in a linear way.

August 28 – 31, 2016, Nida Art Colony (Nida, Lithuania)

The first meeting of The Season of Learning network took place at the Nida Art Colony, that is known as an art and meeting place, surrounded by sand dunes and seas, providing a space for a creative confluence of academic and non-academic education, artistic and scientific practice, hard work and leisure. Alongside the usual “touristic” activities like walking by the seaside, going to swim, sunbathing or having ice cream, the participants of The Season of Learning engaged in doing morning pilates, that taught us to link the imagination with our bodies), reading Ursula K. Le Guin's text The Seasons of the Ansarac, initiated by the Young Girl Reading Group, that reminded us of the smoothness of a rhythm, monotony and sharing and watching films as a form of rest and relaxation.
      The meeting in Nida provided a certain setting for the generation of future plans/ideas and joint collaborations. It was triggering the memories of being together without a directly visible goal or aim, like group activities that we all did back at school, during camp seasons, etc., requiring to indulge in a relaxed and processual activity of mind and body connection.

Letters from Sonia Dermience

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dear Maija,

We had great talks!
In the permanent natural state of crisis caused by capitalism, can we expect some relief or some breathing room or critique from the arts? Speaking with your artist and curator friends in Riga for several days about the situation in art and politics, I learned about the post-bloc art & life in Latvia. Ainars Kamolins said capitalism is still a dictator that you can trick easily… Miķelis Fišers said looking for justice is not enough… Tomass Parups was wondering if post-modernism ever existed here… If high art represents the avant-garde announcing new trends of emancipation and low art is a mere decoration to cure our alienation, then it would be clear. No, we are in a grey zone of blurriness that allows us to forget about the black & white / good & bad. Now all is in all, and it's all possible in the margins or at the borders of certain moral limits and acceptance of economical disasters and disorders. If art can be a medium of liberation, it should be directly effective to be evaluated. It is truly possible in the sense of our lives being positively affected by all the turmoil and excitement of our practices and dialog. Art being a moment of opening of your private realm. The exhibition is like an open studio, the open diary of a life. It questions private property and reveals intricate feelings providing an intimacy and leading into the realm of others. The shared moment like in a Church, including believers, the shared experience like in a Rave party including a modification of consciousness. This is my state of mind before leaving Riga with no Palace of Culture; What is official art in regard to Sate's requirements for public money and what the market dictates to us is not an issue if we remember the uncertainty of the quest into the inner self and the outer environment. Maybe then the liberation is more dialectic than catholic or more psychedelic than rational;
+ names of visited artists/curators:

Kaspars Groševs
Evita Vasiļjeva
Ainārs Kamoliņš
Darja Meļņikova
Margrieta Dreiblate+Aksels Bruks

Very best,

ps: I lost my phone with the photos in it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dear Maija and colleagues,

I wrote this on the train from Warsaw to Vienna and I wish to continue to travel from Brussels in the region, visiting art centers and artist studios and other people and then write about it as a travelogue punctuated by photographs for a blog. This written and photographic material could be used in combination with an exhibition curated by all of us. I could visit the artists and other people you recommend as a preparation of the project and documentation of the human landscape.

Looking forward,

"She must be around 18. Her name is Casha. Her baby, not yet walking, is eating crisps. In front of me on the train Warsaw-Vienna. The guy in front of me, Polish as well, started to speak right away about clubs next to Gare du Nord in Brussels, where he works on construction sites… Sunny frisk November day, 7 hours spent on the train as a romantic old-fashioned way of traveling. They left the cabin and came back. He is divorced with two kids, he showed me photos of his ex-wife. He is going back to the village. His car is in Belgium, a black Audi I saw in photos with his tattoos on his chest, symbols of success and sexyness. He is cute. Young. You can feel cosyness in this cabin with them and one other girl who does not speak as she must feel ashamed of a possible closeness with unexpected encounters, random people. She speaks to only to share wifi with me and I realize she just doesn’t want any contact with the others, whom she must see as lower class. The young mother has a beautiful voice. She is elegant, dressed in black. The baby just made a mess with another pack of crisps that was next to my seat. She is sitting on the floor trying to eat them. Now strolling around with the mother who seems happy as much as the baby, both seem warm people. Looking through the window I think about contraception and abortion. The land is flat. Small trees. I type with one finger on my phone. Thinking about that photo I want to make of Jean-Pierre pissing on a car at night with the flash. A naked woman riding the bronze crocodile in the Botanical Garden would be too political maybe? Emeline could also just sit inside the car at night. A kind of Vogue magazine reportage with flash at night, in color. Characters who question belonging and possession of private spaces and people. This guy in front of me should be part of the shoot. He wears a green Adidas jacket with jeans and has perfect short hair shaped in the back. He just asked the other girl’s name who as I understood replied Sandra. She doesn’t want anything to do with a too young mother and a construction worker. The Guy just made a sign to Casha to go back to the toilet but I don’t know if he mimicked a blowjob or a cigarette. She puts lipstick on. He tries to sleep. The baby is learning English with the phone repeating ‘Hello, how are you?’ Then records her own voice, repeats it and laughs to finally switch to heavy techno. This pink pullover makes me look fat in this combination with a wool leather brown skirt. The grey leggings are ok with the boots and the skirt, still the top ruins the ensemble. If I put on lipstick, they will think I want to have sex. Or that I am an old, wicked lady. The baby is dressed in soft pink like my lipstick called "rouge pure couture". I put it on and feel already so full of reassuring intimacy in this cosy warm cabin full of sun and beautiful people. I have to pee. I think about sex when I close my eyes. The guy is asleep. So is the baby. And so is Sandra. I can see Casha making photos of her pack of crisps. First stop - a city of houses and blocs, no one would choose to live here if you are not from here and still half of the Polish population believe they have a problem with foreigners. Police get on the train. Policemen are back. Two young guys."