Lift Up Your Yellow Crown
Festival Survival Kit 13 group show The Little Bird Must Be Caught. Former bank building, Pils street 23, Riga, Latvia
Curator: iLiana Fokianaki
Mixed media installation (2 video, prints of digital drawings (paper), objekts (linen, wood, metal, clay, papier-maché)
A few years ago, mom warned the girl about false amber found on Latvia’s western coast. It is dangerous as it’s liable to combust spontaneously. Back then the girl did not know that what they call false amber is actually phosphorus, which had made it into the Baltic Sea around 1988, when the Soviet Army was blowing up expired aerial bombs at a seaside village. Dad told the girl about an industrial seaside town where the windowsills were red from the dust of potassium chloride. There was a rumor during the years of the Soviet occupation that the town was detrimental to human health.
To the girl, the Soviet Union seems to be a bygone age. Too far removed in time to be hers. But it is still current even today, when the bombs the era left behind itself are exploding intermittently.
The five-year plans and forced industrialization of the USSR declared their victory over unpolluted nature. The landscapes of yore yielded to the agrarian reforms and the silicate brick buildings. The Latvian Society for the Protection of Nature and Monuments opposed this sacrilege, giving rise to Latvia’s first-ever green movement, the Group for Protecting Great Trees. The newspaper article on the fate that would befall Daugava River, were a planned HPP built on it, inspired people to take action against the project. In saving the river, people started saving themselves. The Nature Protection Club organized an initiative for having clean air to breathe, prayers over an unpolluted Baltic Sea, and protests against the slated Rīga metro. It gave people the chance to come together and make themselves heard.
Lift Up Your Yellow Crown shows the transition from mutilated and poisoned landscapes to patched-up territories, restored waters and land in a free country.