Earlier this month I spent a few days in Sheffield, a city which I had visited only twice before and never for such a lengthy stay. I was participating in the Open Sourcing Festivals project, a Pixel network venture that seeks to open up the process of creating education-based cultural festivals. The idea is we will create a 'festival toolkit', all leading up to a festival in Sheffield one year from now. We were meeting at Access Space, the Sheffield partner and host of the forthcoming festival. Access Space is a brilliant concoction, existing somewhere between community computer lab, democratic art space, and social pratice centre; we were mostly spending time with James Wallbank and Jake Harries, two fantastic organisers who never stop moving and bring a tireless enthusiasm to everything they do.
It was fun to see what was happening at Access Space and elsewehere in Sheffield, and I also enjoyed reconnecting with the United Kingdom - though I never lived in England, I spent 2005-2008 in Glasgow and in some perverse way, the UK feels more like 'home' than anywhere else does. Access Space runs events constantly - we gave presentations of our individual projects in what was billed as the "Pixelache Nano Festival", and also got to experience an Open Platform event. Open Platform is curated regularly by Suzanne Palzer and crams the entire audience into a way-too-small foyer for 10 minute performances which are supposed to address technology, but without using it. The performaces (by Jake, Susanne, Liz Hall, Richard Bolam, Kate Sicchio, James Price and others) were fun, absurd, and definitely not a million miles away from the types of interactions I've tried to programme at Ptarmigan.
I was hosted by old pals Jon Marshall and Fiona Kennedy, who run the briliant Singing Knives label and have played in various bands and projects such as the Hunter Gracchus, Roman Nose, and Vampire Blues. These two are keeping a spirit of out/side music alive in Sheffield, becoming a real rallying point with their generosity and energy. I brought my viola and played a bit with Jon, Jon Collin (who visited from Stockport), Steve Chase and the great Luke Poot. Most importantly, I realised how long it's been since I've been in a lifestyle so focused on musical collaboration, and came back to Tallinn (where Ptarmigan is again hosting regular open improv sessions) with a renewed vigor.
Next month I'm heading to Athens for Art-Athina, where the AIM network will be holding a meeting and I'll be moonlighting/performing as staff of one of the AIM network galleries. June brings me to Sofia for the Water Tower Art Festival, where I will be leading some discussions around the theme of burnout and reinvention, entitled 'Why care?' The theme of Water Tower this year is 'Temporary protected spaces' which is on my mind now as I begin to wind down Ptarmigan's operations and look towards potential new directions. (Speaking of Ptarmigan, we'll have our summer programme announced this week.) I'm looking foward to spending some time in the South and encourage anyone to get in touch if you are in Athens or Sofia.
Recent and upcoming
Yesterday, I wrote an open letter to the incoming Estonian culture minister, and against my better judgement I shared it on Facebook. What resulted was not surprising - a plethora of ‘likes’ from friends, and it was shared by about ten other people to wider audiences.Read more
Dear Urve Tiidus,Read more
Hi everyone! Does anyone want to come to the west coast of Finland and wander around petrol stations for a few hours, picking up various random objects on the way, and then building narratives and histories around them?Read more
In August we're pleased to host Done Kino, the first Kino Kabaret event in Estonia. At Done Kino, participants will create collaborative film/video projects built from previously shot, unfinished material which they will bring. The workshop is set up as a 99-hour event, in three 33-hour sessions, with a public screening after each session. There's still a bit of space left on the participant roster if you want to join, and the screenings (and opening event) are free to the public.Read more
The last two interviews are combined into one file, and unfortunately we were limited by time and couldn't keep going. Love Enqvist is a Stockholm-based artist who was coming to Talinn to lead the Diggers and Dreamers workshop, and was willing to come to Riga a bit early to participate in this project. Our conversation began from his work researching intentional communities, and began with a discussion about utopianism and communities in general before getting into further flung topics. Jonas Büchel was a very pleasant addition to the day's activities - the head of the Urban Institute Riga, he was recommended by the Linnalabor crew back in Tallinn and he proved to be an amazingly insightful and energetic guest who I hope to collaborate with more in the future.Read more
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