So I went to Riga to take part in a meeting of a group of organizations that have for 10 years worked together thanks to the support of Nordic Culture Point. They have finally decided to move forward and get a bit more funding and work closely on supporting art run initiatives and spaces.
The partners included the impressive Free Riga movement that successfully occupies abandoned spaces in the city and gives them for use to creative and not-so-creative entities. In fact, the meeting happened in one of the sites they manage, and it was indeed a beautiful industrial space with mix use - an impressive bar with a concert hall, offices, art residencies and what not - you can see in the link, it’s massive. Riga is this incredible city with a lot of empty space - it was built for 2 million people, and its 1mln population from the beginning of 90-ties has declined to less than 700.000 and it doesn’t seem to restore. There are some rich people buying properties in the city (Russians for example), but the population is not changing drastically. It was very funny to discuss gentrification with Kurts, who runs this particular space, because to him many things I and an artist from Denmark painted as maladies of late capitalism, he really wished to see in Riga.
Anyway, the rest of the partners are Candyland, Ormston House, The Artist-Run Alliance, LTMKS 17, Top e. V., Syndicate of Creatures, The Alternative Art Guide, Konstfack Totaldobre and Aarhus Center for Visual Art / Juxtapose Art Fair.
What became clear very soon was that the application is going to be: too little money (200.000), too many organizations, and most of them Nordic, which means expensive, and too many ideas partners want to realize. I pointed this out and the next day a lot of the content was already scrapped, but it still remained extremely optimistic. Another problem was that the person that invited me to this meeting as a possible partner didn’t really support my ideas and input in this application, even though Edgeryders would be a great fit if at least part of the focus was on community building, with a purpose of exchange, p2p learning, and archive of practices, history, and experiences of artist-run spaces and initiatives. And that was meant to be one of the pivotal aspects of this application.
Anyway, I will be around the group for a while and see what comes out of it - I certainly met some people who might become valuable collaborators in the future. There’s a possibility that, since the ideas were so many and ambitions of the group so big, I can still make this happen at some point, under more comfortable financial situation, and this would be a great way for us to show the edgeryders skills and tech in collaboration with the art world.