Pack Suitcase, Make Art

Art Case

Photo by Lance Robotson — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

This week I found myself in one of those conversations about “what is art” and “who defines it”: the creator? the audience? the critic? This conversation was a bit different because it was wonderfully short, to the point, and with an amazing commercial photographer, Mark Mann. (Mark covers everything from the hip-hop world to sports.)

At the same time, I noted a festival, newly posted on the site, has found a way to combine the professional practice with amateur aesthetic to create really wonderful art - Latvia’s Bildes Festival.

Believe it or not, one of the best destinations on the festival circuit is Latvia. One can find some of the coolest festivals - all kinds of dance, music and theatre - as well as a vibrant tradition in the visual arts.

Bildes, which begins performances this week, is a festival of blues, jazz, and folk music, along with special events for children’s music. In the lead up to the festival, they invite the musicians as well as photographers, critics, journalists, the artists’ children, and even ambassadors stationed in Latvia to create visual art.

The festival is now in its fifteenth year and is one of the leading Latvian Fests for music and contemporary art. In the past, the musicians and artists-to-be have painted just about any surface around - tables, bottles, shirts; constructed installations with pieces of computers, chairs, pillows, blankets, and silverware; and, made art from buttons. This year, the object d’art theme is the suitcase.

What a perfect image of art bringing diverse communities together. Now, one can travel with their art.

Bildes organizes a “summer camp” (held this year in Austria) to start the visual art process. Ivars Mailitis, whose accomplishments include the 1981 work “C’est La Vie or Rats Jumping from a Sinking Ship - The Soviet Union” designs the exhibit. The artistic journey culminates in “The Suitcase Parade.”

What’s the point of art? Here is Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks:

For people these days, traveling means not only going on holiday trips but also on business missions, and staying in airports for hours on end. As numerous visits abroad are part of a foreign minister’s job, and a suitcase is one of his ‘tools of trade’, I am truly delighted that Latvian artists have resolved to make this object more glamorous and attractive, thus adding colour to our life.

An object seen in a new way, a song heard as a memory — that works pretty well for answering “what is art.”

And who defines this art? For Bildes, they are creating art, creating community, creating audience, creating artists — in other words, it is no one person’s judgment, but everyone’s participatory prerogative.

- Bill Reichblum

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2 Responses to “Pack Suitcase, Make Art”

  1. panda mobidi
    October 9th, 2009 07:20

    Dear organier,

    I am very happy to have some of your messages through your internet site and by this, I wish to attend the international festival you will organise this days.

    However, I would like to inform you that we are a group named MOLENDE playing in Kinshasa , Democratic republic of congo . send us all the conditions of participation for this edition

    I am looking forword to read more about you and I can assure you that I will do all my utmost to deserve your trust.

    yours faithfully,

  2. Abdul Hakim Hashemi
    April 2nd, 2010 05:10

    Dear friend
    I am Abdul Hakim Hashemi tha General Manager of Simorgh Film Association of Culture and Art. in our company we produce Theatre and films. our theatre group would like to participate in your festival.
    please let us know about your decision to send you more details .

    With Warm Regards

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