Cabinet of Miniatures and Delight at the Contemporary Art Festival Survival Kit 14 “Long-distance Friendships” curated by Inga Lāce and Alicia Knock


September 2023

Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

Riga, Latvia


The idea of the exhibition Long-distance Friendships stems from history of emancipation struggles in the 1960s, when the Soviet Union and other socialist bloc countries purposefully cooperated with countries in Africa, participating in their decolonisation processes – from economic and military aid to educational and cultural exchange programmes, while attempting to impose socialist ideology through indirect colonization. Although the primary aim of these ideologically motivated aid programmes was to extend socialism's influence in the world, they often offered the communities of students, artists and workers involved a completely new experience and a new perspective on the world.

Embedded in the complex legacy of the Cold War festivals that served as performances of peace and friendship, 29 participating artists and artist collectives in Riga propose a redefined framework for a transnational event addressing the issues of co-existence today. Cross-cultural exchanges enact a deconstructed congress for future friendships, where traces of lesser-known episodes of Soviet cultural diplomacy merge with fictional encounters.