Inter-format Symposium 2014


May 22–25, 2014, Nida, Lithuania, Download programme/poster in PDF .

Download Extented programme with participants biograms (PDF)

Photoreportage from the 4th symposium

Documentary film (18 min) on the 4th symposium by artist Akvilė Anglickaitė

Text by Jurij Dobriakov in Echogonewrong

Text by Ernest Truely in Echogonewrong

The Inter-format symposium is a main yearly Nida Art Colony event which is a merge between academic conference, art festival and cosy performative meeting of interdisciplinary professionals. This year it is a part of the techno-ecologies project in cooperation with RIXC (Latvia).

At Nida in 2014, the Flux of Ecosystems of Sand, Water and Man will be discussed in depth and performed from sunrise to moonset during lectures, performances, site-specific artworks, workshops and collective dinners. The participative nature of the symposium brings together 30-40 professionals for 3 days and nights to spend time in the intensive and productive sharing and working environment.


Preliminary topics, questions and keywords addressed

The symposium is happening in the middle of Curonian Spit (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List) which is a 100km long geological formation (peninsula) of sand, dividing the Baltic Sea with it’s salty water ecosystem, and the Curonian Lagoon with fresh water ecosystem. Therefore the specific issues of the site are raised to discuss the globally relevant problems.

MAN AS ECOSYSTEM: Exploring liminal passages through interplay of man and nature.

A possible point of reference - Peter Trimble project where he makes sculpttures from urine and sand "Microbial Manufacture" (video)

BRACKISHNESS: Challenges found by probing (dis)balances caused by human impact on sweet and salt water conditions.

A possible point of reference Artists-in-residence in Nida in 2011 project "Brackishness" where people on the lagoon was watching the sea and vice-versa. Made by artists Marjolein Houbein (NL) and Irmelin Joelson (SE).

SŪROKI – The Dialectics of the Brackish  Nida, Lithuania 15.04.11 – 20.06.11  As the wind currents once carried sand, blowing a long peninsula offshore the mainland – it divided the water into two biological spheres. The sandy land tongue in front of the coast formed a barrier between the Eastern sweet  water of the Curonian Lagoon and the salt  waters of the Baltic shore. At the distal end of the peninsula – where the passenger ferry touches both sides to pick and drop – the two join, become brackish  and loose their characteristic features. The vague contours of the location where one stops and the other begins meeting the shoal of sandy land, somewhere, in the middle.


MOVING SANDS: Case studies on local histories of Curonian Spit, from sand dessert, with XIX century dunes fixation and buried villages to forestation of dunes and green cube.

A possible point of reference Artists-in-residence in Nida in 2013 project Animation/Untitled (video) made by Synops Collective

TECHNOLOGY-MADE NATURE: Predictions and scenarios of XXII century futurological forecasts with historical XIX century interventions in mind, nature as critical inspiration instead of romantic with questions of technological bridge and divide.

A possible point of reference Artists-in-residence in Nida in 2011 project proposal for futuristic postcards by Hanna Husberg (a moving dunes landscape with artificial white trees which reduce albedo as well as global climate warming)


SEASONAL DRAMAS: coastal survival strategies with Nida as exemplary case to experience desert and frozen landscapes. Both as seasonal phenomena and by manmade interventions (like UNESCO programs)

A possible point of reference A photograph of sandy moving dunes dessert in winter with frozen lagoon in Nida



FROM COMMUNITY TO COMMUNE TO COLONY: Coping and coexisting with invasive exotic species, both human and natural, as settlers, artists and cormorants (birds), issues of isolation, living in (presumed) secluded communities.

A possible point of reference: artists' communal dinner and "invasive" cormorants (birds) colony in Neringa



Sea Ecosystems: changing sea levels, algae, pollution, brackishness, borders, marine debris / treasures

Man and Sand-Made Landscape: national park as green cube, moving / dead dunes, migration of birds and tourists, artificial nature, moose, deer, boar and cormorants

Food, Energy and Sustainability: fishing, foraging, sustainable transport, small-scale farming eg. hydroponics, energy production, supermarket dominance


Curatorial Board: Rasa and Raitis Smits (RIXC, LV), Andrew Gryf Paterson (Pixelache, SCO/FIN), Erich Berger (Finnish Society of Bioart, AT/FI), Jacqueline Heerema and Ronald Boer (Satellietgroep, NL)
Board  will be responsible for spreading out open call and inviting  participants (speakers/artists) as well as chairing some sessions and  hosting guests in Nida. 
Curator: Vytautas Michelkevičius
Curonian Spit and Lagoon Satellite photo by Landsat NASA 2000
Curonian Spit and Lagoon Satellite photo by Landsat (NASA), 2000 
Project Techno-Ecologies
aims to re-approach cultural, social and ecological sustainability through artistic explorations and cultural innovation.
Beyond questions of finite resources and obvious forms of pollution and environmental degradation, Techno-ecologies attempts to develop sustainable relationships with technology and our living environment should take into account far more complex layerings of the way we inhabit our current technological ecologies. Such a deeply informed ethical and philosophical perspective is indispensable if we hope to find less hazardous routes into the future.Techno-Ecologies builds upon the concerns of Felix Guattari about the lack of an integrated perspective on the dramatic techno-scientific transformations the Earth has undergone in recent times. Guattari urges to take three crucially important 'ecological registers' into account -the environment, social relations, and human subjectivity.
The Techno-ecologies project is designed and implemented by cultural organizations: RIXC (Latvia), Baltan Laboratories (The Netherlands), Napon (Serbia), Ars Longa (France) and Finnish BioArt Society (Finland) together with institutional partners: Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (Finland), Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Arts Academy (Lithuania), MPLab (Art Research Lab) of Liepaja University (Latvia), and in collaboration with their associated partners: Van Abbemuseum (The Netherlands), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina in Novi Sad (Serbia), Pixelache / Pixelversity (Finland), Serde (Latvia) and Chant des Possibles (France).
Dr. Vytautas Michelkevičius ­(LT) is a curator, art and media researcher, lector at Vilnius Academy of Art and former artist. He holds a PhD in Communication and Media studies from Vilnius University. Since 2011 he is artistic director of Nida Art Colony – artist in residency and experimental education space on the Baltic Sea Coast in Lithuania ( At the moment he is doing post-doctoral research on artistic research as intersection between art practice and humanities and social sciences.
Vytautas Michelkevičius has authored or edited more than 10 catalogues and books on media theory, art and photography in 2002–2011. Michelkevičius co-edited the following publications: Mapping Lithuanian Photography: Histories and Archives (Mene, 2007) with Agnė Narušytė and Lina Michelkevičė, (In)dependent Contemporary Art Histories: Artist-run Initiatives in Lithuania 1987-2011 (Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association, 2011) with Kęstutis Šapoka and Generation of the Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics (Mene, 2011), and curated the exhibition of the same name at Tallinn Exhibition Hall (Estonia) in 2011. In 2005–2009 he was the editor-in-chief of the online media culture journal
Andrew Gryf Paterson (SCO/FI)
Scottish artist-organiser, educator, cultural producer, and independent researcher, based in Helsinki, Finland. Andrew has worked across the fields of media/ network/ environmental arts and activism, specialising in workshop design, participatory platforms for engagement, and facilitation. His research interests are: socially-engaged art; auto -ethnographic and -archaeological methodologies and theory; sustainability issues from the social, ecological and economic perspective.
Erich Berger (AT/FI)
Austrian-born Erich Berger is an artist and cultural worker based in Helsinki, Finland. His interests lie in information processes and feedback structures, which he investigates through installations, situations, performances and interfaces. Berger’s work has been shown and produced internationally, and received a number of awards. Currently Berger lectures at the Fine Art Academy in Vienna/Austria and is the director of the Bioartsociety in Helsinki/Finland.
Rasa Smite (b. 1969, Riga, Latvia) is a new media  artist, curator and network researcher. She has graduated from the  Latvian Arts Academy, and holds a doctoral degree in sociology from Riga  Stradiņš University (the topic of her PhD (2011) thesis was "Creative  Network Communities"). Currently she is director of RIXC, and Associate  professor in New Media Art, and a researcher at the Art Research Lab  (MPLab) at Liepāja University.

Raitis Šmits (b. 1966, Riga, Latvia) is a new media  artist and curator. He is an Assistant Professor at the Visual  Communication Department at the Latvian Arts Academy, where he also is  currently a PhD researcher (his PhD thesis is "Problematics of Archiving  and Representing New Media Art"). He also teaches New Media Art  students at Liepāja University, and is artistic director of RIXC.
Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits have been working together in new  media art field since mid 90ties, when they established the E-LAB (1996)  and initiated several pioneering streaming media projects, including  Xchange Net Radio Network (awarded by PRIX Ars Electronica in 1998).  They are also founders of the Art+Communication festival (since 1997),  chief editors of the Acoustic Space publication (since 1998), and  founders of RIXC, the center for new media culture in Riga (2000). Their  recent co-productions include: Art and Renewable Energy Network project  (since 2009), and work "Talk to Me", commissioned for Gateways  exhibition (KUMU museum, Tallinn, 2011).
Artist run initiative Satellietgroep is based since 2006 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Worldwide coastal regions are under tremen­dous pressure due to climate change, shifting economics, politics and tourism. Faced with major coastal transitions in past, present and future, The Netherlands as a delta country has to deal with the prospect of rising sea level, shrinking land, disbalance of salt and sweet water, rivers too full or empty. Sand is the most innovatory coastal protection material for The Netherlands, called 'building with nature', after sixty years of building dykes, as 'building against nature'. The Dutch coast is a cultural man-made landscape.
Satellietgroep is an international network that explores how the sea and waterways influence cities, people, communities and environments with the aim to enhance public and professional awareness on coastal transitions. Since 2009 Satellietgroep developed the international artist in residency program called ‘Badgast’, located at the surf community F.A.S.T. on the coast in The Hague at Scheveningen, in the context of major coastal transitions. Starting 2012 we initiated the international exchange project called ‘Now Wakes The Sea’ to reflect changing sea and coastal landscapes with coastal communities elsewhere.
In both projects artist in residencies are used as a research method. The programs enable artists and scientists to do fieldwork and to work on site with local partners, coastal communities and experts in order to map out and research the current status of coastal transitions and to generate new narratives and perspectives. During these residency periods new works, both conceptual and documentary ­ are developed that reflect upon the complex and layered social, environmental and economic developments of coastal areas. The artist in residency programs Badgast and Now Wakes The Sea function as an alternative source for collecting. Satellietgroep collects the intangible local knowledge derived from the artistic and scientific projects. During these residency programs new concepts and works are developed that we collect, connect and contextualize with existing works for public events like traveling film festivals, exhibitions, workshops and presentations at expert conferences. By interconnecting coastal communities, arts and science we share local knowledge on global level to gain sustainable insights on coastal transitions that transcend local and national issues.

Jacqueline Heerema (NL) curator, director of Satellietgroep

Jacqueline Heerema is trained conceptual artist, studied museology, works as independent urban curator, is experienced in engaged large scale new heritage projects and develops interactive community based collections to develop new artistic insights that she connects to non-­artistic domains. She started her own ‘museum’, de-constructed the classic concept of museums in ‘The Chamber of Marvels’, and is founding director and curator of Satellietgroep since 2006. Her favorite role is to be the catalyst between society, arts and science.

Ronald Boer (NL) landscape architect – co-curator of Satellietgroep
The artistic research of Ronald Boer concentrates on highlighting the anomalies created through man’s intervention in the landscape. He puts the emphasis in showing his work in a constant state of change and transformation. As an ongoing project Boer is part of an artist duo with Valerie Dempsey, together they form an artistic research platform that draws in fine art, landscape architecture and science. Ronald was artist in residence of Badgast in 2010, and is co­ curator of Satellietgroep since 2011.



Techno-Ecologies residents (2013-2014):

Nestori Syrjälä (FI), Grit Ruhland (DE), Daniela Palimariu & Claudiu Cobilanschi (RO), Isidora Todorovič & Andrea Palasti (SRB), Theun Karelse (NL), Ernest Truely (USA/EE), Justin Tyler Tate (CAN/EE), Björn Kühn, Gabriel Hensche & Anna Romanenko (DE), Frauke Materlik (NO/DE), Martinka Bobrikova and Oscar de Carmen (SP/SK/NO).



Team: Daina Pupkevičiūtė, Linas Ramanauskas, Rasa Antanavičiūtė, interns Natacha Paganeli and Ugnė Menkevičiūtė, Julija Navarskaitė


Photo/video Akvilė Anglickaitė and Vsevolod Kovalevskij






Mazas herbas NL



This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the informatikon contained therein.