Latvia and Estonia share some common history and occupy the same geographic region, and are faced with many of the same problems: a decreasing population, an uncertain relationship between ethnic groups, a strong disconnect between the urban centres and rural areas, and poor communication between municipal governments and society. This situation has birthed unique, diverse forms of artistic and cultural production, often taking a grassroots approach. Kompass brings together various activists (by which we mean merely those who are ‘active’ in cultural initiatives) to discuss their shared experiences and innovate new possibilities.
We have chosen ‘public space’ as the theme of Kompass. Riga and Tallinn, unlike many European capitals, have vast amounts of space that are either unused or in transitional states. It is often difficult for grassroots initiatives to utilise these spaces due to economic (and other) pressures. The machine of economic development rarely allows for creative or unconventional use, and when it does, it is usually in a temporary, limiting context. Kompass participants are linked by the desire to put spaces like this into the public sphere, making them available for gatherings, events, and culture production.
How can initiatives rewrite the conversations regarding property and space? Can the temporary, transitional reality of our projects be embraced while still building longevity through sustainability? How can initiatives embrace their differences to construct strong, dynamic collaborations? Can we create new and invigorating ideas that critically address our environments, while building on previous success?
Kompass welcomes those who address these questions, as well as those who would like to.