iWeek – Liepāja University

Louise Lawlor and Clive McCarthy were invited to run a workshop as part of Liepāja University’s 7th international New Media art festival ‘iWeek’ 2-7 November 2015 Of course they jumped at the chance to return and their workshop became ‘Human < > Object’.

They took along 4 students from Lincoln School of Film and Media; Philippa Revitt (Media Production), Emma Heaps (Media Production), Joseph Lewiston (Media Production) and Thomas Love (Film and Television). They began the long journey to Liepāja on Monday 2 November and after arriving late in the evening they began looking ahead to day 2 and the start of the workshops. The majority of workshops began on Tuesday 3 November in both MPLab and Vecā Ostmala 54 (an abandoned house used by a group in Liepāja to stage events, parties etc and converted this time into the grand base for iWeek).

Philippa and Emma took part in the second part of the Connected Neighbourhoods project along with Īstā Madara and Linda Strauta (LV), Thomas took part in Tibor Kecskés (HU) workshop ‘Open Up Famous Paintings Into 3D!’ and Joseph Lewiston signed up for Gyorgyi Retfalvi and Zoltan Gayer’s (HU) workshop ‘Looping iWeek’.

Louise and Clive’s workshop began on Wednesday 4 November in MPLab and included participants from a range of nationalities; Dana Rasnaca (LV), Iris van der Harst (NL), Annija Gancōne (LV), Marta Matuzeviča (LV), Kristaps Strungs (LV) and Teotim Logar (LV). Day 1 centred around discussions of the workshop concept, with explorations into what ‘human’ and ‘object’ mean. So on to day 2; the group agreed the final outcomes would be in the form of experiments that they undertook and would film and edit together in order to present, this matched the experimental thinking of the workshop and became spontaneous reactions to the concepts of ‘human’ and ‘object’.

Photo: Valters Pelns

The 3 outcomes became:

Louise and the Connected Neighbourhoods team took part in the Open Idea Space on the Wednesday evening. Louise gave a talk on her recent MA project ‘Mapping an ethical becoming, or, devices for the anthropocene’ and the Connected Neighbourhood team went through what they had worked on in Lincoln and were working towards in Liepāja. The talks were live streamed and the rest of the team watched along with messages of support.

Photo: Valters Pelns

The group went along to the iWeek dinner on Thursday 5 November, where all workshop tutors and participants came together to enjoy a meal and make connections.

Day 3 of the workshop and final exhibition day on Friday 6 November produced 3 videos of the 3 experiments and as a group they decided to exhibit these projected one on top of the other onto an object in the space. Using a mac mini to power a projector displaying the mapped videos onto 2 doors that had been abandoned in the space, giving these inanimate objects an agency and a life force they didn’t have previously. Bringing them and the room alive with the sounds of laughter from their Laugh in a Jar experiment. (A special thanks goes to Pēters Riekstiņš for the fantastic technical help!) On the guided tour of the exhibition by the lovely Anna Trapenciere, Louise and Clive gave a short introduction to the workshop and what had been produced in collaboration with the students. Inviting viewers to explore the room in their own time.

Photo: Valters Pelns

Photo: Valters Pelns

Thomas exhibited his installation of the Vitruvian Man expanded into a 3-dimensional space and viewable from a single perspective. Thomas gave an excellent introduction to the work and got people involved to interact with the piece to find the perfect viewpoint.

Photo: Valters Pelns

Joseph also exhibited the final outcome from his workshop, Joseph and the workshop tutors created a loop of all workshop groups using stop motion photography. This was an effective piece to capture the energy of iWeek and celebrate the many workshops going on.

Photo: Valters Pelns

Philippa, Emma, Madara and Linda showed the final outcome of the second part of the Connected Neighbourhoods project, a film and soundscape of the communities of Liepāja ending with an interactive map where they invited people to pin their favourite place in the city.

The group then had a chance to explore the other excellent workshop outcomes on display. All in all it has been a fantastic experience and, although tired and exhausted, the group are all full of inspiration and motivation for future areas of collaboration.

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