We were supposed to be leaving for Riga at 5:30 in the morning, boarding was completed. Then came an announcement from the pilot: ‘Apologies for the delay. We cannot take off for Riga due to technical problems. Please disembark.’ Outside the plane, there was a car from the airport security waiting. We were taken by bus to an old terminal building at the other end of the airport, while passengers read out the latest news headlines from their smartphone screens: ‘Due to a bomb threat, there are no flights to or from the airport.’ What at first seemed a minor delay turned out to be a ten hour wait. Thus, I got a rather unexpected start of my long journey to Nida. Waiting at the airport gave me time to reflect: Is this trip really necessary? What do I expect from a weekend in the Baltic? I could have decided not to travel. However, I was looking forward to an interdisciplinary symposium which key-words and questions revolved around issues close to my practice.
From the outline:
‘One of the key question of Symposium is new ways of collaboration between artists & curators & researchers, looking for new formats in order to adapt to the new conditions of changing art world, institutions and audiences.
In a time where heritage, sustainability and ecology increasingly cross the path of tourism, artists working in remote contexts and tourists often share the observation of similar cultural objects: iconic landscape sites, vernacular culture and authentic artefacts, invented traditions and nostalgia.’
One day later, I finally found myself in Nida on the Curonian Spit, amongst dunes, and with a group of participants from various countries and backgrounds.
The first evening started with a tour around the artist studios, where we got an impression of the residents’ work processes.
A ‘Welcome Lecture’ by geography professor Ramunas Povilanskas from Klaipeda gave an impression of our immediate surroundings, outlining the challenges of the barrier spit and its popularity as tourist destination, questioning how tourism and artist colonies might interact and collaborate in the future.
The programme was densely packed, however, there was time for social gatherings as well: One of the highlights was ‘The Taste of Nida Art Colony’ by Marika Troili and David Larsson, who cooked a fantastic dinner, or as they would call it: ‘absurd dinner, where the dishes come from everywhere and nowhere’, combining Scandinavian and Baltic dishes.
…to be continued