. community —

Rasa Smite answers

interview with Rasa Smite (rasa@parks.lv), Latvian artist and curator,
after ART +COMMUNICATION, November, 22-23

Lialina: Rasa, how many (and what) new media conferences you visited
before you decided to organize "Art +Communication" in Riga and how many
(and what) new media conferences you visited before you organized it ?

Smite: 1.The first conference were I've got more information about new
media activities was in Tallin, Understanding Interactivity, exactly a
year ago in November 1995. Immediatly after this conference I started to
work to establish Electronic arts and media center in Riga.

after I visited:

2. August, 1996, Computer-art festival NEW BODIES in Maribor (Slovenia)
, where we with Raitis presented our video installation "The Hedgehod

3.September 12-14, 1996 I participated in Media & Ethics conference in
Helsinki with presentation about media art situation and new tendances
in Latvia.

4.In September 17-22, 1996 we four people from Riga (Raitis Smits, Janis
Garancs, Alise Tifentale and me) participated in V2_East Documantation
Meeting conference (DEAF). I and Janis made presentation about media art
in Latvia.

In last day of this conference I suddenly decided: we have to make an
official opening of E-L@b with small conference.

5.In October 1996 I was in Metaforum 3, Budapest and invited some more
people to participate in Art+Communication.

So finally the conference become not so small and actually it was really
important event in Latvia.

L: What is e-l@b?

S: e-l@b is creative group of people (or group of creative people),
although officialy e-l@b is electronic arts and media center, but more
and more I prefer to call e-l@b - open creative group.

L: 4.Who is e-l@b?

S: four people-founders Rasa Smite, Janis Garancs, Raitis Smits, Alise
Tifentale, some more young artists - Gints Gabrans, Arvids Alksnis, Toms
Vitins (he also is musician) - they all participated in their first
Internet art project "Riga-fresh" (I guess, it also was the first
Internet on-line art project in Latvia) , Riga's part of the Internet
project Refresh (which is organized by Vuk, Alexei and Andreas), and of
course some more nice people, who has interest in new media activities
and would like to know something more. I hope there will be even some
more people who will join us in projects.

L: How much time you spent to get a computer and internet access?

S: more than half a year.

L: What else do you have?

S: many nice people and ideas around

L: At Riga Art Academy and at Secret Experiment club were a lot of
young people listening very attentivly to speakers (Baker, Bunting,
Dzerve, Kluitenberg, Lialina, McCarty, Shulgin, Steimane, Vanags). Do
you think it was the interest to smth actual, or to smth absolutly new?

S: Not really interest to something absoutely new, but many people had
heard about it and wanted to get to know more. Of course many issues
like the net culture were really new.

L: How can you describe old media art situation in Latvia now?

S: I am not so interested in it and i have not thought about it very

L: How can you describe new media art situation in Latvia now?

S: Everything is just at the beginning and it starts to grow more
popular. Specially if we are able to stand against the commercial move
with our creative ideas and work.

L: Your next project?

S: uncertain although there is a lot of ideas

L: Next conference you are going to partisipate in?

S: no idea

L: Next conference you want to organize?

S: i am not quite sure, but of course i will organize some new media art