encountering emerging naturecultures

GREEN School: Sensible Ocean (1.3.)



Dates (Period): 01/09/2020 – 31/12/2020
Location: Riga, and RIXC Fields residencies, Latvia, Switzerland, and Iceland
Organizer: RIXC

The conclusion of the activity at the Forest Garden Greenhouse Concert 2020. RIXC Fields residency.

The GREEN School: Sensible Oceans featured residencies and workshops, mainly organized in the RIXC Fields residency, hosting artists Paula Vitola, Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits, as well as in Switzerland, featuring a field trip to Iceland, hosting the artists Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits. The activity also included the production of the Atmospheric Forest VR installation by Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits at the RIXC residency.

The residency results were presented in Waves – Lights – Shadows worklab by Paula Vitola at the RIXC Gallery, as well as at the Forest Garden Greenhouse Concert 2020 from the RIXC Fields residence, presenting the results of residencies and workshops, and concluding the activity.

The Waves – Lights – Shadows worklab by Paula Vitola

360 degree video tour of the Waves – Lights – Shadows worklab by Paula Vitola. Guided by the curator Raits Smits.


The Waves – Lights – Shadows worklab by Paula Vitola featured artistic experiments, attempting to understand seemingly self-evident phenomena – sound and light. By using light as a source for sound, it makes intangible and invisible phenomena visible and workable visually, opening up new possibilities for experimentation.

So far, the artist has created a variety of prototypes for obtaining sound with light-performance tools that can produce sounds using motors, strings, Christmas lights, water bottles and other objects; a sound recorder using a mirror and sunlight instead of a microphone; as well as a device for listening to the sounds of insect wings.

The light used in the worklab was used to create sound using the principle of photoacoustics, which was already discovered in 1880 by Alexander Graham Bell. During the worklab, visitors could view the experiments of the artist – sketches of the process, prototypes and tools for sound creation will also be displayed. In the artworks, the creation of sound and experimentation becomes an exciting, playful process that the exhibition visitors will have the opportunity to try out.

Paula Vitola is an artist and lecturer at the University of Liepaja, mainly working in the field of media art and art research, as well as recently focusing on sound art. In her creative work, the artist is experimenting with different technologies, natural and physical phenomena, trying to understand them, finding new means of expression and ways to deal with them.

Forest Garden Greenhouse Concert 2020

Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits. The Forest Laboratory, 2020. Forest Garden Greenhouse Concert 2020. Photo: Didzis Grodzs


The artists, that took part in the Forest Garden Greenhouse performance programme, are: composer Platons Buravickis, sound artist Ivo Tauriņš, young musician Lauris Šmits, RIXC residency artist Daniel Hengst (EMARE / Germany), and the authors of this project – artists Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits together with VR artist Kristaps Biters. The new media artists Andris Vētra and Artis Kuprišs participated in the program with their jointly developed concert robot – as a representative of urban culture, in the concert it encountered nature for the first time; in the greenhouse where the concert took place and which is home to both tomato seedlings and a young pine tree, it revealed an artistic techno-ecological clash.

In the Forest Garden Greenhouse performance program, composer Platons Buravickis played his composition Red Wave, which reveals information as fluctuations. Fluctuations form various shapes that resonate. Tracing the fluctuations, how they resonate with each other, it turns out that the sound and colour are not much different, that a person is not much different from a tree – they are either alive or not. The composition does not study colour, but the meaning of waves (fluctuations), which would stimulate to be united with all living things.

Generated forest by sound artist Ivo Tauriņš is a composition and multi-channel sound installation created in summer 2020 at the RIXC Fields residence. The artwork deals with the relationship between nature and technology. In nature, everything happens cyclically – life on Earth is provided by continuous geological and biological energy exchange processes.Today’s challenge could be how to maintain a balance between man, nature and technology, as man-made technologies could be the basis for fundamental changes in the normal course of order of things.

Rivers in the Sky by young musician Lauris Šmits explores the global water cycle, how water travels from trees into the atmosphere and then back down to Earth. Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapour into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds of kilometres away.

The Forest Laboratory, which is the venue for the concert, is a new art study on climate change, the greenhouse effect and human-plant interactions launched this summer by artists Rasa Šmite and Raitis Šmits; it is also a continuation of their artwork – Talk to Me. Human-plant communication. In addition to the new pine, which is equipped with environmental sensors that simulate future climate change in the greenhouse, The Forest Laboratory also has an online communication interface  – Talk to me. The artists invited the audience to visit, wherein was possible to talk to the plants of The Forest Laboratory. The messages recorded online were read through the loudspeakers for the tomatoes and pine growing in ThemeForest Laboratory greenhouse, where the concert took place.