Karosta welcomes the unique sensory expedition "Ekonauti"

Karosta welcomes the unique sensory expedition "Ekonauti"

A unique sensory experience expedition “Ekonauti” took place in Karosta last week, allowing the residents and guests of Karosta to explore the abandoned sites of the Karosta, their nature diversity, as well as to expand the visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory experiences by using technology to interact with different senses.

“We were delighted to welcome people of all ages, both children, young people, adults, and seniors, to experience the “Ekonauti” sensory expedition. Each generation is quite unique in their sensory perception of the world – while older generations are more comfortable with physical interaction with their environment, young people are more receptive to multi-sensory experiences, sensory stimulation, and technological processes in general. The “Ekonauti” expedition offered an opportunity to experience both,” says Juris Jirgens, Head of the Liepāja Culture Department.

The sound artist, assistant professor at the University of Liepāja Krista Dintere together with the text and media artist Diana Lelis encouraged to listen to Karosta and dive into the sound meditation of the surrounding environment. Using technology, the artists amplified the quieter and inaccessible sounds, allowing to hear, for example, what is happening under the surface of the water. New media artists extended the visual experience by presenting the seaside ecosystem in ultraviolet light. Maija Demitere and Anna Priedola, both artists and managers of the Art Department at the University of Liepāja, explored form and texture by making flags from reused fabrics, including dyeing, and painting them with eco-friendly dyes derived from leftover food. You could also check out the 3D augmented reality objects – a reconstructed Karosta cannon and a root system sculpture – on the ART+ app created by the media artists’ association “ASTE. Art, Science, Technology, Education”, which urged to take a look at historical and natural heritage, its natural decay processes, and the possible cost of preservation. Finally, wild plant expert and founder of “Nature Studio” Dr. ped. Vaira Kārkliņa inspired the participants to stimulate their taste buds by getting to know and tasting different plants.

"A marvellous experience! In a couple of hours, we managed to learn not only about the history of the Karosta, but also to experience and live the diversity of the Karosta environment to its roots. At first, sound meditation, touching seaweed in almost complete darkness and snacking on nettle chips might seem activities beyond the comprehension of a more conservative mind, but one after another the process created a deep sense of connection with nature, the environment and us,” says Linda, a visitor to the event, reflecting on her feelings.

The event was part of the international project “Future DiverCities” and opened the 2nd cycle named “Discover” of the cycle series “Learn. Discover. Think. Do.” The cycle will continue in September with an expert discussion, and will conclude with a second outdoor expedition, based on the mapping methodology developed by “Future DiverCities partner”, the Slovak NGO “Trajna”, tailored to Liepāja.

The event is organised by the Liepaja Culture Department in cooperation with the artists’ association “ASTE. Art, Science, Technology, Education” and the Art and Research Laboratory of the University of Liepāja.

As reported earlier, activities of the “Future DiverCities” project focus on exploring the positive aspects of the void in urban space: vacant areas as shared spaces for the local community and as floating expanses that require temporary and fluent use as biodiversity sanctuaries. This includes the question of how to revitalise vacant urban areas without creating new buildings and increasing the density of urban development. In addition, new ways of creating cultural activities that raise public awareness of the role of ecology and that encourage participation in the creation of an environmentally friendly townscape will be explored. Project activities will include discussion, trivia game, orienteering, meditation, engaging the local community in the art process, and involving international researchers in the methodology elaboration.

Until 2025, all project activities will be carried out in nine European cities – Berlin (Germany), Zagreb and Split (Croatia), Kuopio (Finland), Marseille (France), Florence (Italy), Timişoara (Romania), Eleusis (Greece) and also in Liepāja.

The project is implemented within the framework of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.