MPLab Liepaja Garden, virtual exhibition

Planting a Resort for Mental Ecology

People of Liepaja know very well that a garden is essential for keeping the status quo – without planting a park along the coast, the little seaside town would be consumed by sand, wind and water. The roots of trees keep the structure of the dunes stable, and people of Liepaja can retreat from the everyday struggles and storms in a safe and constant calmness of the garden environment. "Planting a Resort for Mental Ecology" is a response to the current overwhelming political, environmental and economic uncertainty of today. Residing in the coastal resort town of Liepaja, the artists and researchers of MPLab are exploring the fragile structure of mental ecology (Guattari 1989) and developing techno-ecological systems and strategies for well-being during the times of change. In the web-based exhibition online visitors will be able to explore physical and virtual gardens planted for self-sustainability, mental exercise and retreat.

Organised by Liepaja University Art Research Laboratory MPLab (LV) and
ASTE. Art, Science, Technology, Education (LV)
Curator: Anna Priedola
Artists: Maija Demitere, Krista Dintere, Rogier Jupijn, Diana Lelis, Tija Plāce, Andrejs Poikāns, Andra Strautiņa, Līga Vēliņa, Ieva Vīksne, Paula Vītola, Spāre Vītola, Milda Ziemane etc.
Design: Kaspars Jaudzems, Līga Vēliņa

MPLab – Liepaja University Art Research Laboratory (LV)

Liepaja University Art Research Laboratory (MPLab) was established in 2006 as a structural research unit under the Faculty of Humanities, Liepaja University. The general aim of MPLab is to perform scientific research in the field of new media, culture and education, and to establish dynamic, innovative and responsive environment for research in art locally and nationally. MPLab develops new media art education in Liepaja in strong collaboration with art practitioners, NVOs and public institutions.

The main tasks of MPLab are based on the research of the process in visual and sound arts practice and theory,  immersive media art and art education realizing national, international and interdisciplinary research projects realizing and promoting them via publications, conferences, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, short term artist residencies and annual international art festivals and platforms like Update festival (,  Sound Days ( and Open Lab produced in collaboration with Latvian media art centres like ASTE, E-LAB and RIXC.

Maija Demitere (LV) and Rogier Jupijn (NL) “Natural Growth” (2020)

tele-gardening experience

The artists are offering to embrace the boredom, to practice mindfulness.
In a world full of uncertainty and anxiety, Maija Demitere and Rogier Jupijn have created a mediated environment where everyone is invited to come and watch the plants grow. Plants will take all the time they need, regardless of human will, nearly all of the process of gardening is waiting.
In this mediated environment, the artists are sharing their life and the life of their plants.

Maija Demitere is an artist and doctoral student of Liepaja University exploring self-sustainability, slow media art and gardening as a method for nurturing a stable mental ecology. Currently she works together with Rogier Jupijn (NL) – a tinkerer and teacher of electronics.

Krista Dintere (LV) “Sound Evolution” (2019)

Krista Dintere is a sound artist working on immersive sound environments which explore the evolution from 'original' to 'representation' and from 'representation' to 'original' in sound recording and sound generation techniques. Her composition “Sound Evolution” (2019) uses the healing effect of bee buzzing. Recent human activities are threatening the survival of species and bees are in a slow but steady decline. In the artwork natural field recordings and sound samples of bees are transformed into abstract sounds, chords and timbres by following a simple rule of movement from natural to nature-like, from reality to imitation.

Diana Lelis (LV) “Meta-modern Conshitness” (2020)

an audiovisual poem

Combining her media art and creative writing background the artist expresses her in and out & on and off life practice – physical and emotional in the post-industrial, post-war, post-resort beach town of Liepaja.

i promise to speak
with no mistake
to treat myself through the brief threats
diving into the sea as a flow of my conciousness
articulating developments – the creation (system) i’m living in

Impro - live piano record for inner peace – particular balance of pastoral optimism, countered with a shaded melancholy – like closing your eyes and looking right at the daylight.

* For better experience – artist wants You to close Your eyes!

Tija Plāce (LV) “Acousmatic ecosystem” (2020)

audiovisual experience

"Acousmatic ecosystem" depicts a way to perform "forest bathing" at home. As biodiversity declines, biophilia (coined by E. O. Wilson) is also threatened, which is perceived as an innate emotional attachment to natural processes and all living things; this connection has shaped the development of humanity and has significantly influenced the work of artists in particular. Considering the change of nature and the presence of the technosphere, the "Acousmatic ecosystem" simulates a touch of nature through technology (sound and light) in order to maintain the biophilia in man’s subconscious.

In this work the real life forest walks serve as graphical timelines that connect the field recordings (from three forests) in a single composition. Walks in the forest can serve as a tool for art co-creation. In a way other non-humans, members of the forest ecosystem were involved in this composition making. Living and nonliving things influenced the visualizations of the walks, which were later used as timelines. For direct involvement of emotions, memories and imagination the "Acousmatic ecosystem" limits visual perception of the "viewer". The projection on the face aims to evoke memories as if being surrounded by the trees. Close your eyes and see the nature!

Andrejs Poikāns (LV) "The Garden" (2020)

A.I. audio composition

The author is exploring the shift in commodification of identity in the time of Artificial Intelligence. His generated sound art piece "The Garden" (2020) is an exploration of intimacy in the context of overwhelming artificiality. Drawn from the notion of J. Derrida, if "voice is consciousness” it is utterly strange – or even uncanny – to imagine the traces of one's consciousness and body being deprived from oneself, copied, stored, commodified.

Andra Strautiņa (LV) “Liepaja Pet Cemetery Sound Walk” (2018–2020)

web archive

The pain and grief after a death of a pet due to illness or age can be compared to how people feel when they lose a human friend or loved one. The unofficial animal cemetery in Liepāja is proof of the intense emotions – a vernacular self-organised build near the human cemetery next to the beach which serves as a resting place for hundreds of pets. Tombstones, monuments, artificial flowers, candles, animal photographs, memorials, toys or other animal accessories reveal a close link between a human and a pet that persists long after the animal's death.

The interactive audiovisual archive of Liepāja Pet Cemetery is a result of a longer research of the local phenomenon in order to preserve the spontaneous social act digitally, and to study the relationship between people and animals revealed by the burials. It is an immersive sound walk based on a sonic approach that offers viewers a spatial experience through interactive online interaction.

Līga Vēliņa (LV) and Ieva Vīksne (LV)

By exploring different methods of mental hygiene and wellbeing technologies, artists have created a visual representation that let’s others explore the progress of these practices and daily data measurements. Artists invite the audience to wonder in to a sculptural garden of data in Web VR environment.

Paula Vītola (LV) “Rise – Set. Liepaja” (2020)

Video documentation of a site specific performance where the main performers will be the artist and the sun. Paula Vītla will follow the sun as it will be moving around and changing the position of the shadows. The performance is going on for three hours and in three different locations in Liepaja during sunrise, midday and sunset, challenging the seeming human “independence” from solar cycles since the application of electricity.

In the process there is generated sound using photoacoustic principles: the formation of sound waves in accordance with the absorption of light by a material sample. In order to obtain the effect, the light intensity must vary, either periodically (modulated light) or as a single flash (pulsed light).  The discovery of the photoacoustic effect was made in 1880 by Alexander Graham Bell, who built the first electronic wireless communication system: the photophone which serves as the main inspiration for the artist both technically and conceptually.

The technical setup consists of sensors and a solar panel that absorbs the energy from the sun and “sees” the slight differences in the light as it changes, and which we are not able to perceive. Subtle changes in the spectrum of light are responsible for the frequencies we hear. The solar panel can be used as an analog input device for any audio interface.

Paula Vītola is media artist and researcher using the light-sound interface for sound performances and exploration of natural phenomena. It is the belief of the artist that media art can make one's life seem longer by triggering their curiosity and attention, and thus increasing their mental well-being.

Spāre Vītola “Curators” (2020)

video 7'12''

Balconies in Karosta, like all other balconies of multi-storey houses, are like podiums on which you can see a piece of how it really is, because the house is not an object or a building, but a set of different memories, hopes, daily rituals, fears and other emotions. And exploring the contents of the balcony is like taking one step into this person’s house.

Milda Ziemane “BIM-IN-(m)E” (2019–2020)

The song “Bimini” by the Latvian composer Imants Kalniņš tells about the paradise island (Bimini Island), where the source of life can be found. This idea further serves as a source of inspiration for the author's creative process.

This artwork represents a relatively natural environment – a swamp – which is created artificially. Swamp sounds like bird songs, insect drone, frog howls, etc. are created with various sonic techniques – digital and analogue synthesis, voice recordings, DIY instruments. Composition gives the opportunity to immerse oneself in the acoustic reality, forgetting about the designed patterns, and emotionally and psychologically allows us to approach the mystery of the primordial nature of oneself.

In Latvian folklore, it is often mentioned that mystical forces live in the swamp, which attract the traveler with various voices, sounds and lights. The author's voice material is used in the artwork, which represents this seducer or deceiver.

The idea of the work emphasizes the global ecological problems related to accelerated urbanization.

For better experience use headphones