As part of the Liepāja Art Forum, art space Civita Nova of the Liepāja Concert Hall will host the exhibition Dairy Diaries. Dementia through Statistics and Stories by new media artist Anna Priedola, from September 29 to November 5. Inspired by the author’s personal experience, the exhibition uses audiovisual pieces and data visualizations to speak of topics like aging and loneliness, dementia, and shifts in family relationships as people encounter these natural life processes.
The exhibition is very closely connected to this year’s festival motto, All the Birds Sing, which is an ode to the various and unique voices of our world. Hearing the voices of dementia patients and their loved ones leads to a more inclusive, socially just and sustainable world. Contact with people who have a different perception, who pay attention neither to the experiences of the past nor worries of the future, may sometimes be positive by forcing focus on the present, human presence, and surrounding beauty.
The artist has chosen milk as her material for visualizing dementia-related data, as she associates it with personal childhood memories – summers she spent in the country with her grandfather, where fresh milk would always be available. Unfortunately, her grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, and he gradually grew more distant from his family, reality, and life. The many blind spots that appeared in her grandfather’s memories and also in the artist’s and other relatives’ understanding of dementia, resemble the white of milk, which is used in the elements and design of the exhibition.
It is curious that coagulated milk starts resembling the human brain. The brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease experience shrinkage of grey matter, which looks like larger ‘holes’ in the total volume. Data visualization through food as material is an indirect way of showing the irreversible processes of cognitive decline, the deterioration of identity and relationships associated with dementia. The unusual data visualizations were created as a way to present abstract statistics in a way that is tangible, so that it can be perceived by all senses and thus become easier to ‘digest’ and be memorized.
The exposition is complemented by video recordings of milk fermentation processes in cross-sections and accelerations, as well as audio diaries created by anonymous relatives of dementia patients, a granddaughter, a son, a daughter-in law, a wife, recorded by actors of the Liepāja Theater. The exposition in Liepāja is created in a secluded space where visitors can listen to the stories and explore the milk degradation processes alone or in small groups. By revealing these natural processes, which mostly occur in isolation and darkness, the artist invites a discussion on stigmatized topics like dementia and other challenges people face as they age.
On September 30, October 21 and November 4 from 03:00 pm until 06:00 pm, as part of the exhibition, we invite you to participate in the ‘Dementia data workshops’ led by Anna Priedola and art mediators of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, where visitors will have the opportunity to create data recipes for improving their cognitive health from various everyday and familiar food products. They will be able to be seen and tasted, highlighting the challenges caused by aging of the body and humanity's efforts to stop it, in an attractive and informal way. Attending the workshop is free of charge, all necessary materials will be provided. No prior application is required.
The exhibition Dairy Diaries. Dementia through Statistics and Stories was created as part of the international project Agents of Change: Art Mediation as Conversation in collaboration among the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, DOTS Foundation for an Open Society, artist Anna Priedola, and the Pauls Stradiņš Museum of the History of Medicine. The exhibition organized in Liepāja till be transformed and enhanced with more personal stories.
Author of the exhibition: Anna Priedola
Sound artists: Milda Ziemane, Roberts Dinters
Video technicians: Rogier Jupijn, Patrick Borgeat
Actors: Mārtiņš Kalita, Agnija Dreimane, Anna Priedola, Vija Akselrode
Graphic design: Līga Vēliņa
Opening hours: the exhibition at the Great Amber will be available until November 5 during the opening hours
Liepāja City Council, European Regional Development Fund and DOTS Fund, State Culture Capital Foundation, Kurzeme Planning Region, Latviešu vēsturiskās zemes