In collaboration with The Bęc Zmiana Foundation, Polar Rainbow, the AR sculpture from Latvian-British artist Kristaps Ancāns will be visible starting July 1st, 2022 from the Warsaw Meridian in Theatre Square in the Polish capital, and globally, across locations on the 21E meridian line. The project is curated by Corina L. Apostol (Tallinn Art Hall) and will be up until September 1, 2022.
Inspired by the discovery that rainbows do not exist in the North or South pole, Ancāns’s project creates a virtual double rainbow stretching between the two poles. Ancāns created Polar Rainbow in support of communities under duress, calling for visions of empathy, awareness and solidarity. The project is inspired by the 1989 “Baltic Chain of Freedom,” when approximately two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands and linked arms to form a human chain. As a peaceful political demonstration, the chain spanned 430 miles across the respective countries’ borders during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On June 1 2022, Polar Rainbow was launched in collaboration with Times Square Arts in New York City in honour of Pride Month.
From July 1 to September 1, 2022, the sculpture will be accessible on smart devices via the Polar Rainbow app developed by Ancāns in close collaboration with Platvorm, a data visualization studio based in Tallinn, Estonia. Visitors and spectators will be able to download the app online.
App users will be able to capture photos with the rainbow and send personalized “digital postcards” on their platforms by using the hashtag #PolarRainbow. The best viewing experience is near the Warsaw Meridian, an 1880 monument on Theater Square in Warsaw, which predates the Greenwich prime meridian and marks the direction and location of the 21E meridian.
“I believe that art today has to define new additional tasks for itself to prepare us for a world with new points of reference appearing. Historically, standing for human rights has emerged from different local contexts; since then, we have developed new technologies, and have created tools of inspiration and support that can globally unite communities. The rainbow uniting both poles reminds us of the challenges that persist and, at the same time, that the arc of temporality can bring lasting change” said artist Kristaps Ancāns.
“In the context and history of Eastern Europe, the project will highlight the ongoing fight for full and equal civil rights of LGBTQIA+ communities, as efforts to restrict the rights of people from these communities are still underway in certain contexts. As authorities in Poland continue to institute “LGBT-free zones” while others in Russia and Hungary have increased their vilification of and violence against the queer and trans communities, Polar Rainbow gives inspiration to come together and raise our voices in support of equality and justice for all,” observed curator Corina L. Apostol.
The artist and curator have invited partners from various international organizations and communities to reach out to people geographically located in Poland and all along the 21E meridian line where the rainbow will be visible. The LGBTQIA+ advocacy organizations below (list in formation) will share and promote the rainbow on their respective platforms:
Biblioteka Azyl (PL), Homokomando (PL), Kampania Przeciw Homofobii/ Campaign Against Homophobia (PL), Longyearbyen Pride (NO), Magyar LMBT Szövetség – Hungarian LGBT Alliance (HU), the Association of LGBT and their friends MOZAIKA (LV), RIGA PRIDE (LV), Lithuanian Gay League (LT), ASOCIJACIJA DUGA ( SRB), Positive Voice (GR), Rainbow School (GR), Arquivo de Identidade Angolano (AO), Pride Shelter Trust (SA), Triangle Projec (SA), The Fruit Basket (SA).
Polar Rainbow is produced in cooperation with Tallinn Art Hall, the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation.
ABOUT KRISTAPS ANCĀNS
Kristaps Ancāns (b. Līvāni, Latvia) is an artist, writer and educator whose practice spans installation, sculpture, language and moving images. Ancāns explores the confusion in the relationship between humans, nature and machines through an evolving conceptual game with its own artificial intelligence. His installations—often containing a kinetic component—welcome questioning in their relationship with the viewer.
Ancāns has exhibited, lectured and taught at venues internationally, including Times Square Arts, Publiek Park/S.M.A.K Museum, domobaal, The Latvian National Opera and Ballet, Riga International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Art Station Dubulti, Careva Contemporary, Code Art Fair, Tate Exchange/Tate Modern, Museum of London, Royal Academy of Arts London, Hyde Park-London, Central Saint Martins/UAL, PEER, Five Years, Shoreditch Library, Derby Museum, and Art Gallery, Vienna Contemporary, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn Art Hall, Setouchi Triennale and Tokyo University of the Arts. He lives between Riga, Latvia and London, UK.
ABOUT CORINA L. APOSTOL
Dr. Corina L. Apostol (b. Constanța, Romania) is a curator at the Tallinn Art Hall, curator and member of the steering committee of the international practice-based research project Beyond Matter (2019–2023), and the curator of the Estonian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). She currently serves as a guest lecturer at POST – MA programme of study at the Art Academy of Latvia. Previously, she was the Mellon Fellow at Creative Time, where she co-edited Making Another World Possible: 10 Creative Time Summits, 10 Global Issues, 100 Art Projects (Routledge, 2019) and co-curated the Creative Time Summit “On Archipelagoes and Other Imaginaries” (2018) in Miami. She lives between Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.
Platvorm is a data visualization studio specialized in meshing physical and digital space. They develop concepts and build innovative digital platforms with a focus on real time data and dynamic user generated content. They are based in Tallinn, Estonia.