Miķelis Fišers’ reflections for working on the Soul Cleansing Device

Artist Miķelis Fišers, composer Anna Fišere and writer Andris Kalnozols have created a work entitled The Soul Cleansing Device, which was performed at this year’s avant-garde music festivals Skaņu mežs in Riga and Insomnia in Tromsø. These activities were part of “LYRA”, a project for kids and teenagers, which is supported by the EEA grants and Norway grants funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You can read more detailed information about the work here.

Artist Miķelis Fišers is primarily known as a painter, but an important part of his creative activity is also comprised of installations, wood carvings, objects, videos and scenography works. He works as a lecturer at the Art Academy of Latvia’s Department of Painting. Over the course of his impressive career, Miķelis has had over twenty solo exhibitions, while his works have been exhibited in notable exhibitions in various countries across Europe. He took part in the Venice Biennale’s 56th International Art Exhibition, and at the 57th International Art Exhibition his exhibition What Can Go Wrong was exhibited at the Latvian Pavilion. He has received several major awards including Latvia’s highest award in visual art, the Purvītis Prize in 2015.

In the brief conversation that follows, Fišers describes the experience of creating the Soul Cleansing Device.

1. How did the work entitled the “Soul Cleansing Device” come to be?

The process of creating the work was highly experimental, conducting masterclasses and afterwards sifting through the most effective audio and visual solutions for the creation of the sound device.

2. What was the role of teenagers and kids in creating the work?

Youngsters took part in the masterclasses not just in the creation of the sound device, but were also encouraged to invent various devices from the wide range of source materials available.

3. Did the working process present interesting challenges?

The biggest challenge was organising and providing working groups so that each group could simultaneously work on different experiments. An individual approach proved to be extremely important, bearing in mind the participants’ very wide-ranging personality types.

4. For both you and Anna, this new work meant swapping your usual working methods for something more playful. Did this also challenge the impressions of kids regarding visual art or music?

The introductory lectures before the practical classes proved to be extremely important, during which we introduced teenagers to world-famous interdisciplinary audio-visual projects, as well as to our own creative work, thus putting the process taking place into context.

5. In the job description, it is mentioned that you perceive both grown-ups and kids as equal audience participants. Observing the reaction of the public during concerts, did this prove to be true?

The hypothesis postulated in our description that kids and teenagers are an audience equivalent to grown-ups was fully vindicated and there were no unexpected revelations in this department.

Text: Rihards Endriksons

LYRA receives grants in the amount of EUR 206,256.00 within the framework of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The project aims to introduce kids and teenagers to experimental music and to get them involved in its creation. As it is democratic and non-hierarchical in essence, experimental music gives trained and untrained kids the chance to take part in making music. Since the project crosses social and ethnic divides, it is also socially inclusive.

Total LYRA eligible costs: EUR 202,510.00, European Economic Area financial instrument programme Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Culture Cooperation support sum: 85% or EUR 85,000.00, of which:

  • European Economic Area financial instrument co-financing: 85% or EUR 175,317.60;
  • State Budget co-financing: 15% or EUR 30,938.40.
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