Many forms of life on earth are passing into oblivion. Environmentalists tirelessly battle for the preservation of vanishing species. And processes of erosion and extinction are taking place in culture, too. So we decided to take up the cause of a disappearing species of oral creativity. How many people today can even recall the distant days when people would gather around the kitchen table in order to exchange joy in concentrated form, entertaining each other, taking turns telling jokes? This joy economy is undergoing a profound crisis. The automatization of pleasure in the era of memes, virtual intercourse, and the pressure of healthy lifestyles is working inexorably to bring the joke tradition to an end.
We decided to impede this process and breathe new life into a waning form. The result was the birth of an email list. Its subscribers will learn about our efforts to comprehend this genre, to provide commentary on it, and to recreate the atmosphere that made the joke’s appearance possible in the first place.
To participate in our fascinating project, please subscribe!
Our first communication is incoming on July 29, 2021.
Orbīta (Latvia) is a multimedia poetry and art collective based in Latvia. Founded by Semyon Khanin, Artur Punte, Vladimir Svetlov, Sergej Timofejev in 1999, Orbita has been widely recognized in Europe, Russia and the USA for their innovative poetry, performances, interactive installations, prize-winning books and video-poems that blur the line between languages and artistic genres. Frequent participants at international festivals, Orbita’s authors have been translated into many European languages. The group’s artistic endeavours pursue the synergy of poetry and visual arts, technology, perception of poetry, sound and performance art.
Since its inception, Orbita has published many literary and artistic editions in which literature is in close dialogue with visual arts. The collective organized the international festival of video and literary media art Word in Motion. Among other works it has published numerous bilingual (Russian-Latvian) collections of poetry and a unique anthology of contemporary Russian poetry from Latvia. Orbita’s newest project is a series of books under the title Orbītas bibliotēka, of highly esteemed contemporary Latvian authors, poets and prose writers, which also includes translations. Often these are authors’ first books, specific niche literature or collections of poetry.
The collective successfully combines the publishing with their own creative pursuits, regularly participating in festivals, like The Poetry Days, Homo Alibi, Homo Novus, Survival Kit, the White Night, Cēsis Art Festival, Riga Festival, the traveling festival Vadātājs, Riga Photography Month, etc.
As a collective, Orbita is constantly on the edge of literary creation, pushing boundaries, following international trends, interacting with other artistic genres, often transplanting literary works into foreign contexts and forms, and incorporating elements of “non-artistic” fields into their creative projects and performances. The expressive realm of Orbita often comprises poetry, visual art, photography, audiovisual art, music, and technology.
Their 2015 installation ‘Two Sonnets from Laputa’ was showcased as part of the Venice Biennial satellite programme. Orbita’s 2019 exhibition ‘Where do poems come from?’ was nominated for the prestigious Purvitis prize, and received the Sergey Kurekhin prize. Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) featured an extensive programme by Orbita, and their exhibition, ‘2020: Eternity’s Perspective’, opened at the Latvian National Library. The authors collaborated with the theatre director Vladislav Nastavshev on the production (play/stage design) of ‘Five Songs by Heart’ at Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre.