For the first time in its history, the Baltic Triennial 13, titled GIVE UP THE GHOST, is organised by all three Baltic States: Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Spread across these multiple locations and evolving sequentially, BT13 makes a conscious decision to give up its unity in order to make space and time for the polyphonic to rise.
The three exhibitions that form the core of the Triennial are all different in format, content and context. However, each of the chapters is informed by a shared concern: what does it mean to belong at a time of fractured identities? BT13 – GIVE UP THE GHOST will unfold through and with this very question, careful not to offer a single or illustrative response. Instead, it opts for a collective vision of what is at stake: independence and dependency—and everything that lies in between—to territories, cultures, classes, histories, bodies and forms.
The fluctuating notion of belonging, which can be understood to exist within the conceptual and formal framework of a relationship, allows us to think beyond identity as something fixed, self-contained and essentialised. It enables BT13 – GIVE UP THE GHOST to push further a trio of concepts which underpin the whole of the Triennial—formless subjectivity, bastard objects and anti-categories—freeing it to act as the intertwined lines of a fluid score rather than the headlines of an activist manifesto. Together, they privilege forms of infiltration, displacement and hybridization, and operate as a lens through which to consider the unstable ground on which we stand.
The Triennial’s three chapters will adopt different perspectives and strategies to better accentuate the many intricacies tied to the ever-shifting understanding of belonging. In Vilnius, the largest venue of the Triennial, the exhibition will be filled with yet-to-be-named organisms and dystopian landscapes which will question the concepts of territories and social bodies. The Tallinn chapter, in its turn, will center on sensuality and intimacy as parameters to take into account when reflecting on belonging. Taking the form of an epilogue, the Riga exhibition will set an otherworldly backdrop for a series of performances and events to take place, privileging gestures of generosity and humility in equal measure. All three iterations of the Triennial will be both celebratory and self-reflexive, leaving space and time for new questions to arise.