The Roja Art Lab, in Roja, Latvia will this summer host Critical Media Lab’s Senior Researcher Jamie Allen. Roja Lab is an artists-run, non-profit initiative, unique in Latvia, that provides a creative arena for artists who are ambitious for their work and open to challenges of an environment that demands experiment, co-operation and exchange. Residents at the lab engage with local community, investigate and reflect on materials and place, engage in innovative use of various medias. The community residencies in July will culminates in a public celebration, performances and exhibition of individual and collaborative works that have emerged over the time of being together.

The ROJA Lab community particularly emphasises process over product, collaboration and co-operation. Jamie will do research while in residence with this community on the coastal region of Roja, specifically investigating a number of derelict Soviet and post-Soviet lighthouses in the area. The lighthouse is a communicative and yet architecturally-scaled, widely dispersed and standardised, signaletic cultural technique. Melnsils, Ģipka, Roja and Mērsrags each have numerous such disused or nonfunctioning lighthouse signalling system. One such unique lighthouse was designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1877 on the island of Ruhnu in the Gulf of Riga, 45 km off the coast of Roja in the Baltic Sea. During the residency Jamie will travel to Ruhnu and/or Ventspils to investigate the freeport system and infrastructure relations in these conjoined geographies.

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