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In March 2020, plans for the second edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA2) were abruptly interrupted by the rapid spread of COVID-19. Chief curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel decided to transform the exhibition into a film set, reimagining the biennial as a feature film in anticipation of the closure of all public events in summer 2020. The resulting film was shot during the exhibition’s three-week run. RIBOCA2 film "and suddenly it all blossoms" will be premiered in Basel, Switzerland, as part of Art Basel Film Programme.

RIBOCA2, and suddenly it all blossoms, was developed out of the urgent pursuit for alternative perspectives and propositions to humanity’s obsession for growth, expansion, and consumption. From 20 August – 13 September 2020, 46 international artists shared the abandoned and iconic industrial space of Andrejsala in Riga. The exhibition sought to reimagine the ways humans inhabit the world and to explore ideas for building conscious and inclusive relationships with an endangered planet.

Chief curator, artistic director and scriptwriter Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel invited the acclaimed Latvian film director Dāvis Sīmanis to co-direct the film, collaborating with his team including Andrejs Rudzāts as director of photography. Singer and songwriter LAFAWNDAH created the film’s soundtrack, guiding viewers through the story.

Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel comments: “From its inception, the Biennial exhibition was about the possibility of re-enchantment. Not to wish for another world, but to build renewed and constructive relationships within the endangered world we inhabit.”

When the epidemic started and our original plans collapsed, there was no option but to accept this situation and grow from it. The partly finished exhibition, the absent works, the aborted scenography, the transformation of the exhibition into a film set, and the film itself, are the children of this event.

“The experience was incredibly intense, yet opened so many horizons, giving us the chance to make the project resonate even more with the challenges we are facing today and their urgent call for reinvention,” she added.

Watch the trailer of the film

The film will also be premiered in Moscow at the Garage Museum as part of The Art Newspaper Russia Film Festival (15 September). The premiere in Latvia will take place during Riga International Film Festival (Riga IFF) on October 17. In November, the film travels to Berlin’s KINDL Center of Contemporary Art (3 November) before being shown in Paris at the Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation Galeries Lafayette (9 November). This Autumn the film will also be premiered in London and Baltic countries, and will subsequently be made available to online audiences at the end of November.