ARMPIT, a multimedia art installation by Latvian artists Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis, first created as the Latvian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy), now is redesigned and installed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
ARMPIT California Edition is a sculpted system of building constructions by Andris Eglītis interwoven with video-stories by Katrīna Neiburga about a peculiar local phenomenon, "garage elves", who tend to spend their leisure time tinkering with various mechanisms in workshops set up for this hobby.
It was inspired by a sample of vernacular architecture with local character – the Soviet era co-ops of private garages whose owners have adapted them for the hybrid use as workshops-cum-dachas. Today some of the garages have been turned into living spaces. Others house workshops. In some, cars are still kept. It is a closed male commune, a monastic brotherhood that includes retired blue-collar workers of a planned economy and engineers from factories closed in the course of neo-liberal reform. With the enthusiasm of alchemists, they are continuing to occupy themselves with inventing, constructing mechanical devices or re-soldering microcircuits pulled out of second-hand gadgets.
This is the first collaboration of the artist couple, with each contributing his or her best artistic skills. Katrīna Neiburga usually works in video, using it in her socio-anthropological investigative art, multimedia installations and film narratives. Andris Eglītis tends toward the traditional in his choice of media; his desire to experiment with painting and novel sculptural forms has led him to turn to architectonic studies as a bodily experienced practice of conceptual art. Both artists have been recipients of the Purvītis Prize, which is the highest award in the area of fine arts in Latvia.
The project team is composed of architect Austris Mailītis, graphic designer Edgars Zvirgzdins (Associates, Partners et Sons), musicians Andris Indans and Janis Sipkevics (Shipsi), project director Kitija Vasiljeva. Project is organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art which is one of the leading contemporary art institutions in Latvia.