“Diary Diaries” on show in Riga

From April 8 to June 5, the Pauls Stradiņš Medicine History Museum will host the “Dairy Diaries” exhibition by the new media artist Anna Priedola. The exhibition focuses on dementia and the experience of people with dementia and their relatives. It will be complemented by the artist’s “Data Recipes” workshops, where everyone will have the opportunity to create their own “data recipes”. The first workshop will take place on the exhibition’s opening day, on April 8 at 5:00 PM.


Dementia is a disease that is very prevalent in today’s ageing society, but people talk little about it. It irreversibly affects the memory and perceptual processes of the sufferer, gradually moving a person away from a successful and independent functioning in society. The patient’s personality changes, recent events disappear, but childhood memories return. The disease also has a significant impact on relatives of people with dementia, who often become the caretakers of the sufferers.


In the exhibition, the artist introduces and depicts the daily life and perceptual processes, socio-political realities, and human relations of seniors with dementia in audio format through data visualizations and experiences of dementia. The artist uses milk and its products as the principal means of expression.


Anna Priedola has previously focused on researching food as an artistic material and the multisensory experience it provides in the perception of a work of art. Working on a personally important topic to her, she observed the visually fascinating milk coagulation and transformation processes. In its constant development, milk created even more vivid associations with the experience of dementia. Its slow but constant progression results in the formation of unusual, not always ugly, the character of relationships and communication. In the process of creating the exhibition, the artist has collaborated with dementia patients and their relatives, documenting their experiences.


“Aging processes are inevitable, but not always easy and immediately noticeable. When we seek comfort from our parents and grandparents, at some point, we have to realize that what we know and look for is no longer available: parents have changed, and we also have to change. “Dairy diaries” document these processes of change, which seem to take place on their own, but not always easy,” says the author of the exhibition.


Anna Priedola’s exhibition is complemented by a pop-up exhibition of the Medicine History Museum collection items. The artist created the pop-up exhibition in collaboration with museum specialists. It discusses the research of the ageing process and dementia as a diagnosis through time and in various institutions. Anatomical preparations, black-and-white photographs, historical data visualizations, and everyday objects introduce the visitor to the exhibition and draw attention to the presence and appearance of ageing in everyday life.


The organizers of the exhibition – DOTS Foundation for an Open Society and the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art – invite you also to delve into a conversation during the visit. Latvian team of art mediators will be available at the exhibition at regular times. Visitors can can have a conversation with the mediators and go on a joint tour of the exhibition. Mediators are experts in various fields, both art professionals and non-professionals, who have acquired skills and knowledge about art mediation and its social power.


On April 16, May 21 and June 2 at 12.00, every visitor will be welcome to participate in the “Data Recipes” workshops led by Anna Priedola. Participants will create their data recipes, reproducing data on dementia with food and thus making statistics easier to “digest” and experience with different senses. Participation is free of charge.


In addition, the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art (LLMC) will organize the pilot project “Dementia Cafe” for families with seniors with dementia and memory disorders. In an informal, café-like atmosphere, participants will have the opportunity to share experiences, listen to experts, and learn more about dementia and art opportunities to help a person with memory impairment. More information will be published soon on the LMCC Facebook page, but you can already find out more about it by writing to mara@lcca.lv.


The exhibition “Dairy Diaries” is part of the international project “Agents of Change: Mediating Minorities”. The project is co-financed by the European Union program “Creative Europe”, the Society Integration Fund, and the Latvian Ministry of Culture.

Anna Priedola

Anna Priedola (1988) is an artist living and working in Liepaja (Latvia) who has a master’s degree in the study program “New Media Art” from the University of Liepaja. She currently works as a research assistant at the University of Liepaja Art Research Laboratory.  In her creative work, the artist develops various interdisciplinary art projects, often collaborating with the local community or its groups and researching sustainable development issues and the aesthetics of consumer relations. Occasionally she also works as an art curator, examining the possibility of interpreting the concept of nature and simulating the experience of nature.