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Flaneuring Around Kaunas
Migrating Art Academies creative laboratory titled “Forensic Flâneur” was held in April 2015 in the city of Kaunas, in Lithuania. This event brought together ten participants from different parts of the World and four intellectual contributors with the purpose of exchanging of ideas and working as a group.
Breaking of the rules as one of the main topics of “Forensic Flâneur” brought challenging and controversial discussions, situations and paradoxical dialogues between participants and contributors. The themes of crime, the evidence and the rule were defined before the start of the event and also brought forward and analysed throughout the event within different contexts such as art, social environment, politics, economics – enabling a wide and open discussion atmosphere.
The theme of breaking the rules gave an opportunity to talk about artist life too, and also about the way of dealing with hosting of residency programs. It raised questions such as When artists take part in residency programs should they make artworks or it is not necessary? What is the role of the host of residency program? What is the aim of the artist joining such program? How does the host of such program give freedom to the artist to decide about his work? What is Art? Who is Artist? How artists break rules in artistic ways, and etc.
In the light of this creative laboratory many more other questions were dealt with, such like How breaking of the rule is defined and regarded in the society? What is rule? How to break the rule? What is the history of breaking the rules in the society? Why has Kaunas been chosen as a platform for this program? etc…
The laboratory started by artists introducing themselves and their own art practices – such way of starting refers to one Persian genome: before you blame others first look at yourself. So it began with artists talking about themselves, criticising themselves, discussing within the community of artists, about the ways of producing art and the ways of looking for starting points around themselves. And hence, all group was living together and sharing a family house number 81, in P. Višinskio street, Kaunas?!
Talking of Kaunas, the city and the dialogs between participants somehow related to each other as well. Breathing Kaunas, especially for me, had its own pure identity and its own unique features. Kaunas as a brownish city of Europe with its specific environment was a really inspiring and perfect platform for the program.
After the presentation of the Migrating Art Academies' program and a couple of lectures as well as individual and group discussions during the week, the event culminated with an exhibition including some performances and final presentation of projects and ideas. Some artists faced the issues of crime and evidence directly or created artworks of “criminal nature” such as Antanas Stančius' recent crime map of Kaunas, or Margarita Žigutytė's false event to which real audience was to be invited, or Vaida Tamoševičiūtė's performance of killing the fish, questioning the legality of the act of killing. Paulina Vituščanka has focussed on the process of collecting evidence and has questioned it by reversing the positions of the sender and the recipient of the message.
Other artists investigated and presented ideas related to committing crime or collecting evidence in a broader context. STRATAGRIDS (a collaboration between Daniel Wolter and Max Stocklosa) have demonstrated a video installation and questioned the power of the devices we use, that appear to be in a constant state of indifference to human ideas and human uncertainty.
Artist Jura Shust has performed a sleeping (or dead) person, transcended into virtual reality, an avatar. His performance has attempted to put the equality sign between the state of death and the state of virtuality, between the afterworld and the virtual world. Or, in other words, to re-define the notion of death. The presentation evening ended up with a collection of ideas and multilayered conceptual as well as aesthetic interpretations of the rules of our social interaction.
I believe that the questions raised will take the program further to its other stages. Under the theme of breaking the rule, the issues that have been touched upon from different perspectives let to breath the program and carry on with the projects productively.