Fieldwork conference, UK

This summer staff and students from the University of Central Lancashire came to Kaunas for a week-long research project based around the theme of ‘transition’. We spend some time together engaging with the area of Šilainiai. We will be meeting again this autumn to continue our conversation in the UK.

15 November I will be speaking at the conference in Preston, which is an annual photography event called ‘Fieldwork’. This year the theme is contemporary documentary practices in photography.

You may read about the trip on their blog: https://photouclan.com/

All photographs ©PHOTOUCLAN

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Street Art in Šilainiai

Silainiai_elektrines_KONKURSAS_maz-205640.jpg

Calling all street artists!

Šilainiai Project is collaborating with Kaunas street art festival NYKOKA and inviting you to produce work in Šilainiai! There are five buildings to choose from, images and more info can be found on NYKOKA website: http://www.nykoka.lt/silainiai/en/

We are waiting for your sketches until August 20th via email labas@nykoka.lt ,please put ‘Šilainiams’ in the title.

It is going to be the first legal street art project in the neighbourhood and we are very excited!

Important: Please message us if you need contextual information about the site. We can meet up and show you around! silainiai@outlook.com

Šilainiai Project team

Šilainiai [Fortas] Project

July 15, 14:00-16:00

Address: Kaunas VIII Fort

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/120071465250072/?active_tab=about

Event partners: Kaunas Fortress Park and „Kaunas 2022“

2014-10-15 VIII fortas (17 of 29)

Photography by Elijus Kniežauskas

 

Press release (Lithuanian only)

ŠILAINIAI [FORTAS] PROJECT

Eksperimentinė instaliacija Kauno VIII Forte.

 

Dalyvauja menininkai:

Lahestan (Aleksander Haugen) (Norvegija) – improvizuotas elektro-akustinis garsas;

Paul Takahashi (Prancūzija) – performatyvi piešimo ir garso interpretacija;

Rees Archibald (Australija) – audio instaliacija.

 

Renginio partneriai – Kauno Tvirtovės Parkas ir „Kaunas 2022“

 

Viva la resistance!

Šilainių mikrorajonas, 2017m. liepos mėnesis.

Įvykio vieta – PARIS / CITADELLE NO. 8

Dar 1862m. žemėlapyje pažymėta Paryžiaus karčema ir kaimas / dingusi ir tik keleto senbuvių atmintyje išlikęs pavadinimas. Išnykęs blokinio absoliuto šešėlyje.

Citadelė / aštuntas fortas ant Milikonių kalvos,

1900m. – 1914m. Pirmas pasaulinis karas / apleistas / ir neapgintas. Taikus ir laisvas / kūrybinės rezistencijos fortas – anuomet tik vienintelis sprogimas, atsitraukiančios caro kariuomenės, susprogdinęs parako sandėlį ir sugadinęs vandens drenavimo sistemą.

Neapsemtos liko tik kareivinės;

Pirmas cementas Šilainiuose.

Pirma elektros lemputė.

Pirmas požemis.

 

Linkuvos dvaras – Napoleono kariuomenė

Caro kariuomenė                      Link – Ten.

 

Rezistencijos ir revoliucijos forma.

 

Pirma. Manifestas.

Antra. Vėliava.

Trečia. Įsitvirtinimas.

 

Bastilijos griuvėsiai panaudojami naujoms rezistencijos formoms – kūrybinei laisvei reikia autonomijos ir paslapties. Slėptuvės ir Viešumos. Manifestui nereikia sienų. Menui reikia.

Kartais net požemio. Akustinės erdvės. Smalsuolio ir įsibrovėlio.

Kažkokioje neįprastoje erdvėje.

Įpročio įveika.

Suplevėsavus vėliavai, šalia blokinio absoliuto,

Citadelės požemiuose

Rezistuojanti kūryba.

Nuolatos šalia.

Miegamojo erdvės.

 

O juk šios kareivinės ir buvo skirtos miegojimui – saugumui / prieglobščiui.

„Netrukdykite sapnuoti“ – šaukia rezistentas.

 

Šilainiai [Paris] Project

July 14d. 18:00

Address: Žemaičių pl. 25, Kaunas (open air space)

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1682659805372399/?active_tab=about

Event partners – Kaunas Fortress Park and „Kaunas 2022“

Paryzius Silainiuose

Description (Lithuanian only)

Paminėti Bastilijos šturmą ir paskelbti manifestą apie kūrybinę laisvę miegamajame mikrorajone – įkvėpti vietos kūrėjus ir gyventojus kūrybiškai kaimynystei ir dialogui. Mums rūpi ši vieta, mes čia gyvename, tai mūsų bendras kiemas!

Nesvarbu koks tavo amžius, išsilavimimas, specialybė, socialinė padėti – mes visi esame šilainiškiai, laisvo miesto gyventojai.

Vieną dieną metuose prisimeneam tai, ir sakome, kad mes visi esame!

Esame vienas šalia kitų,

Esame tai kuo norime būti,

Aš esu kaunietis, lietuvis, menininkas, mokytojas, studentas, prekiautojas, svajotojas…

Je suis Parisiens!

Gali būti ir vieta ir laikas. Čia buvo Paryžius. Čia yra Paryžius! Vieta nebėra tokia konkreti. Ji nėra matoma. Tačiau čia yra šiek tiek vietos. Ir ši vieta yra paremta kartografiniais šaltiniais. Tai yra beveik tiesa! Kodėl reikia paminėti Bastilijos dieną? Griauti Šilainių, kaip kalėjimo įvaizdį, kuriame žmonės tarsi gyvena ne savo noru. Iš Paryžiaus idėjos gimsta Bastilijos diena: Šilainių, kaip sovietinio mikrorajono stereotipo įveika (blokinis kvartalas, kaip vizualus simbolis – primenantis kalėjimą – tvirtovę – Bastilija: slegiantis gyvenamosios kasdienybės vaizdinys). Todėl Bastilijos paėmimo – šturmo diena, ne fiziškai, tačiau kūrybiškai griauną stereotipą – mes manome, jog poveikis, kurį gali kultūrinė bendruomenės įtrauktis gali esmingai pakeisti mikrorajono gyventojų požiūrį į vietą, kurioje gyvena; o bendruomeniško susitelkimo jausmas, ugdant kūrybiškumą ir populiarinant meninę veiklą.

Pranešti apie vietą – buvusį Paryžiaus kaimą (1862m. žemėlapis, rašytinai šaltiniai – 1853m.).

 

Manifestas

DĖL BASTILIJOS DIENOS

Mes, Šilainių Projekto laisvieji menininkai ir mąstytojai,
Atviro komunikacijos lauko inžinieriai,
Vedami išsivadavimo iš erdvės
į atvirus komunalinius kiemus,
Skelbiame,
jog Bastilijos šturmas yra būtinas ir neišvengiamas.
Paryžius bus išvaduotas
nuo sovietinio blokinio absoliuto,
ir sukils į artistinę kovą prieš miegančius milžinus.
Maištaujanti kūryba nuspalvins pilkumas ir niūrastis,
žaismas tokios bendrystės ir beprotystės
niekada nebus nugalėtas įpročio ir kasdienybės!

The European Capital of Culture 2022 – Kaunas!

Kaunas2022

Image: judges visiting Šilainiai Project last month. Artwork by local artists Lukas Šiupsinskas (sculpture) and Tadas Šimkus (drawings).

Kaunas has been declared the European Capital of Culture for 2022. 

At this point I would very much like to thank the most resilient, hardworking home team, my creative colleagues and everyone who supported Šilainiai Project through it’s first couple of years. It has been a surreal experience and I cannot wait to start this new chapter for the project.

Next five years the activities in Šilainiai will continue and expand into other neighborhoods. I am very pleased that Šilainiai Project was one of the inspirations for ‘Fluxus Labs’ that are part of Kaunas 2022 programme.

“The Fluxus Lab, involving both local inhabitants and international cultural workers, are state of the art of creative participatory neighbourhood development.” – The Selection Panel’s report Final report, available: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/sites/creative-europe/files/ecoc-2022-lithuania-selection-report_en.pdf

This is a huge challenge and an immense opportunity, that can only be achieved by working together. So let’s start a conversation: https://www.facebook.com/FluxusLabs/

 

ARTICLE IN ESTONIAN URBANISTS´ REVIEW U

KAUNAS – PRESERVING, REDEFINING, REVIVING LITHUANIA’S FORMER CAPITAL

by WILL MAWHOOD

Rethinking a neglected sleeping district
with Evelina Šimkutė

Playground by Evelina Simkute, 2012

Playground by Evelina Simkute, 2012

Much like all other large cities in the Baltics, Kaunas was very different at the start of the Soviet occupation from at the end. Soviet planning moulded, reshaped and greatly expanded the city, and their parting legacy to the city was the sprawling residential district of Šilainiai. Constructed in the ‘80s on a hill remote from the city centre overlooking the River Neris, its towers provide a home for over 70,000 people. The district, like many Soviet-era projects elsewhere, is often dismissed and demonised by those who focus on its grey, frequently dilapidated appearance and impression of monotony and neglect. But for artist Evelina Šimkutė, who was born and grew up in Šilainiai and has recently returned to live there after more than a decade in London, it’s an inspiration and a muse – and making the most of the creativity of the people who live there is her passion. As well as using the district in her artworks, Šimkutė organises photo walks and workshops for local people, and has recently started a residency programme, enabling artists from elsewhere to spend time working in Šilainiai.

Can you talk me through what led you to set up the project?

I grew up in Šilainiai and as an artist I have always been inspired by the site. I was documenting life in Šilainiai for eight years via photography and, whilst living in London, I also made series of sculptures, installations and videos about it. Each time I went back I saw changes and felt it was important to capture them. Nobody else was doing it.

So I started talking to the local residents. Senior residents were happy to share their eye-witness accounts of what the site was like before Šilainiai district was built, and those life-changing stories encouraged me to “dig deeper” – capture, archive, present, and start a conversation. Before the development of the panel-housing district in the ’80s, Šilainiai was considered to be a countryside on the outskirts of Kaunas, with small villages and two large townhouses (Linkuvos andSargėnų dvaras) with vineyards and beautiful gardens. Noblemen of the time used to spend their summers there.

I knew that if I didn‘t do something, very soon these stories would be lost. So I started running photography workshops in local schools and held public photo-walks in Šilainiai, where I met a lot of incredibly talented and driven young people. I learnt about the lack of encouragement and appreciation for their creativity, lack of platforms to share their work and ideas. Also, people who lived in Šilainiai for many years, expressed the wish for “somewhere to go locally”, and for accessible cultural activities in the area where they lived.

There are about 55,000 residents in Šilainiai, but no cultural centre. The library is the only non-commercial place to meet. As a result, this summer I set up a series of activities both in public space of Šilainiai and in the library: artist talks, screenings, performances, walks, exhibitions, poetry readings… Artists from different parts of the world came to live and work in Šilainiai. And so the project started.

What are things you’re particularly proud in achieving?

I am particularly proud of the conversations that have been developed with the local community. Some extremely important themes have surfaced, starting with notions of home, emigration, value of creativity for self-identity. I hope to delve into them deeper next year. Also, I feel very humbled that the project has inspired creativity among the local community.

A series of brand new works – paintings, poetry and other texts have been created. And most importantly – I am very happy for the new connections made – between myself and local residents, as well as connections between different creative people in Šilainiai, Kaunas and nationwide. It is very special to observe new friendships or creative partnerships forming.

What is the impression that people in Kaunas have of Šilainiai? How are you trying to change that (if you are)?

I guess people in Kaunas might see Šilainiai as a grey sleeping district with lots of shops where nothing much happens.

I am genuinely curious about the district: what was here before it was built? How did it look like? Who lived here? What was going on? Who lives here now? How is it changing? Why? What is happening now? What is not happening? Why? How can we use this site for creativity? What work does it inspire? And so on.

What can Kaunas offer that other cities in Lithuania (or elsewhere) can’t?

Kaunas can be old-fashioned and progressive at the same time, there are a lot of clashes of ideas, styles and layers of history, it is a little bit quirky and raw and that’s what makes it unique. It is honest and real. It is surprising for those, who take time to know it. It takes time to know it. It is grey and green. This constant state of flux, the vibrancy and the urgency makes it inspiring.

I get a sense that Kaunas is reviving after a long period of being in Vilnius’s shadow. Would you agree with this?

I do remember having to constantly travel to Vilnius to see movies or exhibitions and it did seem that the cultural investments were made into the capital “by default”. Young people wanted to move there to study, work and live. But the situation has changed dramatically in the past ten years. There are a lot of progressive, innovative and creative people living in Kaunas who know the town inside out, who are embracing and reviving it. It is very exciting to be in Kaunas right now.

Full article: http://www.urban.ee/issue/en/19#