Unusual installation work near Kaunas Žalgirio Arena reveals that five years of preparation are coming to a climax. On 22 January 2022, Kaunas will officially become the European Capital of Culture. The year’s programme, rich in events, happenings and experiences, will kick off with “Confusion”, a unique show of music, light, video and dance.

Photo by: M.Plepys

Everyone to Become a Part of the Massive Show

“Confusion” is the first act of the Contemporary Kaunas Myth Trilogy. Also scheduled for May and November, the trilogy is an allegory of the rise of the city as a living being. The pre-opening events in Kaunas district towns and city microdistricts will start already on 19 January.

On Saturday, 22 January, the “Confusion” will kick off at 7:30 pm sharp. The show will transform Žalgirio Arena, the largest in the Baltics, into a giant stage-screen, which will be clearly visible from many places, so the event can become a mass celebration for Kaunasians and their guests.

“The opening show has a positive message at its core; that we face the struggles of life through the cultures we share and the stories we tell one another! So, although this show is a story of Kaunas, it is also a story for Lithuania and Europe. It contains the voices of Kaunas, the buildings of Kaunas and the stories of Kaunas past and present – but they are stories we can all relate to”, says Chris Baldwin, the director of “Confusion” and the other major events in 2022.

Photo by: Jamie Williams

Several hundred professionals from the arts, culture and other fields are working alongside director Chris Baldwin to prepare and produce Uprising. Among them are French visual artist Olivier Grossetête, renowned for his exceptional performances, Kaunas-based composer Antanas Jasenka, fashion designer Sandra Straukaitė, costume designers Aleksandra Jacovskytė and Julija Skuratova, conductor Modestas Pitrėnas with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Vilnius Choir, soloists Joana Gedmintaitė and Merūnas Vitulskis, Kaunas Dance Theatre Aura, choreographers Birutė Letukaitė, Aušra Krasauskaitė and Darius Berulis, the young generation of Lithuanian poets, video art creators, Kaunas State Puppet Theatre’s puppeteers, and many more.

Photo by: M.Plepys

The spectacular performance of video, light, movement and music, which will be broadcast to the whole world, will be extended by an invitation to play. Those gathered near Žalgirio Arena will have the opportunity to continue the festive evening with The Beast of Kaunas city secrets game.

The game will take place all over the centre of Kaunas. All participants will be invited to take a special map and search for the places where the Beast has left his trace – and thus decipher the answer to the game. The first 1000 winners of the game will be awarded Kaunas 2022 prizes.

Photo by: M.Plepys

100 Events for the Opening Weekend

Around 100 events have been planned for 22 January and throughout the weekend in Kaunas and Kaunas district to give everyone an insight into the Kaunas 2022 programme throughout the year.

The weekend of January 21–23 weekend will see the opening of some of the most important exhibitions of the European Capital of Culture, the first of which will be the exhibition “What We Don’t Remember” by the South African contemporary art star William Kentridge (part of “Kaunas 2022” programme, curated by Virginija Vitkienė at M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art), the international exhibition “Modernism for the Future 360/365” which will highlight the significance of Kaunas’ architecture and the importance of its context, (part of “Kaunas 2022” programme, Kaunas central post office), and Yoko Ono’s installation “Ex It” in the exclusive location of the Bank of Lithuania (curated by Contemporary Art Centre). A number of sneak peeks are also planned, giving a taste of what Kaunas 2022 will offer later this year.

Photo by: M.Plepys

“For the first of the three key weekends of Kaunas 2022, together with dozens of partners, we have prepared a vibrant programme – I invite everyone to take the time to get acquainted with it and to plan your routes in the city well in advance so that you can see and appreciate as much as possible. I do not doubt the awareness of Kaunas citizens and visitors – our team is doing everything possible to make European cultural events as safe as possible. It is up to each individual to adapt to the pandemic reality. Taking into account the changing conditions, we have prepared several effective and creative scenarios for the opening weekend – of course, we hope that we will be able to enjoy Plan A, which has been in the works for the longest time,” says Virginija Vitkienė, Head of Kaunas 2022.

Photo by: M.Plepys

To guarantee the maximum comfort and safety for those attending the “Uprising” on 22 January, car traffic will be restricted on Karaliaus Mindaugo Avenue and in the Naujamiestis district. Detailed information regarding traffic restrictions will be published shortly. During the event, it will be mandatory to comply with the current Covid-19 regulations, including keeping physical distance and wearing a face mask.

To secure a spot at the opening event, guests will be required to register beforehand and get a free pass at www.kaunas2022.eu (registration open from 10 January).

The detailed programme of events is available on the dedicated mobile app “Kaunas 2022” (available for download on App Store and Google Play), as well as on www.kaunas2022.eu/sukilimas