Kortrijk and Kaunas become partners in creativity

Kortrijk will receive € 100,000 from the Flemish government for cooperation with the Lithuanian city of Kaunas in the run-up to Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022. With this, Kortrijk once again shows that it wants to gain this title itself for 2030.

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“New Reality”: Lithuanian creators presented architectural ideas for public and not public spaces

At the end of the last week, the winners of creative ideas workshops and competition “Adaptive Capsule” were announced. During “Kaunas Design Event” organised by “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”, the participants had to create a transformable, closed communication spatial structure where at least 2 people could safely communicate at the same time. The proposed solutions were to meet the safety requirements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Prototypes of one or more projects are expected to be developed as soon as possible.

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Designer Rama Gheerawo: ‘Why Sony, Samsung or Hewlett-Packard cares about Your oppinion’

Rama Gheerawo, a well-known designer and longtime director of the Helen Hamlyn Center for Design at the Royal College of Arts in London, England, believes that good design has to be inclusive. Only then design becomes more than aesthetic endeavor and can solve serious social issues. ‘Believe it or not, entrepreneurs, marketers, companies, organizations, governments don’t always do that, they don’t include citizens. They design something that they think you need rather than something that you actually want’, says Rama. During Kaunas Design Event at October 26 Rama Gheerawo will present good practices of the Helen Hamlyn Center for Design. In the following conversation, designer shares his insights about the functions of contemporary design and challenges designers face practicing inclusive design. Read more

Political scientist Maxime Forest: ‘Design is not only the work of designers’

Political scientist Maxime Forest has been working with designers for a decade now to find ways to create a closer connection between policies and design. According to him, it’s crucially important to include a wide spectrum of people into decision-making while designing services. And for that we need to find a method for a dialogue between the stakeholders to exist. In the following conversation political scientist shares his experiences in design field, first impressions from his acquaintance with Kaunas interwar modernist architecture and some thoughts on what it means to be a design city.

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International Kaunas Design Event: Vision Creators and Designers Presenting Ideas for Future Cities

What comes to your mind when you first hear the word “design”? Is it a high fashion collection? Colours? Maybe forms or interior? Design can go far beyond that – using design thinking, businesses look for future investment directions, while organisations and public authorities rethink infrastructure that could be tailored to people with different needs, reducing social exclusion or addressing sensitive social and mental health issues.

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Design event in Kaunas: from pandemic imagination to visions of the future city through science fiction

As Kaunas’ journey towards the modern capital accelerates, the “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”, “Designing Happiness” programme presents a new, debut event in the city – Kaunas DESIGN festival. On 23–31 October in Kaunas, which belongs to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, the focus of the ongoing events will shift to the design mission in various aspects from beauty and convenience to the scientific prototyping of the future vision. What is good design in the city, what is the mission of design in creating the city of the future, do the citizens feel the added value of design? This series of week-long events – lectures, discussions, exhibitions – will aim to discuss these and other issues, to get acquainted with good practices of the country and foreign cities, as well as specific design examples.

“Cities are changing rapidly. Depending on the circumstances, perceptions of the possible future scenarios also change: from the idea of a global village to a return to the primal forms of collective cohabitation. Today, faced with the reality of the pandemic, we have noticed that the city can also become a place of dramatic exclusion, and the need for safe and harmonious spaces accessible to different groups of society is extremely desired. Design as an event in the city will seek to discover that in this context design that connects art, culture, industries, and technologies possesses a great power not only to function as a creator of beauty and convenience but also to address social issues or meet the needs of a future city”, says Dr Jūratė Tutlytė, curator of the “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”, “Designing Happiness” programme.

During Kaunas DESIGN festival, an exhibition of design artifacts “Fantasy of Pandemic” will be held in the most unexpected and at the same time the most mundane spaces of the city, designed to reflect the fruits of creative imagination created during the pandemic period: design solutions for emergencies, creative responses to quarantine restrictions. “Fantasy of Pandemic” will allow you to face a new and inspiring reality created by design practitioners and visioners from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and other countries.

How do we plan cities today so that we can live comfortably in them tomorrow and will we preserve personal space when digitisation radically alters our way of life and what the physical environment of living will look like? The answers to those questions will be sought in another part of the Kaunas DESIGN festival programme – the scientific prototype workshop, where participants will be learning to create the future visions of science, Kaunas city, and business using the Science Fiction Prototyping method. The workshop will be conducted by Doctor in Biology Rolandas Maskoliūnas, together with guests from the UK.

The full programme of Kaunas DESIGN festival – discussions, workshops, interviews, and exhibitions – can be found here.


Photo by „Physx“, Cosimo Scotucci (Italy)

The CityTelling Festival will invite you to feel and listen to the stories of the interrupted life that are breathing in the streets of Kaunas

Already this week, on 8–11 October, the CityTelling festival “Life Interrupted” organised by “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” will spread around the streets of Kaunas and Kaunas district, offering visitors and participants more than 30 events by organisers and partners: street artworks, narrative performances, excursions, video art project, even an artistic experiment using artificial intelligence. An important part of the festival this year became literary texts – interpretations, created by writers based on real memories of people who had lived in Kaunas. Another important innovation of the second CityTelling Festival is the live streaming of events on social networks, of which there will be as many as 9.

Every day of the Festival, visitors will be invited to the evening events: on the first evening of the festival in the centre of Kaunas, in the Ramybės Park, a place where four confessions are united, visitors will be able to hear the sound installation of a unique musical work – cantata “Peace, Peace...” (Lith. Ramybės, ramybės...) in different places of the park. This year this work will be performed in memory of composer Vidmantas Bartulis. On the next evening of the festival, independent creators Rūta Vyžintaitė-Lajienė and Rytis Titas in the video art project “Shimmering Forest” (Lith. “Žvangantis miškas”) will let the secrets of guerrilla warfare spread from the lips of the remaining witnesses. The theme of life interrupted by war will be extended by the theatrical youth show “Youth Talks About War” (Lith. “Jaunimas kalba apie karą”) directed by Rokas Bertulis. In the Kaunas Culture Centre, young people will present how they have heard and understood the devastating stories of the war.

At noons, the CityTelling festival will invite its visitors to different lunches – as a part of the festival programme “Stories for Lunch” will tell various stories in different places of Kaunas: about the crowd in Aleksotas waiting for the pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas, the ones interested in Kaunas identity and its memory will be able to hear the story of the formation of those times elite Vaižgantas street, try to feel the euphoria when celebrating the national freedom during the excursion at the Unity Square (Vienybės aikštė), take a deeper look at the secrets of Jewish heritage in Vincas Kudirka library and Maironis museum, and to relive the traumatic experiences of a writer Balys Sruoga.

One of the highlights of the programme will be an exclusive art experiment created specifically for the CityTelling festival. Creators Gytis and Ignas Davydaitis and Matas Gumbinas will invite you to experience the devastating interrupted life stories by creating artificial intelligence installation “Stories of Interrupted Life. Mirror of Permafrost” that combines art and technology and in a very personal way allows visitors to feel the reality of deportations. The installation of artificial intelligence will be held in “Kaunas 2022” office: the visitor wishing to go through this experience will be photographed by the software and the artificial intelligence will generate a unique story of deportation, revealing human experiences in exile.

This year, the authentic stories of interrupted life has inspired three new works of art on buildings located in Kaunas and Kaunas District: old pictures recreated on the walls of the buildings by artists Tadas Vincaitis-Plūgas, Vytenis Jakas, and Linas Kaziulionis, will remind us of notabled persons that lived in Kaunas: Rosian Bagriansky with his mother Gerta, poet Lea Goldberg, and inventor as well as the photographer of the ghetto George Kadish.

The full programme of the festival can be found here.

The CityTelling festival is one of the biggest events of „Kaunas 2022“, focused on remembering the multi-ethnic past of Kaunas and Kaunas district, invoking pride in the place where we live as well as reinforcing dialogue, openess, and empathy.

In 2022, Kaunas and Kaunas district will become the European Capital of Culture. The project implements an 8-directions programme, an important part of which is the development of cultural partnerships with 64 cultural organisations. “Kaunas 2022” is a movement from the temporary capital towards contemporary by implementing projects that promote change in Kaunas culture sector.

Kaunas 2022 project has been selected among 10 best projects coping with pandemic in Europe

Under quarantine, the homes of people around the world turned into offices, sports clubs, cinemas, and music halls. While real music halls were shut, "Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022" together with community program "Fluxus Labs" and the main project sponsor "Švyturys nealkoholinis" invited to get back feelings of the thrill of anticipation, direct connection with the performers and spectators around you while staying at your home – in the yards.

Various performers and professionals doing performances in the courtyards inspired the whole Kaunas city and it’s district: project’s format continued and burst out as the on Kaunas city birthday when more than 40 cultural organizations delivered their most excellent performance in various places of the city.

Project "Culture to the Yards" was appreciated not only by the city‘s and it‘s districts‘ dwellers, but also the whole of Europe – the project was announced one of the finalists in The Innovation in Politics Awards 2020, organized by The Innovation in Politics Institute.

A total of 398 projects from various countries were nominated for the awards and evaluated by a jury of 1,058 citizens from 47 countries. "Culture to the Yards" was among the top 10 projects in the "Coping with Covid-19" category, and among the top 90 projects in all categories in Europe.

All projects submitted for the awards are judged on three criteria: innovation, the involvement of communities and people, and sustainability of an impact. The finalists of The Innovation in Politics Awards 2020 will be announced by categories during the whole November: 2nd – education and ecology, 9th – economics and digitalization, 16th – the quality of life, coping with Covid-19, 23rd – democracy, human rights, and communities.

You can experience the most memorable moments of "Culture to the Yards" project here.

The City Telling Festival returning to urban spaces will invite to reflect on interrupted lives

Don’t you think that oblivion,
Has really washed away what was forgotten?
It happens sometimes that the image comes to life again from the ashes.
And again he – a living, vivid reality.
And as if will stay in the frame of every day to come.

Hirsch Osherovich, 1968

The pandemic that marked the beginning of 2020 has become a time of global upheavals: our future plans have collapsed in an instant, and anxiety, uncertainty, and instability have become the daily attendants of many. Our life has become interrupted. The City Telling Festival organised by “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” returning to Kaunas on 8–11 October, will invite the townspeople to reflect once more through sounds, images, and stories how this experience has affected our daily habits and relationships. To live in communion with those who were born and lived in Kaunas, but the ruthless blows of history changed their destinies, erased traces of their lives.

“When we reflect on the unexpected experiences of this year, we realise that, in terms of history, they are not unique or exceptional. Wars, exiles, occupations, and persecutions – these are the many drastically interrupted destinies of our parents, grandparents, and Kaunas residents. Remembering them, perhaps with greater empathy we will listen to the stories and experiences of the generations before us”, says Daiva Citvarienė, the Festival organiser and curator of the Kaunas 2022 programme “Memory Office”.

According to the organiser, the festival will re-invite you to go out to the city and see the backstage of your city and little towns with new eyes, listen to their stories. The programme of this year’s festival – tours, exhibitions, theatrical narratives, artistic meetings, and conversations will allow you to make the city, its streets, and walls speak and will bring up the stories that have been forgotten.

Artistic interventions in public spaces of the city become one of the highlights of the festival this year. Street artworks, sound, and light installations will bring the veil of oblivion down. And it is no accident because the streets, buildings, and walls of the city are silent witnesses of the past: we will remember Israel’s most beloved poet Leah Goldberg, French philosopher Emmanuel Levin, Kaunas teacher and inventor, ghetto photographer George Kadish (Hirsch Kadushin), actors of interwar, war and postwar stories, partisans and dissidents, heroes of past times and witnesses of everyday life.

The festival will not forget children, fairy tales, and other incredible stories, and one of the most unexpected projects of the festival will give the opportunity to imagine their fate in other historical circumstances. Project “Mirror of Permafrost. Exile Story Generator” is an artificial intelligence installation in which the visitor will receive a specially generated story of his own exile. It is like a mirror, which, like a room of curved mirrors, will present to the viewer its reflection distorted by cold, suffering, and interrupted lives.

The townspeople’s favourite stories for lunch – festival tours at noon – – will again spread throughout the city and district this year from the center and Žaliakalnis to Aleksotas. Kačerginė and Linksmakalnis will tell their slightly forgotten stories. And another important part of the festival is the new texts of contemporary literature – prose and poetry – born to writers while interpreting the extraordinary lives of Kaunas residents during the war and post-war years in Kaunas.

The City Telling Festival will last 4 days, more than 30 events are scheduled, and more than 20 partners are involved in the festival programme. The full programme of the festival will soon be published by the organisers on the festival website www.istorijufestivalis.eu, it will also be available in Kaunas daily newspaper Kauno diena, Kaunas cultural organisations, and cafes.

The Story Telling Festival is one of the grand events of “Kaunas 2022”, which aims to remember the multi-ethnic past of Kaunas and Kaunas district, to promote pride in the place where we live, to strengthen dialogue openness and empathy.

In 2022, Kaunas and Kaunas district will become the European Capital of Culture. The project implements an 8-directions programme, an important part of which is the development of cultural partnerships with 64 cultural organisations. “Kaunas 2022” is a movement from the temporary capital towards contemporary by implementing projects that promote change in the Kaunas culture sector.

Saturday night Kaunas was shaken up by the most unexpected event of the year – Fluxus 2020!

After Fluxus-like teasing “will or will it not be” and revealing the secret at the last moment, bursting with yellow coloured smoke in the Old Town and full of attendees in outer-worldly costumes, the most bizarre and colourful Fluxus festival 2020 has happened! The festival, symbolizing the movement from the temporary to the contemporary capital of culture, brought together its most loyal participants and passionate enthusiasts. Late Saturday evening one of the most active locations in Kaunas – Parodos hill – was closed down and crowds in the most original and hilarious costumes started their parade uphill.

Attendees’ costumes revealed the surprising freedom of the people of Kaunas and their ability to let their creativity flow freely – lit up, dancing, barefoot, leaping, walking backwards, or to sound installation, - on the evening of the Fluxus festival people’s imagination became truly infinite.

Even though the intrigue surrounding the event was kept alive right ‘till the last second, the international march organization “Walk the plank”, along with local artists and the active community of Kaunas, had been preparing for the festival for an entire week: those coming up the hill were able to see the result of many hours of hard work – an impressive installation of lights and flames.

After reaching the top of Parodos hill, participants were immediately engulfed in the Fluxus program: the sky was beaming from laser lights, while the grand finale of the festival was the extraordinary performance by the contemporary dance theatre “Aura” and a community film from 11 different Kaunas regions (directed by Eglė Valadkevičiūtė).

With the program of the festival taking up the entire day, Kaunas biennial was inviting guests from the early morning: city folk had the opportunity to visit the “Magic carpet route“. This involved poetry in Šilainiai cafes, a creative laboratory with dancers in the Unity square, a tour of Kaunas tales in the Zanavykai marketplace, and a clay animation “Rokis”, which was presented in the Fourth Fort of Kaunas.


Photo by A. Aleksandravičius