Borders, hidden territories, and empty flagpoles were the creative focus of this year’s EHU LitPro Summer School, “Defining a Coordinate System: Artistic Research in a Visual Context”.
For the project “Vilnius With/Out Flags”—curated by Vilnius-based art critic Aušra Trakšelytė—participating students identified empty flagpoles in Vilnius and posed the question: could new symbols take the place of the flags that once fluttered at these sites?
“Empty flagpoles in Vilnius reflect a specific historical past. But, at the same time, they have lost their function. Not only their primary functions interested us, but also the relation of society towards them: do city dwellers notice them, do they remember them being used for flags?” wonders Trakšelytė.
The concept of borders was studied by a group curated by Minsk-based artist Sergei Shabohin. Calling itself “STYK” (in English: “collision”), the group discussed recent developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Participants hailed from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. They focused on topics like political propaganda, representation and reproduction of information, and others. The group also examined artistic strategies as part of information warfare.
Hidden and open spaces were examined by a group curated by Anastasya Ryabova, an artist and activist from Moscow, in a project called “xetnorf”. Members of this group studied territories of Vilnius that are not accessible to the public. Maps of these hidden spaces were produced.
“In addition to the educational goals, the project had a utilitarian goal, namely, to work out a system of symbols and a typological table of terminology for marking closed territories of all kinds,” explained Ryabova.
“Thanks to the variety of theoretical and practical backgrounds of the tutors and participants, the results of the School were presented in three different forms: investigative journalism, artistic phenomenology, and urban activism,” said curator of the Summer School Aleksei Borisionok. “It’s important that on the project’s blogs one can find not only the final projects of the Summer School, but also full documentation of the research process itself.”
Nineteen art critics, curators, young artists, researchers, and activists from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and Lithuania took part in this year’s LitPro Summer School.
LitPro is a sociocultural project that promotes dialog and mutual understanding between Belarusians and Lithuanians. It is administered by the European Humanities University and supported by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Photo Credit: Project “Vilnius With/Out Flags”