This year, Kaunas Biennial, which implements an international platform project MagiC Carpets, changes its activities and will pay more attention to the native artists and local community initiatives. Its five interdisciplinary projects will involve different communities of Kaunas city and district.
According to the manager of MagiC Carpets project, Ms. Neringa Stoškutė, enabling local artists to develop their creative activities will allow the cultural sector to mitigate the impact the pandemic has had on the cultural sector.
Could you please tell us what was the main motivation behind the decision to adapt this year’s MagiC Carpets for the activities of local artists, funding and implementing their projects?
Neringa Stoškutė: I think I will not surprise anyone by saying that the main reason we have decided to focus the activities of this year’s MagiC Carpets project on local artists is COVID-19 virus that engulfed the world and the consequences that have ensued. Even though most of the European countries are getting back to the normal routine as much as possible, and various airlines start flights again, people still distrust those who come from abroad. Due to the existing travelling restrictions to some European countries and distrust felt by the locals towards the foreign people, together with 15 partner organisations, we have decided to focus more on the local artists in the MagiC Carpets project and foster their co-creative activities with local communities. Moreover, in order to reduce the effect of the virus, we want to create opportunities for local artists who have lost their main source of income (participation in exhibitions, residences, dance or theatre performances, concerts, etc.) to develop their creative activities.
How would you describe creative ideas submitted for the call? Why did the projects selected stand out?
Neringa Stoškutė: First of all, I would like say how happy I am about the fact that when we announced the open call for the creators from various disciplines to pitch ideas for the MagiC Carpets project, we welcomed as many as 17 submissions. Out of them, we chose the creators of 5 projects, with whom we will continue the cooperation. The jury has spent a lot of time considering all the proposals, since they were very diverse, solid in their idea, relevant and valuable. The projects selected were prominent because of the clarity and innovativeness of the idea. We also tried to select projects from different areas of art and covering as geographically wide area in Kaunas and Kaunas District as possible.
What activities and projects are going to take place in Kaunas this summer?
Neringa Stoškutė: In the project offered by Edita Niciūtė, residents of Šilainiai will be able to join in creating poetry and enjoy its live reading, Mantas Stabačinskas will host the creative movement lab with Korys community from Šančiai, Ieva Bertašiūtė-Grosbaha will join Rokai community to make clay sculptures to be used for a stop motion movie, Judita Ragauskaitė and Karolina Latvytė-Bibiano will cooperate with the masters of sauna and will share the secrets of the traditional Lithuanian sauna, while the team of Lukas Valiauga, Justas Motūzas Eglė Valadkevičiūtė and Inga Galvanauskaitė will invite creators from various disciplines for the joint reading of Kauno miesto kronikos (The Chronicles of Kaunas City) by the 20th-century Lithuanian diaspora writer Julius Kaupas, following the footsteps of Kripštukas character developed by the author.
So we understand that this year, MagiC Carpets do not fly as far as they supposed to. Would it be possible to see the positive side of these challenges though?
Neringa Stoškutė: There is no doubt that the current challenges make us turn back to our own yard, where we sometimes do not notice blooming and fragrant bushes, because we go abroad and admire exotic plants instead. Figuratively speaking, I mean undiscovered young and talented people in Kaunas and Lithuania who sometimes receive less attention than they deserve. With the current situation around the world, we were forced to take a better and more thorough look at the people and environment that surround us. I am also very glad working with local creators who have as many enthusiasm and dedication for creative work dealing with communities as any other artist invited from abroad. I believe that this year’s MagiC Carpets projects will be very successful, inclusive and telling interesting and relevant stories.
MagiC Carpets platform project is supported by Creative Europe 2014–2020, a EU programme, and Lithuanian Council for Culture.