Magic Carpets - Kauno Bienalė

Magic Carpets


From August, 2017, Kaunas Biennial is leading Creative Europe platform “Magic Carpets” which involves 21 cultural organisations from EU and candidate countries.

The first stage of the four year project (2017–2021) finished with the international contemporary art exhibition, dedicated to Kaunas – European Capital of Kaunas 2022 MagiC Carpets Landed.

In 2022 we're continuing with the next stage – three years project “Magic Carpets”.

Follow the residencies, emerging artists, emerging curators and their work with the communities across Europe


The title and concept conceived by Benedetta Carpi De Resmini (Latitudo Srl / Rome):

Travel is one of the ways that humans have established over time to relate to different civilisations. Journey belongs to our traditions, it depicts an open and fascinating concept that is linked to our popular traditions, to the paths of fairy tales, to the archetypes that bring us to a constant longing for the unknown.

The title Magic Carpets refers to 1001 Arabian Nights fairy-tale story about the magic, or flying, carpet – a ‘fantastic device’ for travelling across the world in the twinkling of an eye. The creativity and imagination of Scheherazade’s used in story-telling to intrigue and to involve her husband becomes here a convincing metaphor of the power of culture to change the mistrust and confrontation into intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding, respect and even love.


At this specific moment in the world when histories are being rewritten to serve new ideologies and interests and nationalism is on the rise again, we want to strengthen our sense of belonging to an open-eyed and multicultural Europe by:

– making personal stories visible and audible through visual and interdisciplinary art practices;

– broadening worldviews of emerging artists through cultural nomadism and socially responsible approach, fostering their skills to work internationally and developing new audiences through inclusive methods and co-creation and communication as well as digital technologies.

Nomadism is not something we can only relate to longing for unknown or to a conscious choice anymore. The past few years have confirmed that nomadism has become a state of mind for those who are looking for economical and even physical shelter when leaving their home and country. Now, it refers more to the concept of displacement rather than to the adventure of travel. The tension is growing around this topic day by day. The explosion of the ‘outside world’ refugees’ numbers in Europe sadly correlates with an internal European displacement, which, in turn, causes a growing oppression. For example, 25% of Lithuanians have left the country in the past 20 years because of socio-economic reasons and even recently placed refugees flee from Lithuania to Germany or Sweden in hired buses after they receive their EU resident documents. All of us in Europe face our own challenges. We, Europeans, need to build an emotional attachment to our own place, which only comes through openness to the stories of others. We are still longing for the ‘happy end’ encoded in fairy tales and story-telling traditions.

More than 50 artistic and cultural interventions in different European and neighbouring cities will become those ‘magic carpets’, guaranteeing us shared memories and thus the sense of belonging to a unified story of renewed ability to listen to each other, which we desperately lack today.


  • Kaunas Biennial (Kaunas / Lithuania) – Coordinating Entity
  • IDEIAS EMERGENTES - Produção Cultural, CRL (Porto (Guimarães) / Portugal)
  • Jam Factory Art Centre (Lviv / Ukraine)
  • Lab852 d.o.o. za promidžbu (Zagreb / Croatia)
  • Latitudo Srl (Rome / Italy)
  • META Cultural Foundation (Bucharest (Slon) / Romania)
  • New Theatre Institute of Latvia (Riga / Latvia),
  • Novo Kulturno Naselje (Novi Sad / Serbia)
  • OPENART, Örebro Kommun (Örebro / Sweden)
  • Openspace.Innsbruck (Innsbruck / Austria)
  • Sihtasutus Tartu 2024 (Tartu / Estonia)
  • Tbilisi International Photo Festival (Tbilisi / Georgia)
  • Trempo (Nantes / France)
  • Unfinished Art Space (Gzira / Malta)
  • Wrocławski Instytut Kultury (Wroclaw / Poland)

  • Diyalog Derneği (Istanbul / Turkey)
  • Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone / UK)


  • EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial (Limerick / Ireland) (2018-2021)
  • ZK/U – Centre for Art and Urbanistics (Berlin / Germany) (2018-2021)
  • Prague Biennale (Prague / Czech Republic) (2018-2021)
  • Centre of Contemporary Art – Tbilisi (Tbilisi / Georgia) (2018-2020)


    Magic Carpets is a platform actively uniting 21 European partners and intended for traveling emerging artists to work in socially engaged and responsible art field (visual art, public art, community art, exhibitions, performances, documentary theater, online art, etc) to research and to implement new productions together with local artists and local communities with aims:

    – to enlarge a mutual understanding between local population and ‘strangers’ (‘others’) through innovative ways of story-telling and co-creation;
    – to boost the skills of emerging artists to work ‘outside the institution’ and research deeper into the sociocultural context of the host city or ‘unknown land’;
    – to increase the visibility of emerging talents through transnational mobility of artists and artworks and through the broad visibility of partners’ international profile;
    – to trigger intercultural and interfaith dialogue, and facilitate the integration of displaced people and refugees;
    – to develop new and deepen existing contacts with various audiences and target groups in many European cities and countries through inclusive cultural programme and extensive use of information, communication, digital technologies, and innovative approaches;
    – to ensure the visibility of European values and different cultures;
    – to guarantee the European quality of the project and the legacy of the partnership as well as the branding strategy beyond the project period.

    "Magic Carpets” is co-funded by the European Union and Lithuanian Council for Culture.

    Management Board Committee

    Virginija Vitkienė (CEO, Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022), Lewis Biggs (Curator, Writer, Cultural Consultant), Diane Dever (Co-founder & Director, Folkestone Fringe), Claudia Melo (Curator, Artistic director of Contextile 2022), Karmen Krasić Kožul (Managing Director, Lab852).