In 2019, Kaunas Artists’ House residency programme “Unlearning Eastern Europe”* invites guest curators from Baltic countries and aims to reconsider the contemporary issues of the region, ranging from decolonialisation options to the politics of public spaces. During July and August, KAH is pleased to host the second curator to participate in this year’s programme – Eglė Mikalajūnė (LT). At 6pm, 31 July, E. Mikalajūnė will conduct a lecture “Illegal realities in contemporary society and fake news as an artistic strategy”.

The event will be held in Lithuanian and is free of charge to attend.

Contemporary art contains numerous often-used ‘mantras’. One of them is the notion of encouraging subjective stories, discourses and perceptions of reality instead of pursuing a single truth or a grand narrative. However, how does this maxim work in the everyday and in the field of contemporary art, formed by political systems, moral codes and new technologies? This lecture will provide an overview of a variety of different social contexts, to all of which questions of ‘illegal realities’ are currently immensely relevant, including the discourses of virutal reality and mental health, whilst also presenting the artistic strategies employed by the new generation of artists in which fake news or the principles of alternative realities cut across the inner structures of a work of art and become tools in the further processes of communication and PR.

The format of this year’s residency programme responds to the need for curatorial residencies and encourages to explore the potential of curatorship. The participant curators link their curatorial and artistic practices with activism, explore the various sociopolitical contexts of the Baltic region and possible new scenario activations. The KAH residency programme aims to provide a supportive environment for critical discourse, curator-conducted research, its discussions within the framework of Kaunas, involving local artists, students, activists, academics and other city participants.

The KAH residency programme was launched in 2018 with the aim to present the most relevant contemporary artists, curators and cultural researchers working in Lithuania and abroad to the residents and guests of Kaunas city. The residency programme aims to foster intercultural, cross-institutional and cross-sectoral cooperation, to provide artists and cultural producers with the opportunity to become acquainted with the historical and cultural context of the city during their residency, to facilitate their cooperation with other artists or cultural producers and local communities.

Eglė Mikalajūnė is curator at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, Lithuania, lecturer at Vilnius Academy of Arts and art critic. Since 2007, she has curated exhibitions, video screenings, artistic collaboration projects and community projects in Lithuania, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Latvia, Russia, France and other countries. In her practice, she often seeks to research the local within the context of global and to foster collaborations between artists of different fields, artists and scientists, artists and communities. Eglė was also one of initiators of the movement of Reformatų square and since 2018 is a volunteer at Mental Health Center of Vilnius City.

Attending the event is free of charge and it will be held in Lithuanian.

* The title “Unlearning Eastern Europe” is inspired research conducted by the programme’s first resident, Tanel Rander (EE).