Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013
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International artpark open in the Old Town of Klaipėda

The centre of Klaipėda has been hosting an exhibition of public art objects created by artists from Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad region (Russia) – the participants in the international cultural exchange project “Close Stranger”. Coordinated by Klaipėda Culture Communication Centre (KCCC), the creative experiments by Lithuanian artists and guests have enriched the ordinary environment of the Old Town by new decorative accents and  means of entertainment.

Donatas Bielkauskas, well-known Lithuanian sound artist, has decided to examine the contemporary communication habits. Specially for this project, he has constructed dangles – the traditional Lithuanian signal percussion instruments. During the excursion over the public exhibition that took place last Friday, Donatas Bielkauskas and percussionist Viktoras Rubežas delivered a music performance to demonstrate that even this simple archaic instrument can charm the listeners by its genuine sound.

In ancient times, Lithuanians used those dangles to drive out the cattle, call meetings, or pass on essential information. After the event, the four instruments have been placed in four courtyards of the Klaipėda Old Town to invite the Klaipėdians to try them out by making music or connections with their closest neighbours.

The white exterior wall of the KCCC Exhibition hall courtyard, that opened up when the storage building of the neighbouring museum was constructed and the environment was cleaned up, and that looks like a canvas, could not escape notice of the artistic collective “San Donato” from Kaliningrad. The artists have proposed to fill in the empty space with an outdoor installation. The artwork by “San Donato” is 12-square-meters sculptural metal plane of a larger than normal scale, reproducing the QR code that hides the ironic inscription “This Could be Your Graffiti“. The work inspired by modern technology and implemented together is also very decorative – it reminds the geometric patterns of folk art.

The Old Town paving makes the one who is walking to look not only around, but also to mind one‘s step. True, now it is worth doing also because at some spots of the pavement, the Klaipėdian Loreta Tallat-Kelpšienė has imbedded her “Secrets” that sparkle with amber and reflect the view of the city. Kaliningrad-dweller Danil Akimov, who experiments in the field of sound, also aims at the effect of surprise: on Friday, he presented his audio installation “The Changing Soundscapes of Klaipėda” that one could hear by pressing one‘s ear against a drain pipe.

The outdoor installation “Meet the Sunset”  by Ewa Kobylarczyk (Gdansk) has highlighted the view of the right quay of the Danė beside the Biržos bridge by covering the benches, the trees at the square and the bridge proper with black curtain lace and net. According to the author, the adjustment of the normal space form invites you to reflect on the past, and to see the spiritual and emotional dimension to the existing urban environment, especially since Gdansk, Klaipėda and Kaliningrad that are participating in the project are quite similar in their history.

At the moment, the Theatre square is hosting a a mini swing park “Swing with a Stranger” by Kaja Pobereżny and Michal Podgórczyk (Gdansk). In the words of Kaja Pobereżny, adults have a lot to learn from the children, who naturally and easily, without prejudice or hesitation, are seeking contact with their peers whom they occasionally meet.

Creative activities is one of the best ways to establish international partnerships and the development of cross-cultural communication, as the cultural exchange project “Close Stranger” shows, bringing together for their joint activities the three institutions: KCCC (Lithuania), the Baltic branch of Russia’s National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Kaliningrad, and “Łaźnia”, contemporary art centre in Gdansk (Poland).

One more event took place on Friday at the Exhibition hall of KCCC at Didžioji Vandens street, 2, presenting the exhibition ″9000 km″ by curator Yevgeny Umansky (Kaliningrad), who has reviewed a social and cultural panorama of Russia – the so-called total video-installation. The exhinition is open until November 9, 2014.

The main aim of the project „Close Stranger“, implemented from December 2012 to December 2014, is to promote cooperation among Lithuania, Poland and Russia through development of bilateral and trilateral relations. The specific objectives of the project cover facilitation of tripartite exchange within a cross-border network of institutions and professionals working in the field of contemporary arts and culture in three partner cities and dissemination of information about contemporary artistic, cultural and social issues on the territory of the project in three Programme’s countries of Russia, Poland and Lithuania.

The “Close Stranger” project is implemented in the framework of the Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-Border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013. The main objective of the Programme financed from the funds of the European Union and the Russian Federation is to strengthen cooperation between Lithuania, Poland and Russia through enhanced bilateral and trilateral relations. The total cost of the “Close Stranger” project is 873,620.59 Euro. The Programme’s contribution to the project equals to 768,786.12 Euro (88%). The involved institutions provide co-financing in the amount of 104,834.47 Euro (12%).

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