Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013
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Klaipėda Old town to host the artworks of an international art project

One of the final chords that ″Close Stranger″, the international cultural exchange project, will play in Klaipėda, is an exposition of public art objects created by artists from Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad region (Russia) in the spaces of the Lithuanian port city. An excursion to introduce those artworks will start from the Exhibition hall of Klaipėda Culture Communication Centre (KCCC) at Didžioji Vandens street, 2, after the opening of the ″9000 km″ exhibition that is to take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 10th. The excursion invites and expects everyone who is interested.

In their work, six artists and their teams from the three countries have developed their favorite fields and genres of expression by examining and interpreting relevant issues from Klaipėda’s past and present. The results of their creative work are as diverse as the artists themselves: for one day, the Old town will host their audio installations, visual objects, and other attributes that are usually unexpected in public spaces.

The artistic collective “San Donato” (Kaliningrad) have drawn their attention to the white exterior wall of the Exhibition hall courtyard. The artists will employ it to assemble a metal object in the form of a QR code. The viewers can use their mobile phones to read this abstract geometric pattern as text “Here could be your graffiti”. The artists do not have an illusion that after their project, the unauthorized graffiti interventions in the city will decrease in numbers, but hope that their playful solution can have a positive impact on the problem.

Meanwhile, Loreta Tallat-Kelpšienė from Klaipėda has used the kaleidoscope principle, amber pieces, mirrors, and the motifs of her childhood games to build her installations “Secrets” – which, by the way, are far larger than their prototypes that Lithuanian children once used to compose from colored foil, little stones and pieces of glass.

Ewa Kobylarczyk (Gdansk) has designed a temporary installation “Welcomed by Twilight” to replace the usual picture of the Danė quay by surrounding its contours with black curtain lace that, like the veil of memories and the secrets forgotten on the pages of history, will change the shape of ordinary objects. In the words of Ewa Kobylarczyk, Gdansk, Klaipėda and Kaliningrad that are participating in the project are similar in their history, while the melancholic autumn is the right time for us to reconsider it.

In his installation “Shifting soundscapes of Klaipėda”, sound artist Danil Akimov (Kaliningrad)  is going to examine and modify the usual sonic landscape of the port city. Have you noticed that in the long run, we seem to stop hearing the environment sounds that are usual for the ear, but when we find ourselves in a different space, we take them unwittingly? The experiments by the Russian guest will reveal whether it is possible to hear the familiar spaces of Klaipėda from a new angle.

Another sound artist, Donatas Bielkauskas / Donis, who represents Lithuania in the project, has decided to examine our communication habits by installing a number of dangles in the Old town areas – primitive signal percussion instruments made of a few planks and hung on a tree or building. In ancient times, Lithuanians used those dangles to drive out the cattle, call meetings, etc. Will a contemporary urban resident, who is used to stick his/her eyes to the smartphone, have enough curiosity and courage to pass a message by using dangles? The authors expects that a dangle network will stimulate Klaipėdians to bang on them not only individually, but also to communicate in rhythmic conversations.

Michal Podgórczyk and Kaja Pobereżny (Gdansk) is also going to add some playfulness to Klaipėda‘s spaces: he plans to equip the Theatre square with a mini swing park “Swing with a stranger”.

The audience of Klaipėda will be able to watch all those installations accompanied by the artists who have created them: after the opening of “9000 km” exhibition at the KCCC Exhibition hall at 6 p.m. on October 10th, an excursion will move from there to make a tour over the public art objects.

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%).