Vilnius Contexts’19

Vilnius was and still is an infinite source of inspiration, often becoming a big part of many different stories. Every single one of us has a very distinct relationship with this city, and in 2019 the project “Vilnius Contexts” focuses on 22 authors sharing their creative take on Vilnius. They’ve chosen certain spots to write essays, poems, or thoughts about, urging the readers to explore and experience the city’s true character. In most cases, these texts are not even geographical; they tie to the international, multilingual, or time-based contexts of Vilnius, along with the capital’s various angles and assimilations in a both social and linguistic sense. 

Curators: Stefanija Jokštytė, Aušra Trakšelytė

Designer: Eglė Marija Ažubalytė

Photographer: Vytautas Narkevičius

Translators: Rimas Užgiris, Kipras Šumskas, Alexandra Bondarev, Darius Sužiedėlis 


AKVILĖ KAVALIAUSKAITĖ

Author of a thousand texts and novel “Two lives in one summer” (2015). 

Kavaliauskaitė’s text for the Vilnius Contexts project is dedicated to 141 people. 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev.  

ALEXANDRA BONDAREV

She’s translating English and Spanish texts to Lithuanian. Raised in Vilnius Old Town, Bondarev is now travelling and constantly changing locations, seeking new collaborations and experiences. 

Her quatrain for the Vilnius Contexts project contextualises the oldest and largest neighbourhood of Antakalnis, along with its social, linguistic, and cultural intricacies.  

The text was translated into English by the author herself.

ALINA ORLOVA

A singer from Visaginas, Orlova has been living and creating in Vilnius since age 18. She released her debut album “Wild dog dingo” in 2008, which was re-released as a vinyl in 2019. Her second album was called “Mutabor” (2010), followed by “88” (2015) and “Daybreak” (2018). 

Ending up next to a music school that’s empty in summer, Orlova’s text for the Vilnius Contexts project focuses on the certain emotional stiffness and also melancholy that the sounds typically coming from this school bring. 

The text was translated into English by Rimas Užgiris.

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AUDRIUS POCIUS

Philosopher, curator of contemporary art exhibitions, and educator. 

Pocius’ text for the Vilnius Contexts project touches on the relationship between a travelling person and city spaces, exploring how these spaces unnoticeably dictate the route of the mentioned individual.  

The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas.

DARIUS GUMAUSKAS

An actor who can be seen in plays and Lithuanian movies.

After receiving the offer to take part in the Vilnius Contexts project, he decided to use the stand as it was intended to. 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev.

DOMINYKAS VAITIEKŪNAS 

Theatre and cinema actor, author of music and texts, in 2019 Vaitiekūnas released his debut album “A good person” as his alter ego on the stage – Vitalijus Špokaitis. 

His text for the Vilnius Contexts project ironizes the concept of family politics due to the piece’s content and the chosen geographical location. 

The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas. 

EDVINAS VALIKONIS

A Vilnius native who’s writing poetry and actively taking photographs as well as being a performance artist. 

Valikonis dedicated the poem “Fog” for the project – this text is the fifth one out of the seven poems written as a letter for fog itself. The city plays an important role here too. 

The text was translated into English by Rimas Užgiris. 

ERNESTAS PARULSKIS

An art critic and an expert of the art market, writing essays and comments for the Lithuanian media since 1998. His book “The Kunstkamera of everyday life” was published in 2010. He’s now the curator of the Art Information Center at the National Gallery of Art. 

Vilnius Contexts introduces Parulskis’ text about introspection, about the fragments of every working day, which he turn into daily adventures. Will we get people interested enough to try out the routine action described by the author? 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev. 

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GABRIELIUS MACKEVIČIUS

Creating texts and working in graphic design, also actively taking part in creative workshops and projects. Mackevičius’ loves personal experiences and coincidences as well as similar-sounding words and their meanings playing with each other – this is evident in his poem “Language error”, dedicated to the Vilnius Contexts project. 

The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas.


JONAS NARBUTAS

Musician and song author, Narbutas (aka Kabloonak) released already a second solo album this year in the form of a vinyl. 

Probably the most difficult time for any creative freelancer is the end of April – the period of declaring your income for the tax agency. For the Vilnius Contexts project, the artist lent a sentence that was geographically positioned in accordance with its content. 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev. 

JULIUS MARKEVIČIUS

An independent pathfinder and author of various exploration projects, Markevičius is interested in national and local identities, their developments and expression in public spaces. 

For the Vilnius Contexts project, he created a dualist portrait of the station neighbourhood that’s experiencing gentrification.

The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas. 

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JUOZAS LAIVYS

Creator of conceptual art, Laivys moved to Narvaišiai village (Plungė region) in 2006. In 2015, he publically suspended his creative endeavours and promised not to create any art until 2029.  

The project Vilnius Contexts sees the artist’s quatrain ending up on the same stand that he used to exhibit another work 18 years ago for the project “Contemporary art exhibition on advertising stands in Vilnius and Kaunas” (2001). 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev. 


KRISTUPAS SABOLIUS

Philosopher and writer, associate professor at the Institute of Philosophy at Vilnius University, and author of books on imagination. Together with director Ignas Jonynas, he wrote screenplays for two movies – “The gambler” (2013) and “Invisible” (2019).

Sabolius’ poem for the Vilnius Contexts project merges with its concrete and stylistically heterogeneous environment, where the road surface is often “decorated” with unwelcome entities.  

The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas. 

LAIMA KREIVYTĖ  

Art critic, writer, exhibition curator, and artist, Kreivytė is interested in the interaction between visuals and texts. She has published a selection of poems “Sappho's purgatorial library” (2013), also books about artists Kęstutis Zapkus and Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė. She creates performances and takes part in exhibitions with the group Cooltūristės

Kreivytė has created a poem about her native neighbourhood Karoliniškės for the Vilnius Contexts project, a neighbourhood that used to stand out for its cosmic aura. 

The text was translated into English by Rimas Užgiris.  

MARIUS IVAŠKEVIČIUS

Writer, author of prose and screenplays, dramaturg, Ivaškevičius was awarded the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts in 2018 for making literature take a very brave step into theatre. 

He dedicates an excerpt of one of his texts to the Vilnius Contexts project. The piece is packed full of metaphors, symbols, and hints pointing to the city that we all love unconditionally. 

The text was translated into English by Darius Sužiedėlis.

MARIUS POVILAS ELIJAS MARTYNENKO

Poet and writer, Martynenko is a finalist of European slam poetry championships. He published a poetic prose book “Five minutes to the beginning of the world” in 2018, and “It’ll pass” this year. 

The text for the project Vilnius Contexts consists of observations about people he met while working at one of the bars in Vilnius. The piece, according to the author, was created at a nearby bus stop at dawn, while waiting for a trolley bus home after a long night of work. 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev. 

MONIKA KALINAUSKAITĖ

Art critic, author of critical, fiction texts, exhibition reviews in Lithuanian and foreign press, and curator who works with art shows and events by young Lithuanian artists. 

Kalinauskaitė’s text for this project is a spacious panorama of a city as a whole universe, which is often more comfortable to observe while in a horizontal position. 

The text was translated into English by Rimas Užgiris.

PAULINA PUKYTĖ

Artist and author of three fiction books “Their Habits” (2005), “Fake Rabbit” (2008), and “A Loser and a Do-gooder” (2013), Pukytė makes site-specific installations and writes experimental literature.

Taking a 360° look (like on Google Maps Street View) from this location at the tiniest details of this historically, architecturally, and culturally multi-layered landscape, the author entices the readers to take an attentive look at it too. The text composed of current and past, temporary and long-lasting fragments of the Naujamiestis district is an invitation to contemplate the beauty of the constantly changing and always enduring palimpsest of Vilnius.

ROBERTAS NARKUS

An artist who says he manages circumstances in an economy of coincidences. While looking for new ways to describe an artist’s role in society, Narkus uses various means of expression to explore the traumas and joys of a society obsessed with progress. 

In his text for the Vilnius Contexts project, the author linguistically embodies a feeling of apathy that takes over whenever a modern person looks at local and/or global problems through a touchscreen.
The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas. 

ŠARŪNAS JONEIKIS

Song author and musician of the band Garbanotas, also a graphic artist who created album covers for several Lithuanian performers and for the album “The last sun” (2018) of his own band. 

The sentence created by Joneikis for the Vilnius Contexts project is about the melancholic memories of summer; it’s placed close to Vasaros street. 

The text was translated into English by Alexandra Bondarev. 


STEFANIJA JOKŠTYTĖ

Author of texts and screenplays, co-founder of the advertising creatives’ tandem Stefken+Kudirka, Jokštytė is able to masterfully depict places, feelings, or times in just a few words. 

The project Vilnius Contexts introduces Jokštytė’s text about the crossroads of her generation, nocturnal people, and the freedom to postpone decision-making.

The text was translated into English by Kipras Šumskas. 

VIKTORIJA IVANOVA (1988–2018)

Theatre critic, author of prose and essays, Ivanova had her texts translated into English, German, Japanese, and Russian. Her prose book “Scrunchy gravel” was published in 2006. 

In 2017, Vilnius Contexts presented her own personal promise in the form of a letter. This year, that same text comes back to the same spot as our sincere promise to always remember her… 

The text was translated into English by Aleksandra Fominaitė.

Lina BernotaityteComment