Birds-eye-down web

“Tourists like us. Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art”

This book opens up a new field of discussion at the crossroads between contemporary art and critical tourism. As common ground for theoretical inquiry and artistic research, the notion of critical tourism asks us to question again our understanding of authenticity, the tourist gaze, the museification of landscape, the visual construction of place, post-romanticism, contemporary exoticism, site-specificity and global connectedness. The book specifically explores the role of the artist, and of the art institution, in the age of destination culture. How are individual and institutional practices changing in an era of hosting, hospitality, displacing and cultural nomadism?

 Based on the comparison between two very different but nonetheless similar landscapes the Swiss Alps and the Baltic Dunes and Beaches art historians, environmental historians, geographers, explorers, curators and artists address the relatively new field of critical tourism in a transdisciplinary context. Together they consider how to critically approach and understand seductive and remote landscapes, against the backdrop of global cultural tourism. The book is not only a critical account of discussions around the topics but it is also rich in visual materials, documents and descriptions of artistic interventions in these two touristic settings. This publication is the result of over a year of exchanges between ECAV Ecole Cantonale d Art du Valais in Sierre (Switzerland) and Nida Art Colony (NAC), which belongs to the Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania). The book reviews the concepts, residencies, exhibitions, workshops and the symposium that formed this exchange between 2012 to 2013, in the context of the research and residency programme On Hosting and Displacing: Artistic Residencies and Cultural Production in Remote Contexts .

Edited by: Federica Martini & Vytautas Michelkevičius
Design Joseph Miceli (alfa60)
Publishers: Ecole Cantonale d'Art du Valais, Sierre, VAA Press and Nida Art Colony
Print run: 1200
Cover: paperback
Year of publishing: 2013
Number of pages: 264 
Langage: English
Fragments in PDF

Contributors in the book:
Bill Aitchison (UK)
Benoit Antille (CH)
Sebastian Cichocki (PL)
Contingent Movements Archive - Hanna Husberg (FI), Laura McLean (AU) and Kalliopi Tsipni-Kolaza (GR)
Liesje De Laet (BE)
Jurij Dobriakov (LT)
Paul Domela (UK)
Barnaby Drabble (CH/ES)
Gilles Furtwängler (CH)
Wilko Graf von Hardenberg (DE/CH)
Petra Koehle and Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin (CH)
Juozas Laivys (LT)
David Larsson (SE)
Henning Lundkvist (SE)
Federica Martini (CH)
Vytautas Michelkevičius (LT)
Sibylle Omlin (CH)
Agnieszka Polska (PL)
Ramūnas Povilanskas (LT)
Adrien Siberchicot (FR)
Sam Skinner (UK)
Markus Soukup (UK)
Yulia Startsev (RU/DE)
Laura Stasiulyte (LT)
Collective Synops (CH) - Maëlle Cornut and Sté́phanie Giorgis
Marika Troili (SE)


Catalogue of  the project “Between Time and History”

Goethe-Institut, Institut Français in Lithuania, Nida Art Colony of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, and independent curator Julija Čistiakova are pleased to present residency project “Between Time and History”, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty and European integration development. 

Klaipėda region, full of historical and geographical shifts – once belonging to Prussia, German and Russian Empires, and Soviet Union, – is a perfect example of how power can change the flow of the history and how political decisions can affect people’s life and expectations, landscape and territory, memory of the past and present. Looking back on the history of the three countries we can trace how different alliances and treaties – The Triple Alliance (1882), The Triple Entente (1907), Treaty of Versailles (1919) and Élysée Treaty (1963) – affected the geographical changes in Europe and in Klaipėda region.

Three artists – Martin Neumaier (Germany), Dominique Blais (France) and Žilvinas Landzbergas (Lithuania) – spent almost two months in the residency in Nida. They were employed to think about history’s bearing on the present in this particular small piece of land. It is important how the artists percieve the history that has been changing people’s consciousness and have nostalgia of the things that will never happen. M. Neumaier focused on the question what does it mean to be a German? How future and the past can be bound together and why it is important for him to find the answers to his questions. Ž. Landzbergas’s personal mythologies, which consist of tiny details important only to the artist, of his feelings on the seaside during the residency, are resulting into the site-specific installation that refers to Lithuanian traditional mythology and has many symbolic meanings. In his works, D. Blais has been researching the ideas of solitude and isolation as well as contraversion between East and West in a figurative and literate sense. The time and political contexts are changing, but certain landscape elements remain the same.

The artists were encouraged to navigate real and imagined territories and times – geographic, political, economic and social by revealing how the forgotten personal and communal construct the nostalgia of/for the future. The show functions as an archive of parallel micro-narratives, expanding on the notion as a means of touching upon local chronotops. The exhibition strives to formulate an unstable and fragmentary cartography where spatial and time collisions often result in conditions close to a pseudo-modernist melancholy. Finally, it reveals how cultural mythologies are inscribed into a personal Time-Space/Landscape-Memory equation.

susitikimaskurionebuvoCorinne Roche, Nils Mohl, Eglė Paulina Pukytė “Susitikimas, kurio nebuvo / Une improbable rencontre / Das Treffen, das es nicht gab”
The programmes of literature and contemporary art were successfully combined in the joint project of Goethe‘s institute, the festival partner, and VDA Nida Art Colony writers: Nils Mohl, Corinne Roche and Paulina Eglė Pukytė read excerpts from their texts created on the topic of a fictitious meeting of Thomas Mann and Jean Paul Sartre in Nida.
A meeting in an afterlife hotel, Th.Mann‘s panic attacks in front of dunes and discussions with J. P. Sartre about the future of Europe including the genres of the essay, drama and novel - it seems that the framework of the theme did not restrict the authors‘ creativity, and the combination of three different European languages in one event was fascinating.

What could’ve happened if Thomas Mann would’ve met Jean-Paul Sartre in the dunes of Nida? Ignoring the limits imposed by time-space, we’re raising this question to three professional writers, selected by Goethe Institute, French Institute and Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts. We hope they will take their time to elaborate on the question during their residency period starting in April and ending in mid-May 2014.

The three writers: Corinne Roche (FR), Paulina Pukytė (LT), Nils Mohl (DE) are the authors of this BLOG, which is the reflection of their quotidian life in Nida, following the footsteps of those who were there, and creating paths to things that might have happened.

The project is a common initiative ofGoethe Institut Litauen, L’Institut français de Lituanie and Nida Art Colony.


The guide of the Lithuanian national pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015

Dainius Liškevičius's project Museum is presented in the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia by Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts. The pavilion is organised by curator and commissioner Dr. Vytautas Michelkevičius, 2nd commissioner Rasa Antanavičiūtė, producer Daina Pupkevičiūtė and the pavilion team.

Introductory text.

“Dainius Liškevičius’ Museum, which has opened in this Venetian garden as the Lithuanian national pavilion, is a fictional museum that is based on true and autobiographical facts. The multi-layered collection that has been put together by the artist works as an elliptical time loop. It simultaneously takes us back to the recent Soviet past, questions the present, and projects our anxieties on to a future that is full of cultural and geopolitical tensions. Museum is essentially a one-off piece of artistic research, but it is not only relevant in exploring the depths of the Soviet totalitarian regime. It is also a possible model for dealing with present-day hegemonic powers, and their impact on the public discourse and the freedom of the artist. We can also interpret Museum as a new kind of patriotism, which rethinks the new democracies’ national myths, and their attempts to create legitimacy for a contemporary nation-state. The presentation of Museum as a national pavilion is a transgressive act, which turns it into an institution with greater authority than museums normally have.

The non-hierarchical spatial arrangement of works by the artist, combined with everyday Soviet objects and artefacts, engages the viewer in at least four parallel and overlapping stories. They deal with artistic freedom and freedom of speech in occupied Lithuania, the USSR at large, and the world today.

A 48-pages guide (PDF, 6 MB) is published to help to discover multi-linear narratives of the Pavilion.
This guide presents several of the work’s overlapping storylines, complemented by the artist’s textual interpretations of historical events. If you wish to get an overview of the entire collection, its narratives, and diverse interpretations by art historians, open the project’s book Museum (2013).

Vytautas Michelkevičius