Contraband. A Challenge for Young Artists

Once we hear the word „contraband“, we imagine dark coloured images straigt away – drugs, human trafficking, illegal cigarettes. However Vilnius Art Academy invites to look at this phenomenon from a wider point of view. Participants of Migrating Art Academies from different European countries will gather for a creative workshop organised in Nida Art Colony 1-15 September and will try to give this word a different meaning. All lectures during this event will be open to public.


„We understand contraband as a risky, dynamic, conflicting and creative situation in which confronting parties both justify their own actions in order to achieve material or immaterial use. Nida is also on a border with Kaliningrad Oblast, which historically was and still remains an active zone of smuggling, thus location specificity is also touched upon“, - tells Audrius Mickevičius, professor of Department of Photography and Media, Vilnius Academy of Arts.

The creative workshops for emerging artists will aim at a multifaceted and interdisciplinary analysis of smuggling. Negative and positive aspects of smuggling will be discussed, the former being the negative influence on state security and finance systems, the illegal trafficking of people, smuggling of goods, cybernetic attacks, viruses and so on, the latter including cultural-educational smuggling, book spreaders, homing pigeons, cultural-social protests, universities in exile, attempts to break through authoritative state information firewalls and illegal visual aesthetics. Some provocative themes (e.g. quantum world and illegal aesthetics) will also be offered.

The series of public lectures will start with a lecture by Wolfgang Knapp, a professor of the Institute for Art in Context at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He will share his long-term experience of working with individuals from the variety of disciplines. Such experience allows for modification of daily set practices and migration of ideas among disciplines. Later on dogs on duty will be introduced and customs officers will talk about daily routine at the state border.

Specialist of biochemical technology Vismantas Kairys will be talking about atoms and molecules, relativity and unexpected things hiding beyond our common everyday experience. Some basics of chemistry, molecular modeling, proteins and drug design will also be given. In another inspiring lecture philosopher and an active public intellectual Kristupas Sabolius will make connections among imagination, the visual and art philosophy.

The Migrating Art Academies (MigAA) platform is aimed at innovation and experience exchange in art teaching and research. It is a network of European universities and independent organisations. The Contrabbando* laboratory is supported by the European Commission Culture Program, the Culture Support Foundation of the Republic of Lithuania and the Nordic Culture Point. The laboratory is organised by the Department of Photography and Media Art of Vilnius Art Academy together with the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association.

Public Lectures:

Sunday, 1st September
20:00 „Migrating Art Academies“, introduction, Mindaugas Gapševičius (MigAA)
Introduction to creative workshop „Contrabbando*“, Audrius Mickevičius (Vilnius Academy of Arts)

Monday, 2nd September
10:00 „Interdisciplinary Practices,“ Wolfgang Knapp (University of the Arts, Berlin)
14:00 „Dogs on Duty“, with dogs on duty present. Coordinator Vytautas Tamošiūnas (Customs of the Republic of Lithuania).
"History, Traditions and Creativity of Smuggling," Gediminas Kulikauskas (Public relations representative of Criminal Bureau of Customs of the Republic of Lithuania)

Wednesday, 4th September

10:00 „Expert approach on attitudes towards smuggling,” Jolita Malinauskaitė (Kazimieras Simonavičius university)

Thursday, 5th September
10:00 „Smuggling in Private Life and Art,“ Audrius Mickevičius (Vilnius Academy of Arts)
„Illegal Aesthetics,“ Mindaugas Gapševičius (MigAA)

Saturday, 7th September
10:00 „Quantum World. Atoms and Molecules,“ Visvaldas Kairys (Vilnius University)

Tuesday, 10th September
10:00 „Imagination as Smuggling of Incommensurable,“ Kristupas Sabolius (Vilnius University)

Saturday, 14th September
12:00 – 18:00 Public presentation of the work


Audrius Mickevičius, tel. +370 61210917, email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Mindaugas Gapševičius, tel.: +370 62019229, email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.