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Climbing Invisible Structures. Ritualised Disciplinary Practices in Social Life, exhibition view, Underground Water Reservoir, Vilnius, 2016. Photo by Andrej Vasilenko.

Climbing Invisible Structures. Ritualised Disciplinary Practices in Social Life is a curated visual arts residency exchange and exhibition programme organised by the Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (NAC) (Lithuania), in collaboration with the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale (Norway), the Skaftfell Center for Visual Art (Iceland), and the Ars Communis Residency Centre YO-YO (Lithuania).

According to the French philosopher Michel Foucault disciplinary practices can be both symbolic and instrumental in shaping, producing and reproducing behaviour and identity. Many of these practices are ritualized, in the sense that they can be described as series of persuasive or coercive actions, intended to impress specific patterns of behaviour on individuals or groups. Ritualized disciplinary practices are instrumental in learning, and in the production of knowledge. Rituals (both religious and secular) can be observed in a wide range of context, from everyday life to public ceremonies, in judiciary and cultural institutions, artistic events and performances.

Anthropologists have pointed out that rituals are not only inherited static traditions; they are subject to change, and they can also be creative. New rituals can be generated for relational and convivial purposes, or as part and instruments of the new cultural and creative industries. E-learning, social media and streaming services have affected some of our most familiar rituals, and have created new ones.

The notion of ritual itself encloses the creative power of rites of passage. It invokes border crossing and processes of transformation. The transition from one order to another, from a stage in which everything is in its appropriate place to a new one, doesn’t happen without conflict and improvisation. The adept has to cross a threshold to enter a transitional stage, in which social life is stretched between the virtual idea of absolute order and absolute chaos and anarchy.

The anthropologist Victor Turner viewed this phase as a stepping from a structured social state into an anti-structure, into a liminal space of exclusion, uncertainty and ambiguity. He described ritual as a kind of culturally established pretend play, an imaginary space in which transformative processes are acted out. Turner argued that beyond rituals, anti-structural processes are necessary for all cultural creativity. In literary, post-colonial and cultural studies, the concept of liminality and Turner’s theory of anti-structure resonate with the idea of being in the borderland, on the threshold of discrete territory, identities and discourses.


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Climbing Invisible Structures started with ten two-month-long residencies hosted by the partner institutions. Four artists from Lithuania went to Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in Seydisfjordur (Iceland), Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale in Dale (Norway) and Ekely artist house of OCA in Oslo (Norway) between August and December 2015. Four Norwegian and two Icelandic artists went to Ars Communis Residency Centre YO-YO in Žeimiai (Lithuania) and Nida Art Colony in Nida (Lithuania) between August and November 2015.

A joint four-day-long seminar was organised at NAC, with all the participating artists, curators, guest speakers, Vilnius Academy of Arts students and representatives of the partner institutions in the beginning of October 2015. Residents from Norway and Iceland gave artists’ talks at the Kaunas, Klaipėda and Vilnius Faculties of Vilnius Academy of Arts.

The artists-in-residency were commissioned to produce new works, which were presented to the public in exhibitions hold in Lithuania and Norway. There were three exhibitions in Lithuania: one in underground Water Reservoir  (20 Liepkalnio Street, Vilnius) on 29 April – 15 May, 2016, one at VAA Nida Art Colony on 21 May – 19 June, 2016 and one at the Ars Communis Residency Centre YO-YO in Žeimiai on 30 July – 28 August, 2016. The final exhibition will be held at Akershus Kunstsenter in Lillestrøm (Norway) in February-March 2017.




For more information on the programme’s content, please, write to the curators: Eglė Mikalajūnė This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Samir M’kadmi This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  For more information on the practical aspects of the programme, please write to the project manager Rasa Antanaviciute This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This Vilnius Academy of Arts‘ project “Discipline Today. Residency Exchange and Exhibition” project EEE-LT07-KM-01-K-01-035 is supported by a grant through the EEA Financial Mechanism and Lithuanian State Programme LT07 “Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage”, project is also supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture.

Organiser:  VDA-NAC herbas blue EN 
Partners:  logo neu-460x191      logo skaftfell portret low res    Mail Attachment-1nkd logo
Sponsors:  LTK Originalus Logotipas anglu    kulturos-ministerija 
EEA paprastas