Mapping and Archiving Lithuanian Media Art: Regional Failures and Achievements since 2000s
How to write networked history of local contemporaneity in the media field? What could McLuhan and Manovich say about regional media art and theory practices in a globalised and at the same moment divided territories? Sitting in the small regional (Baltic countries) discourse and looking towards transmediale, Ars Electronica, ZKM and similar activities might be a weird occupation. Of course you must visit them and take part in them because you have to be networked but how to translate their practice into local environment? How does media art communicate with local artistic practices and institutional infrastructure? How to overcome local resilient traditional art practices? Teaching from 2005 in Photography and Media Art Department in Vilnius Academy of Arts and editing magazine on media culture Balsas.cc, I finally approached some kind of failure of introducing (New) Media Art discourse in Lithuania. At the same time I learned about different ways of speaking about media art to various audiences and in various contexts. The paper will present various range of activities carried out in Lithuanian media art and theory in the last decade and reflect upon them critically. The narrative will try to be objective, however it is going to be constructed through highly personalized experience: participation in various media art events (like RAM network), writing PhD thesis, discussing with students and trying to bridge the distance between the global and local media art discourse. The regional media art discourse is going to be evaluated with a special focus on artistic research and interdisciplinarity. The unfolding map is going to follow the paper with a possible transformation into a textual-visual piece which might fit into both ‘artistic’ and ‘academic’ research folders.
Vytautas Michelkevičius is a curator, activist, art and media researcher, and lecturer. In 2005-2009 Vytautas Michelkevičius was editor-in-chief of the online media culture magazine Balsas.cc which he initiated together with artists Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas.