2017 is upon us and has already unfolded some of what 2016 had prepared for us (khemkhem…Trump). I’ve tested out the psychometrics on myself and yes, apparently, a small amount of Facebook likes tell researchers almost the same things about us as a 20 minute personality test we would have to voluntarily fill out. Hey, but this is voluntary as well? Well, no, all of this data is available to private companies and they are selling it at will. Great. That means any political power with the right amount of money can acquire information on our ethnicity, our political leanings, our psychological profile, our whereabouts and to target ads accordingly (or do anything else with it for that matter). It’s difficult to be condescending about the Chinese and their gamification of politics through one sort of compulsory app when the Western world suddenly finds itself in a Black Mirror episode of its own. And, as a demonstrator on Women’s March clearly pointed out, it sucks.
The art world is still reeling and partly because it could be argued, as it was argued before by Groys among others, that the contemporary art world is a sort of a reflection of the aesthetic preferences of the neoliberal elites. But this is not only that, lets purposefully try avoiding theoretical self-beatings now. We are also reeling because how the principles of equality which were fought for almost a century now are being dismantled in in the span of just a few days. Please please, 2017 don’t become another year of “worrying” for the future. And there’s a chance it won’t as now there are clear demarcation lines for why action is needed. And while, we’re at it, lets not forget the situationists and why we don’t need more activism.
And what do we (Rupert) have in store for 2017? We’re keeping the Reading Room sessions going, there is so much to discuss and as Lithuania is on the borderline between what has been known as the West and the East, we’ll have plenty of material to keep gathering around. The Residency Open Call is scheduled for mid February, the deadline 12 March. Meanwhile, the Alternative Education programme will look to involve emerging artists based in Lithuania in a series of talks, workshops, discussions, meetings and trips led by local and international artists, theorists, writers, curators and art professionals.
Our ambition is to engage openly with a broader audience and for that reason we’re glad to announce a series of monthly events for the first half of the year, aiming to introduce the contemporary art context. We’re excited for Jason Dodge and Ishion Hutchinson collaboration piece that’ll result in a play at Rupert this August. Lina Lapelytė is preparing a performance exhibition at Rupert and other spaces in Vilnius in Autumn. Abroad, we’re happy to announce that Rupert is curating a project in 1857, Oslo this year as well as and a group exhibition at kim?, Riga in December. See yall around and please keep yourself updated for our resident events through our website and Facebook.
We’re sure to have a fully packed year, folks.
Hold on tight and until soon,
Josh Bitelli (UK) works across film, performance and installation. While at Rupert he’ll be working on a book of songs with working title: For Amateur Voices. He’ll be researching how our voices are affected by social conditions and producing a musical score made up of hesitations, tremors and bum-notes as a resistance to vocal maturity.
Works by Merike Estna (EST) are largely invested in the processes of painting, as a way of approaching the artwork as an integral part of life rather than about life. During her residency in Rupert, Merike will be working on a set of drawings, recreation of collection of paper serviettes from Soviet times as well as researching the performance work “PostNostalgic Dining story”. Merike’s residency is supported by Nordic Culture Point.