Rupert’s five-year-anniversary publication has three components: a physical publication, limited edition works and an online section. The online section is a supplement to the physical publication, and includes sound works, films, texts and GIFs.
Hundreds of people have been part of Rupert since 2013 when it moved into a new home in Vilnius after a year-long pilot programme. The selection in print and online is certainly not an exclusive selection; some could join this project, others could not. However, we have designed the publication in such a way that it can keep on growing and expanding as we hope Rupert will for years to come.
Below are some further details about the publication, including the director’s foreword and general introduction and acknowledgements. For more information and to acquire the publication, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rupert’s anniversary publication is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
Justina Augustytė, Monika Kalinauskaitė, Kotryna Markevičiūtė, Adomas Narkevičius, Aistis Žekevičius
Lithuanian Language Editor:
Rupert’s publication features contributions from:
Aapo Nikkanen; Abri de Swardt; Adomas Narkevičius; Alex Turgeon; Anastasia Sosunova; Anders Kreuger; Andrej Polukord; Anna Gritz and Lynn Hershman Leeson; Audrius Pocius; Augustas Serapinas, Jonas Mekas and Justė Jonutytė; CAConrad; Core.Pan; Dana Giannoglou; David Ruebain and Maria Sarycheva; Dora García; Eli Cortiñas; Elvia Wilk; Erik Martinson; Garrett Nelson; Gerda Paliušytė; GIRLISONFIRE; Giulia Civardi; Holly Childs; Indrė Šerpytytė; Jaakko Pallasvuo; Jacob Dwyer; Jacquelyn Davis; Jasmine Picôt Chapman; Johanna Kotlaris; Jonas Vaitiekūnas; Joshua Simon; Jude Crilly and Floris Schönfeld; Julie Béna; Julijonas Urbonas; Justinas Dūdėnas and Šarūnas Šlektavičius; Kaspars Groševs; Kotryna Markevičiūtė; Laure Prouvost; Laurie Kang; Leah Clements; Lina Lapelytė; Luca Vanello; Marije Gertenbach; Marjolein Van Der Loo; Martin Kohout; Maurin Dietrich; Milda Januševičiūtė; Mirosław Bałka; Monika Kalinauskaitė; Monika Lipšic; Naglis Kristijonas Zakaras Ft. Random Heroes; Nicolaus Schafhausen; Niklas Tafra and Sanna Marander; Nina Fránková; Nina Kuttler; Ona Juciūtė; Ona Lozuraitytė and Petras Išora; Pakui Hardware (Ugnius Gelguda and Neringa Černiauskaitė); Rebecca Ackroyd; Renée Mboya; Rick Dolphijn; Robertas Narkus; Romuald Demidenko with Anna Łuczak, Antoine Donzeaud, Emeline Depas, Jaanus Samma, Justyna Wierzchowiecka, Maciej Chorąży, Stefano Calligaro; Rytis Urbanskas; Santiago Taccetti; Sebastian Rozenberg; Suhail Malik; Valentinas Klimašauskas; Vytenis Burokas; Žygimantas Kudirka.
We once wandered outside into the forest and looked for materials. We gathered them together and started to build a raft. We tried to tie different things together to see what could work. At the end of the summer, we took the raft out and set out on a trip down the river. It floated! We couldn’t believe it. We took off, departing from the beach just outside Rupert. We didn’t know how far we would go, we didn’t have any plans. We floated for hours and we talked all day, slowly observing different landscapes and scenarios unfolding as we went down the river.
This trip we took with Alternative Education programme participants a few years ago was much like Rupert itself. Rupert started six years ago as an itinerant educational programme that didn’t yet have a home. The pilot programme was set up to support young Lithuanian thinkers and practitioners in early stages of their careers. Artists, curators, architects, filmmakers, political activists and basically anyone with a project idea and a desire to think and work together for a year could apply. Rupert was like a fictional character gathering participants for talks, meetings and workshops in places scattered across the city, whether a botanical garden, a daycare or a museum. Mentorship was important for this, although a young artist in the programme would not necessarily be paired with an established artist, but perhaps with a pataphysicist or a choreographer. The team, including myself, were all similar ages to the participants, so we learnt together and from each other. Every year we would think again how to adapt the programme to help participants develop their ideas and discover new approaches to their projects and practices.
Following the year-long pilot programme, Rupert established itself as a platform for international and local exchange and started to welcome residents and host exhibitions. Since then, we have for five years welcomed over 150 residents who spent at least one month in Vilnius, conducting research and implementing projects, as well as meeting local curators and artists. The influx of ideas and personalities of the residents changed the dynamic of Vilnius’ art scene. Many residents returned to Lithuania after the programme and continued the dialogue by producing exhibitions and events; some even moved to Vilnius and started their own art spaces.
When we embarked on the trip six years ago we didn’t know where it would bring us. Rupert has survived against the climate of shifting cultural funding and at times modest resources, and it has thrived on the input of everyone who has contributed their work and ideas, including participants, our team, volunteers, residents, speakers, guests, founders, policy makers and advisors. Rupert is a community which I am deeply grateful to be a part of.
INTRODUCTION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
According to www.webmd.com, the popular medical website for self-diagnosis, a five-year-old should reach certain developmental milestones. These include: being able to stand on one foot for more than nine seconds, sing some songs and, crucially, gain greater independence. At five, Rupert unfortunately cannot stand on one foot, partly because as an organisation we lack one, let alone two. And, instead of independence, we’ve acquired something a little different, greater interdependence. Should we be anxious?
No. As an organisation which includes public programmes of exhibitions, workshops and talks, an Alternative Education programme and a residency, many people, many perspectives (and many feet) have made Rupert the curious, inquisitive five-year-old it is. This hasn’t made us a self-sufficient organisation, but one that is supported by and in turn supports those who are part of who we are. Mutual support lies at the crux of interdependence: it requires contact, whereas independence demands separation. The former can be difficult, relations aren’t always smooth. But ultimately it prevents the isolation of self-satisfaction or the fear to test and fail. We know this is important for everyone. For an arts organisation like Rupert, it is fundamental.
It may seem trite to say we all need mutual support. But it requires re-stating when the current ideological climate – promoted particularly in the last three decades – values fierce independence and competition and proclaims that success can only depend on another’s failure. A state of precarity, a lack of care and a resistance to collaboration and acknowledgement drive this logic. Winning is the aim, heroes who fight power the story. There is little room for those who wander, get lost and share. Observing this tendency, novelist Ursula K. Le Guin proposed a different kind of story driven not by the voice of a single hero and (usually) his weapon, but by a carrier bag that gathers, holds and shares, putting things and people in relation to one another. If the heroic story aims for resolution and an ending, usually by killing something, the carrier bag story wants to carry on, usually by creating relations. It is a story of interdependence. And it is politically and creatively necessary.
This publication and Rupert prefer the gathering that bags enable and the relations they forge. A bag bundles and mixes up, and with so many voices associated with Rupert – from disability rights activists to poets – no one theme could have pressed their voices into editorial coherence in this publication. And nor is this publication an attempt to be a complete archive and it is certainly not an exclusive selection. Some of the hundreds of people associated with Rupert over these years could join this gathering, others could not. But unlike the binding of books, bags can keep gathering. This is why this publication has the capacity to be rearranged and added to. The logic is not the tiresome self-congratulation of looking back, but an interest in keeping going. And at five, Rupert would like to continue looking forward.
The capacity to support and be supported is something to be grateful for. Without the contributors, there’d be no publication: our thanks must go to them first and to those who in turn supported them. And then there is a huge list of friends, supporters, colleagues and organisations whom I must thank. A heartfelt thank you for the care and support of Rupert’s team, Vitalija Jasaitė, Justė Jonutytė, Kotryna Markevičiūtė, Adomas Narkevičius, Regina Vanagė, our numerous volunteers, curatorial trainees and interns, specifically Giulia Civardi, Rupert Enticknap, Melanie Henke, Maria Sarycheva and Akvilė Šlėgerytė for their advice and help; Goda Budvytytė, the designer who has given Rupert its visual identity and who provided invaluable advice on how to make a publication of this kind; Vytautas Volbekas, the talented and generous designer who not only made this publication what it is but also underscored how making something can and must be pleasurable, inspiring and convivial even when resources and time are tight; our translators, Justina Augustytė, Monika Kalinauskaitė, Kotryna Markevičiūtė, Adomas Narkevičius, Aistis Žekevičius, and Lithuanian language editor Dangė Vitkiene, who made sure that these beautiful texts can be read in Lithuanian and did so with unwavering dedication; the generosity of the publishers who let us reprint texts for wider readership, George Quasha of Station Hill Press, keen on magazine, Extra Extra magazine; the staff at the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius and in particular the CAC reading room for hosting our deliberations and conversations while making the publication; Rupert’s board of trustees who have nurtured Rupert in its development, Rūta Bilkštytė, Lolita Jablonskienė, Deividas Rafanavičius, Darius Žakaitis, Jonas Žakaitis; the Lithuanian Council for Culture without which we’d never be able to do the work we do; our valuable partner, The Lithuanian Culture Institute for their generous support; Vilnius City Municipality for supporting our activities; our event supporters, UAB Svema, UAB Grinda, KINZA, UAB Exterus; the private sponsors of the Alternative Education Programme; The Nordic Culture Point for supporting our Nordic residents; Pakrantė, Rupert’s grand home and Anna Kolodinskaite who makes it the beautiful place it is, for housing and supporting us and all our visitors; our numerous partners who have supported our residents, speakers and Alternative Education participants, Kintai Arts, the Office of the Embassy of Canada to Lithuania, The Artist Association in Joensuu, Hangar Residency, Barcelona, Vilnius Academy of Arts, The National Art Gallery and the CAC, Vilnius; and so many more named and unnamed – thank you. We hope such a list of people and organisations will continue to grow and be added to, perhaps like the pages of this publication.
Yates Norton, Editor