News

2013.07.09 11:54

Vilnius celebrated Culture Night

DELFI.lt2013.07.09 11:54

The Lithuania Tribune presents the ‘Summer in Vilnius’ series of reports by our special correspondent Victoria Leigh. This time she reports on the events of the capital’s renowned Culture Night (Kulturos Naktis), a night of art, music, exploration and escapades over one vivid night in the capital. 

The Lithuania Tribune presents the ‘Summer in Vilnius’ series of reports by our special correspondent Victoria Leigh. This time she reports on the events of the capital’s renowned Culture Night (Kulturos Naktis), a night of art, music, exploration and escapades over one vivid night in the capital.

Despite the incessant downpour, Vilnius was in full swing into the early morning on Saturday 6 July as the capital simultaneously rang in the prestigious EU Presidency and King Mindaugas Coronation Day with Culture Night (Kultūros Naktis).

This unique Lithuanian one-night festival began in 2007 with 40 events in anticipation of Vilnius serving as the European Capital of Culture 2009, and in 2013, close to 200 projects presented by 400 artists from Lithuania and abroad took part, making this year’s event the biggest thus far.

Previously known as ‘Let There Be Night!’, in city centre squares, streets, parks and other most surprising  places, a variety of art projects ranging from the gorgeous to the gritty and the humble to the ostentatious, come out for public display.

There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in Europe, and from music, dance, theatre, cinema, photography and other open-air installations, there was much to marvel at and enjoy.

Pilies Street was a hive of activity with city-wide Coffee Inn cafe serving as information points about events all across the Vilnius.

The ‘Smell of Light’ installation by students of VDA Academy and made of the chain’s very own coffee-cups was suspended outside, making for an attention-grabbing environment – and photo opportunity – in which to down your caffeinated refreshment as you moved on with the hordes from one event to another.

A Spanish flavour was felt during several flamenco performances, courtesy of Students of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and directed by professor, actor and singer Brigita Bublytė in a show of interactive ‘street fiesta’, aiming to “unite the Spanish heat and Lithuanian reserve” further along Pilies.

In nearby City Hall Square, the Flamenko.lt troupe further provided a nocturnal synthesis of Spanish rhythms and dramatic, enthralling flamenco movements.

In conjunction with the Embassy of Armenia in Vilnius City Hall came ‘See You Armenian’: an exhibition of the finest art Armenia has to offer.

Arno Kur (Sasha Ghalechyanas, Armenia) chose to view the world through the kaleidoscope of Armenian graphic symbols, through which to connect art and language, and showcase a different purpose and meaning to Armenian art.

Film fans will have been enchanted with the range of cinematic delights on offer, from the Irish Embassy’s Film Shorts programme, chronicling life in the Irish Republic on Gedimino Avenue with short films encompassing the themes of ‘love and loss to hopes and dreams’.

Furthermore, UAB EIKA and Pasaka Cinema-boutique invited fans of good cinema “not to sleep and enjoy films.”

An unconventional outside space was created for a showing of 2005’s ‘Everything Is Illuminated’, and seating was placed on the roof of the multi-storey building on the EIKA Business Centre, for a fulfilling cinema session of the avant-garde kind.

More sombre stories were told at the Memorial Complex of Tuskulenai Peace Park. The chapel was open to the visitors of the memorial compound, and a solo concert of Kasparas Ulinskis took place in the manor palace, whilst documentaries detailing the massacre were shown in the open air.

There were educational tasks and the opportunity to observe the ‘Spaces of memory’ exhibition by painter Rasa Jonė Šataitė-Rudėnienė in the Conference Hall.

Kooky art district Užupis was overflowing with creative soul, as artists and performers shared their inspiration and stories throughout the night.

Along Užupio Street, an ‘Interactive Cocktail’ was presented at Užupis Art Incubator (UMI). Danielius Rusys exhibited his ‘Domestic Situation Laundry’, whilst youth association ‘StudAlliance’ prepared various works along with a presentation of the Belarus-Lithuanian film festival in association with Perpetuum Mobile. There was also an exciting show by Theatre VKube.

‘A Night in Užupis Forge’ was also not to be missed. When nocturnally roving in Vilnius at night, the Užupis Museum-Gallery of Smithery is something to wander into and try your hand at the age-old art of smithery.

Together with a raging furnace and a resident professional soot-smith, visitors were able to try their hand at smithery skills and add their handiwork to the ‘Sun’ piece forged specially for the event.

Those wishing for a more religious, spiritual feel to their journey could wander in and out of any of Vilnius’ numerous churches and cathedrals. Lighting a candle or two reminded individuals of their spiritual home away from the crowds, and the houses of worship stayed open long after their typical closing times.

Culture Night is an event for Lithuanians and non-Lithuanians alike. A night where art, culture, spirituality and history joined the whole capital together under the Baltic skies, and made for a stimulating creative odyssey into the small hours.