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Fauna

Illustration by Lina DudaitÄ—

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Kaunas T. Ivanauskas Zoological Museum. Photo by Lukas Mykolaitis


The topic of the fauna in Kaunas and Lithuania as a whole has us mentioning Tadas Ivanauskas over and over again since he was one of the creators of our modern state. We’re not avoiding to speak his name, actually most Kaunasians are greeted on basically every corner by the legacy of this zoologist, writer, doctor of biology, professor, academic and member of the Lithuanian Riflemen‘s Union.

Thanks, Professor! Just look at all the evidence: December 2017 marked the 135th birthday of T. Ivanauskas, last year the Žuvintas sanctuary celebrated 80 years of operation, while this year the VMU Kaunas Botanical Garden (which he helped to found) turns 85 and the zoo is 80 years old. In 2019, the zoological museum named after him will be a hundred years old and the ornithological station at Ventės Ragas will turn 90. Obviously, it’s impossible to cover all that in a single edition, therefore we didn’t bother to, but we did focus on the wisdom of the professor: “It’s the duty of a human being to show other living creatures not only his power but also his respect. Anyone acting otherwise doesn’t deserve to be called a cultural person”. So January is all about chatting to those who’d sign their name under these wise words. We’ve met the employees of two departments of the zoological museum, then we strolled around the campus of the veterinary clinics, explored the origins and au-

thorship of the sculptures which became the symbols of Kaunas, travelled across the globe to Zimbabwe and fantasised about what the myth of Kaunas is starting to turn into. As a hunter, T. Ivanauskas once stated that “there shouldn’t be any spare animals in nature”. Certainly, many things have changed since the beginning of the 20th century – both in science and animal rights, also in terms of the very understanding what’s right and wrong when it comes to coexisting with animals. Similar thoughts might be provoked when looking at the furry and sweet shelves of Merkurijus this time, where we introduce four friends of people who might soon end up with new families, taking a trip to a café or a gallery in Kaunas. Yes, we’ve marked the animal-friendly spots inside the events calendar. Anyway, in quite a symbolic manner, we’d like to wish you a great Year of the Yellow Dog. 2018

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Forever together By Gunars Bakšejevs Photos by Lukas Mykolaitis

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When the Kaunas Biennial – which focused on the purpose and future of monuments – was over, the city welcomed two new statues and agreed on having a Vytis [the figure in the Lithuanian coat of arms] in 2018, so we decided to take a peek at different sculptures. Those sculptures that could barely prompt any political battles yet still require our attention since they need to be tamed.

The Biržai folk

It‘s no secret that the pair of lions guarding the war museum came to Kaunas during the Interwar years from Biržai, where both lions used to protect the Tiškevičiai manor. A few generations of Kaunasians took photos with these lions, which were originally born in St Petersburg in the 1850s, and the Astravas manor keeps the concrete copies of them.

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The highlanders

Sculptor Vincas Grybas is one of the most famous students of the Kaunas Art School that was established in Žaliakalnis, 1922. It was him who made a bunch of owls from concrete mixed with Nemunas sand. These owls became symbols of the school, the hill and the city too, leaving the fence of the current J. Vienožinskis school for a short period of time in 2017 so that they could be renovated for the first time. By the way, February 16th will see a historic drama “Pelėdų kalnas” [“Owls hill”] directed by Audrius Juzėnas who’s also behind “Vilnius Ghetto” and “The Excursionist”.

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Guardians of sleep

Interestingly, sculptor Vytautas Narutis (born 1957) created „Katinas“ [“Cat”] in Klaipeda, 1983, before ever working on “Šunys” [“Dogs”], a functional work of art that landed in the Kaunas Town Hall square in 1987. The legend says that these canine guardians were protecting the sleep of emperor Napoleon who stayed in the Old Town.

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The stallion of Vytis

This sculpture in the garden of the veterinary academy (as if it was meant to be here) is entwined in a detective story. Originally, the stallion was first seen on the highway of Radvilėnai in 1939; the author of it is Jurgis Rutkauskas (1907-1998), a soldier and warrant officer of the Jonušas Radvila regiment, student of artist Juozas Zikaras. The sculpture was named “The stallion of Vytis” by the commander of the regiment, and a few decades later Viktoras Šarkūnas (1926-2015) – professor at the veterinary academy – saw whatever was left from the art piece in Žaliakalnis. The rest is history…

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The Lithuanian zoo has a lifelong tradition to host griffon vultures – these birds have been living in Kaunas for the whole existence of the institution founded by Tadas Ivanauskas, so for almost 85 years. They were among the first animals to greet the visitors during the opening on July 1st in 1938. The monument for this rare visitor to Lithuania – the largest predatory bird here – was presented to the public in 1998, when the zoo was celebrating its 65th birthday. Its author is Juozas Šlivinskas who’s also created many great monuments for Lithuanian aviators and freedom fighters.

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The light-grey veteran

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The final work that started everything

Sculptor Dalia Matulaitė’s final work while finishing the art institute in 1969 was titled “Stumbras” [“Bison”]. Interestingly, the sculpture was brought to Ąžuolynas only a decade later, so this Kaunasian beast is not even forty! D. Matulaitė continued to seek inspiration in heraldry, history and legends. 2013 saw a monument she created for Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, the King of Poland, and his wife, queen Jadvyga de Anjou being presented in Budapest.

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Upon visiting the zoology museum of Tadas Ivanauskas, I’ve learned a few interesting facts – for instance, did you know that there’s a room in here with 194,477 insects inside spectacular cupboards? Or that 2011-2013 saw national taxidermy contests take place in Krekenava, with the mentioned museum getting most of the prizes? Have you also heard that there’s a label written by T. Ivanauskas himself on the paw of an old crocodile mount here? We talked about this exotic place and the art of taxidermy with the team of the production and restauration department: director Vilius Bručas, senior artist Valdonė Bručienė and craftsman Valentinas Juška. Our conversation began with a glance at a greyish Komodo dragon being restored on a desk, lying amongst other stuffed critters:

A mammoth’s taxidermy By Julija Račiūnaitė Photos by Lukas Mykolaitis

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Vilius Bručas (V. B.): This is a Komodo dragon. Valentinas, how old is it? Valentinas Juška (V. J.): 30 years old. Back then the exhibits were stuffed with straw and clay. And sawdust. What do you use now? V. J.: We have a special material for stuffing, however we ship forms of the animals from across the pond as well. The fur is then put on these forms, which come in two or three sizes and are very light, easy to pick up and transport. Additionally, such American figures are of high quality – even the smallest tendon of the animal is visible. Whereas this thingy [points to an old mount of a deer] can barely be lifted up by two people; it has gypsum inside, and we don’t know how old it is as it came here with other exhibits from the Jesuit gymnasium some time ago. Do you have “archives” of taxidermies? V. B.: Sure – anything from fish or insects to mammals. Heads of different departments would probably give you detailed information about compiling the collections since the three of us are more like “the artists” of the museum.

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Which mount was the hardest to make? V. J.: Well, eight years ago I worked on the largest taxidermy we ever had at this museum – the white rhino. A dead animal was brought here from the Kaunas zoo, it weighted up to three tons, with a skin that’s five centimetres thick, while the whole area of the skin was 12 square metres. We spent a year and a half with this. Also, back in St. Petersburg, I had the pleasure to work on a mount of a mammoth – the skin was three centimetres thick and the shag was very long. This “little” baby mammoth was prepared while using paraffin to replace the water in the tissue. In order to stiffen the paraffin, the whole taxidermy had to be put into an airless freezer. That was a complex process overall. Which ones are the easiest to work on? V. J.: Birds. By the way, a chicken from the 19th century is our museum’s oldest exhibit – it belonged to the father of Tadas Ivanauskas. However, birds are not that easy as well since there are a lot of problems with removing all of the fat from their feathers. V. B.: Right now we’re working on a very greasy swan: the skin is already


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prepared and chemically reworked, but there’s still some fat left, and it means that moths and other small creatures will attack the mount. On the other hand, some procedures became easier with time, like sticking the skin to the forms using this mass [points to a bucket] – it’s originally created for gluing tiles; we learned about this idea when one of our employees came back from Africa. Do you get to make mounts not only for this museum? V. B.: We’re preparing a seal for the nautical museum, but our department typically works with the exhibits only for this zoology museum. Where are the glass eyes of the animals made? V. B.: Let’s have a look [pun not intended] here. We get the eyes from different providers. [opens up a drawer with many glass eyes, let’s us hold them] The best ones come from the USA, while Latvians are quite advanced in making them if we’re

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talking about neighbouring countries. Just compare the glass ones of an antelope made in America with the plastic ones from Belarus. American-made eyes make the animal look beautiful. Some smaller ones like the eyes of fish are made here by us from organic glass, we then paint them ourselves as it’s cheaper this way. Tell us about the specifics of stuffing fish. V. B.: That’s a complicated affair as you need to know the chemistry and be tremendously careful with the scales, otherwise it will all come apart. You can’t stuff fish like salmon, so we need to make casts in such cases. Another difficult example would be the blacktip shark that died in the aquarium of the Mega shopping mall – the surface of it is like sandpaper and so your hands hurt, they become red and painful to work with after a single day of preparing the taxidermy since you can’t have gloves on. Also, stuffed fish tend to change their colour


with time, therefore we need to constantly repaint them and give back their original ornaments to them with paintbrushes or aerographs. We have the so-called “sea bottom” in the museum, with all the plants and fish painted by hand. Every single scale. Did you study painting? V. B.: I was into it many years ago, perhaps that’s why using the paint comes easier to me. I graduated from the former technical school of Stepas Žukas as a woodworker. Who’s in charge of frescoes and landscapes in the backgrounds of dioramas? Or do taxidermists themselves create those? V. B.: Yes, our department does that, but we used to have a painter – Jonas Valeika – who also graduated from the same technical school. Valdonė Bručienė (V. Br.): That’s right, and he was a naturalist: it was as if you were seeing nature live whilst looking at his works. J. Valeika is the author of most paintings on dioramas here, while others were made by taxidermists or students. What do you do with an exhibition piece that has lost its colour, and you don’t know exactly how it looked originally? V. Br.: Now, we use the Internet. 39 years ago, when I started working, I was usually given an old fish in need of repainting and people would just describe how it used to look. I painted it while listening to that story. Sometimes I’d get an illustration, but photos were a rarity.

How were the scenes in the dioramas, the expressions of the animals, the movements created? V. J.: In 1981, when the annex of the museum was being built, this place had a very solid team of taxidermists who worked like elite professional sculptors. The mounts were truly expressive, they imitated realistic moves. Clay figures had casts made from them, and then the skin was put on. Back then all taxidermies were created after buying the skeleton and putting it all together like a puzzle, then we’d put a net on it with clay on top of the net. I remember us being happy about finishing a figure of an aurochs which we worked on for months. The next morning, we saw that the belly of the animal had dropped to the ground during the night. What other memorable experiences did you have here? V. J.: Once we had to transport a taxidermy of a rhino via the Laisvės avenue. The police accompanied us while we were all walking behind the mount. All this looked like a weird funeral procession – journalists were taking pictures and the passers-by were somewhat horrified. Is the permanent exposition at the T. Ivanauskas museum changing? V. Br.: Yes, new exhibits are added constantly, and older ones are often replaced by more qualitative versions.

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Where did you learn the art of taxidermy? V. B.: I learned the simple way. Here’s the first pike fish I stuffed – after starting to work here, I went to the Urmas trading centre, bought it, downloaded a two-hour video instruction on how to make it all happen and simply tried to do it myself while watching that clip. Four pikes later I got the gist of it. But you can learn the secrets of taxidermy only by working for years and years.

Are foreign tourists interested in this collection? V. B.: Very interested. I actually started as a security guard here, and I recall people thanking us after seeing the exposition. This is really an exceptional museum that includes many exhibits with a lot of clear and detailed information about them. The place turns 100 in 2019, almost like our country’s independence. Are you planning to present a special piece for the centennial celebration? V. Br.: Hmm. Maybe a halibut [a Norwegian fish]. A centennial halibut that weights up to 200 kg! What’s the most expensive thing when creating a taxidermy? V. J.: The love for this type of work. It’s priceless.

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How do the animals end up at the museum? V. B.: We mainly get them from the Kaunas zoo. For instance, the big python, the giraffe and Casper (a white bear) came from that zoo, while the behemoth [shows a photograph] was a circus performer – we restored it recently. As you can see, the teeth were removed for the performances so that the audience wouldn’t be scared of the animal. We gave the teeth back when making the mount.

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The first talks of a highereducation veterinary school in Lithuania could be heard exactly a hundred years ago, when there was a high demand for such specialists after the war. 1922 saw a veterinary department being founded at Vilnius University’s faculty of medicine, however it was closed six years later and around 50 students had to continue their studies abroad.

They don’t lie By Kotryna Lingienė and Kęstutis Lingys Photos by Dainius Ščiuka

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In 1936, 25 new students of the veterinary academy were publicly congratulated at the veterinarian and bacteriology institute. Its it’s this year that marks the 80th birthday of the clinic. That was when the whole campus of the academy was established in Vilijampolė – it’s part of the cultural heritage list today, charming both the students and cinematographers with its functional modernist authenticity. Lithuania’s only horse osteopath agreed to talk to us at the clinic for larger animals. Giedrė Vokietytė graduated from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in 2013, since in 2010 the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy was merged with the Kaunas Medical University: “What changed, you ask? Well, we have several new modern buildings in the campus now, and I believe we’re more respected. At first we weren’t big fans of the merger, however that’s a typical practice around the world and it’s also very beneficial especially due to a joint administration”. That was the last time we’ve mentioned administrational affairs – our conversation ended up being all about horses and other animals, mostly focusing on Jazz, an elegant black stallion whose real name is FBI and who agreed to take part in the photo shoot with his doctor. “Jazz is the largest beauty in the clinic at the time, but we treat many different patients. We’re a hospital, not a stud farm after all – sometimes it’s hard to even imagine how terrible the living conditions are for some animals, and it’s truly hard to see these beasts in pain”, Giedrė tells us. She’s already giving lectures to her future colleagues, however she’s not after a

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doctoral degree herself yet: “I just like spending time with animals, taking care of them, whereas doctoral studies would mean I’d have to spend more time on research and publishing articles instead of working at the hospital”. Giedrė especially likes to keep in touch with the patients that were once severely injured – their owners send her photos and give the best regards from the animals. A horse rider during her teenage years, this doctor chose her profession because she hoped she’d work less with people and more with animals who are pure and noble: “But the reality is that I have to spend most of the time with the owner, convincing him or her that this horse won’t be able to race again or do other things it was bought for”. One of the aims of Giedrė as an osteopath is helping the animals avoid surgeries. “Just like human athletes, horses require massages, magnets and other therapies – I’m glad Lithuanian owners are respecting our recommendations”. By the way, Giedrė says that horses weren’t meant to be jumping over obstacles – from an anatomical point of view, dogs are way better at it. Most patients in the clinic for larger animals are horses and cows, sometimes a goat comes by, a sheep or an alpaca. Probably the most exotic visitor in recent times was a camel who was actually a resident of the Kaunas zoo. Giedrė and her colleagues have to take work trips around Lithuanian and abroad too. As mentioned before, Giedrė is the only representative of her specialisation in Lithuania: “I was inspired by specialists who came to Lithuania, and the academy invested in


By the way, there are some funny stories about “inter-clinic” travels, for instance, when a small goat is brought to Dr Leonas Kriaučeliūnas’ clinic for small animals, and a large dog shows up on the doorstep of Giedrė. “But our dog is so big!”, the owners usually reply while being escorted to the other building. Is there really such a thing as horse whispering? Can it be a legitimate method a doctor uses? “Animals react to the tone of our voice, arm movements, emotions – you can’t try to dominate them or approach them in a sudden manner”. Giedrė says we’re not that different from them since we’re mammals too, but… animals don’t lie.

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my dream – I’m forever thankful for that”. The osteopath adds that this is a much more difficult and energy-requiring work than, for example, treating smaller animals. Thankfully, there are already some followers of her work at the academy who understand the need of keeping such beasts healthy. “Of course, most students choose to work with small animals, perhaps due to the fact that fewer people are afraid of them, even though I myself am afraid of tiny dogs,” our Panevėžys-born guide laughs while giving us a tour of the academy. She’d like to keep a huge dog and a horse, but both of these pets would require a lot of time which she doesn’t have nowadays: “I’d advise anyone thinking about owning a larger animal to really think about the responsibility that comes with it”.

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We caught up with Rytis Zemkauskas on Laisvės Alėja just before Christmas, and he still had a trip to Krakow planned before the holidays. In Poland, the initiator of the Kaunas 2022 myth will be checking on how the Krakowian dragon Smok Wawelski – brother of the Kaunas Beast Rytis is about to introduce – is doing. Yes, Kaunas will have the Beast of its own in 2022, yet what’s the shape and purpose of it? And just what do imaginary beasts have in common with culture?

Unstaged Beast of Kaunas By Kotryna Lingienė Illustration by Anderzak

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English so that our story would be understandable to anyone. We’ll have the main story and other tales can coexist next to it. I’ll propose creating legends, stories of your neighbourhood, your inner city, your back yard, town in the Kaunas district… These stories don’t have to be about the olden times! They can be about the golden times of today. I keep hearing tales of Cicinas [a Lithuanian Tom Jones or even maybe Liberace] and his gigs in the suburbia and his adventures there. These are the new legends, so why not write them down? It’s interesting.

Will this be his unique integration into the culture capital project? Maybe the first integration of his life? He won’t even know of it! If he did, he’d probably get cross with us.

Does it matter whether they’re based on truth? No, it doesn’t. We daydream and we’re open about it. When we’re doing something realistic in the frame of Kaunas 2022, we make sure it is adequately marked. Our suggestion is to separate reality from fantasy. I believe Kaunas always lacked a bit of imagination, and we want to revive it. This city has everything it needs; all we have to do is use our imagination to construct a more comfortable reality than we could imagine earlier. If you can imagine it, you can create it, or as they say – fake it till you make it!

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Rytis, the website of the Kaunas Beast will be open in January, right? Will everything be clear by then? I’ve heard talks that the site is being illustrated marvellously. That’s right, it’s almost ready. Anderzak, a somewhat legendary Kaunasian artist, is in charge of the illustrations. He doesn’t give out interviews, doesn’t appear on the streets – he might even be one of the prototypes of the characters in these beast tales. Perhaps he’s the Beast himself, lurking in the nooks of Kaunas.

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What role will the mentioned website play in the lives of modern Kaunasians? I want it to become a platform for us all to create stories. The main story, the post-modern legend. Or is it a myth? I am deliberately mixing things up – I want there to be many available genres. This will be the story of Kaunas. I’d like for people to join in, read, have an idea, and eventually click the “Go write, I’m waiting” button. So… it’s like the Facebook of literature? A literature Facebook for Kaunas, absolutely. That’s the goal. Of course, we’d like anyone from all corners of the world to take part – we’ll do our best to translate everything into

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You’ve mentioned the English language. Will the people be able to write the legend in Polish, Yiddish or other languages that were popular in Kaunas before? Not a problem, as long as there’s a will to write. For instance, Abraham Mapu wrote the pieces which were


truly important for Jewish people in Hebrew, but he did it in Kaunas. Therefore, he’s our writer as well. The cultures are different yet they intertwine in this city – Kaunas is a body to host all these traditions.

fidence, understanding that Kaunas and all of its people are a symbolic lair of this Beast. By the way, Anderzak sees Kaunas as the body of the Beast – we’re all part of it, wrapped around the two rivers’ confluence.

Let’s jump to 2022. The legend is done; the story is finished. Then what? A book, a movie? I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. I mustn’t know! I’d disturb others with my knowing, stating the requirements and staging reality. Why should I do that? Let’s see where the process brings us to. We can fail: maybe there won’t be enough interested people, perhaps we’ll get bored or the idea might turn out to be unfitting. Many things can happen, but that’s certainly not a solid reason to do nothing.

One small thing is still unclear – it’s the origin of the Kaunasian legend of the aurochs, the aurochs turning into a bison and then back to being an aurochs again… Could we solve this problem by using our imagination? And do we need to fantasise here at all? You know, both of these beasts have been named symbols of Kaunas for the same reason the dragon could become a symbol too: someone just wanted this to happen and it happened. As I see it, a dragon is a much more suitable symbol as it’s already mythological, sexier, more European than a bison, it possesses secrecy, danger and other elements that neither an aurochs nor a bison could handle. Surely, those beasts won’t go anywhere – we just want to enrich the stories, not deny or eradicate them.

In 2009, when Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, a project called Haiku for Vilnius was taking place. Everyone was encouraged to write haikus; the poetry was even put on outside ad stands, poster cards were being published along with a book. Could we spot some parallels of collective literature here? Yes, and we hope that we’ll end up with enough good content for publishing. The platform of the myth – as a part of the Kaunas 2022 project – was essentially created to serve other platforms, serve a communicative vehicle. This platform is dedicated to all audiences: a kid can draw a dragon, whereas an adult can see it as a metaphor for the community, as metaphor of security or self-con-

And on the subject of the legend of the aurochs, it’s a fairly poor tale: contradicting itself in many ways, lacking a love story, not to mention the lack of almost-mandatory factor of transcendence. I actually have no idea why this not-too-sharp specimen of a grass eater ended up on our city’s coat of arms. Ready on not but we don’t have a legend that could inspire us, folks.

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What if we put legends aside for a moment and talk of the Kaunas animals in general? We have some stories here – the zoo, the museum… Right, all that thanks to Tadas Ivanauskas. He was an exceptional personality and he introduced exotic and endemic animals to the Interwar Kaunas by establishing a zoo and a zoology museum. He used to go to South America to capture snakes himself and bring them here.

Nonsense. Just look at all these discrepancies – we can do better.

Can this personality inspire a myth? Of course! He’s the Lithuanian Indiana Jones, the real deal, the adventurer. He even dressed similar to the character portrayed by Harrison Ford. Someone should create a documentary about T. Ivanauskas’ trip to Brazil.

How did you react when this summer, almost at the same time, a mystical water creature Kekto became part of Kaunas 2022, with his tentacle being painted on the Kaunas Painting Gallery? I remember the authors being worried after hearing that there’s already a plan for a Beast of Kaunas, and that they might not get the permission to paint. I instantly said that we need to include Kekto in our story. Why would anyone prevent them from painting it? They’re creators of Kaunas. We all create this body of Kaunas, and we imagine what we like to imagine. The most important thing is that we don’t know how it all might end.

Have you heard anything about the endemic species of animals in the region of Kaunas? I have. I’ve read a thesis on molluscs that live in the river Nemunas and the Kaunas Lagoon. I’m not so sure about the details or whether it’s a Kaunasian species or not, but people do look for them and there they are! We don’t even think about those molluscs since we’re waiting for some bison to appear so that we could call it King of the Woods. And who in his sound mind could call a bison King of the Woods knowing that there were plenty of huge bears in the Lithuanian woods back then? And why for God’s sake the bison must have the Christian crucifix on its forehead while being inside a pagan story?

I’m avoiding describing the Beast or what the form of the story should be – I do not plan to become “the one who did it”. Quite the opposite – I suggest people read stories/legends/ myths of various countries and walk more around Kaunas during the day or the night. Go to places you haven’t been before – someone lives there. Listen. That’s how the love for Kaunas is born. Realising for instance that for three months of the year one side of the Laisvės Alėja doesn’t get any sun allows you to start appreciating all the things in the shadows. I have this theory that a city comes truly alive when a mythological creature settles in for good. The Beast has to be born, it shouldn’t be created by some particular person.

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There won’t be a need for a monument then since there isn’t a concrete image? We need to end these monument discussions, unless someone would create an underwater one – we have high and low tides, which are, by the way, controlled by Kekto. And if he’d lower the water levels, maybe we’d see a tail sticking out? Anyway, we’re not planning to build anything. Monuments should be internal, and we need to take care of the economy. Is the mechanism of monetising the Beast already clear? I hope we’ll succeed in selling T-shirts, key chains and all that to tourists – everything we’re working on is constructing an idea that could have a positive economic impact. Otherwise it’s all for nothing. We need to think about surviving and making money for the city. One of the main aims of the culture capital project is to make sure that all that money invested in culture will bring economic benefits as well – we’re

more sophisticated than we were before, so there’s a bigger chance that we’ll live a richer life. Personally, this link is more than obvious to me. Spending money on fireworks is the same thing as throwing them away – what will we be eating later? The legacy, the heritage is everything. In this sense, Kaunas 2022 is an educational project that’s about all of us growing up. Finally, a technical question. How will you reach those who don’t use the Internet on a daily basis? How can they join in to create the myth? Our platforms for communities, the youth, people of Kaunas district are already up and running – they’re based on direct contact with the residents. We’re writing the stories down, but so far we’re doing it for another project initiated by the Netherlands. Anyway, it’s not our goal to get EVERYONE on board. Those who want to join us, join us – it’s a voluntary affair. We can’t ask for stories and we can’t force anyone. Let’s leave the right to distance yourself from the culture capital, let people criticize and even hate it and be open about it. Discussion is key to ensure balance, and we’re all different – if we completely agree about being different, we’re going to agree upfront on disagreeing. And that’s something! So far no such luck – we’re ready to fight each other to the death. But that’s a very primitive existence.

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There’s also the term “awaken the beast within yourself”. Could that be a personal wish for every Kaunasian? It could. This will basically be the core of the programme in 2022 – we’ll be waking that Beast up. It will show up in summer, eventually we’ll enter into a continuous contract with it. The city will wake up. A child would probably draw the Beast hugging Kaunas and protecting the city from evil. I personally see it as the first and last resident.

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We’ve interpreted the term “Kaunasian” in many ways in the past, from talking to people who grew up in Kaunas but are now residing far away to those who came here for longer periods of time since they have links to Kaunasian culture or the people living here. This hero is an exceptional one, and he loves his vibrant life in Kaišiadorys district, where he spends his summers, taking a trip south when the weather turns colder. He travels by air, avoiding flying over open waters. Allow us to introduce a lesser spotted eagle named Kaunas. His wife Metida too, and Nemunas as well, possibly a distant relative.

New Year’s Eve in Zimbabwe By Kotryna Lingienė and Kęstutis Lingys Photos by Vytautas Knyva and Kęstutis Lingys

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Unfortunately, we couldn’t meet them eye-to-eye since these birds celebrated New Year’s Eve in Zimbabwe or perhaps Zambia after making a 10,000 km-long journey. Their route was attentively monitored by ornithologists, two of which are the godfathers of this eagle trio and the initiators of the project “Paukščiai – Lietuvos ambasadoriai” [“Birds – Lithuanian ambassadors”], Saulius Rumbutis and Deivis Dementavičius. We talked to them in their office at the Kaunas Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum, which the eagle Kaunas was named in respect of. Metida was named after a law agency Žabolienė & Partners METIDA, while Nemunas got his name because he was ringed close to the Nemunas delta. “We’re ringing birds in Lithuania for many decades, that’s how they become ambassadors of our country. In time for the centennial celebrations, we also wanted to raise awareness about bird protection in Lithuania,” S. Rumbutis – who has over 40 years of experience in this field – tells us how the idea of the mentioned project came about. Most people know the ornithological station of Ventės Ragas, established in 1929 following the initiative of professor Tadas Ivanauskas. 80,000100,000 birds get ringed here each year, but these are migrants. “Lithuanian birds” have to be ringed where

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they nest and hatch, and that’s a process requiring a lot of time, complex knowledge and attention. That’s why not many professionals can do it, hence the lower numbers of ringed birds. By the way, only around 2 % of the metal rings provide the needed information, usually when the birds are caught or found dead: “Even if we ring hundreds of birds, we get a relatively small amount of information on their migration routes or what they eat, where they spend their winters and so forth. There are lots of questions, and every species is valuable from a scientific perspective”. Larger birds have special coloured rings with bigger digits, easy to identify with a telephoto lens, telescope or good binoculars. Up to 20 % of these give ornithologists the needed information. Kaunas, Metida and Nemunas all have GPS trackers powered with solar batteries – these are put on the birds’ backs and are sending the data in real time. Obviously, this is far from cheap: one tracker costs around €1,200, that’s why we have only three “accredited” birds instead of a hundred. You also have to pay for the connection to transfer the data and the logistics. “In other countries, telecommunication companies usually become partners/sponsors of such projects like ours,” S. Rumbutis notes. He’s glad that the Facebook page of this initiative is getting more and more


attention – some interested readers even donate money for the project. “We, as employees of the museum, specialise in the monitoring and protection of rarer predatory birds, that’s what we want the society to know more about,” S. Rumbutis gives the reasons why these lesser spotted eagles were chosen for the project. He and his colleague D. Dementavičius “know” hundreds of birds like that in Lithuania, so our question is how are these eagles similar to Lithuanians? “Well, they’re stable and steady. Much like Lithuanian emigrants, these birds travel great distances yet they feel the longing for their homeland. If they survive, they come back to the same exact spots and nest with the same partners. Affectionate, sedentary – just like us. Peaceful up to a point: if two males hatch, the older one shoves the youngster away from food, even attacks him, so it’s rare for two males to grow up together. A Lithuanian can also fight his brother for land, so we’re not that far off,” S. Rumbutis laughs. “If we’re talking about Lithuanian birds overall, we’d have to mention the white stork, black stork and these lesser spotted eagles. Lithuania is a small country, and around 15 % of the world’s population of these three species live here since the conditions are almost perfect: many locations are damp and full of amphibians, small rodents”. Interestingly, the lesser spotted eagles look for similar

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conditions in Africa and prey on the calorific and easy-to-catch locusts there, even following their colonies. Let’s get to know Kaunas, Metida and Nemunas, who went to Africa in September and are expected to return home in April. S. Rumbutis explains: “We’ve caught the couple next to their nest in Kaišiadoriai district; they had quite a big youngling together and were protecting it from predators. We brought a taxidermy of a white-tailed eagle and we played a recording of its voice – this made the couple attack the bate. That’s

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how we captured them, measured, weighted them, put the trackers on them and let them roam free”. The fact that we’ve successfully caught and ringed two partners is an uncommon achievement. Usually it’s only the males that protect the nest, so the females stay behind and therefore aren’t ringed. Nemunas is an exceptional bird, a hybrid of the lesser spotted and the greater spotted eagle. The latter bird is a rare one so it’s difficult for it to find a partner. Both these species


D. Dementavičius admits that there’s a certain risk of putting such rings on birds – let’s say a bird might stumble upon something because of the ring and experience physical trauma, but that’s an extremely rare incident. Essentially, the rings don’t have any influence on the eagle’s survival: “Lithuania’s oldest ringed white-tailed eagle is 19.5 years old”. Initiators of the project tell us they’d be very interested to see for themselves how these predatory ambassadors – and their future generations – are doing in Africa, however that depends entirely on the budget. Some time ago, when the trackers were even more expensive, Estonian colleagues used to follow the birds not only for the scientific purpose

but also to retrieve the tracker if the bird would die. The statistics, unfortunately, aren’t that glamorous: around 70-80 % of lesser spotted eagles don’t make their initial trip. In 2017, these two ornithologists have ringed 149 birds – black storks, white-tailed eagles, lesser spotted eagles, red and black kites, ospreys. One ringed member of the ambassador squad – the black stork – was photographed in Hungary in September. So far, apart from the GPS tracker data, there’s not much else we can hear of the “accredited” trio – Kaunas, Nemunas and Metida. But the centennial project has just started: “We put a tracker on another hybrid eagle like Nemunas in 2015, and Spanish ornithologists were very interested in it – they took pictures of the bird and sent them to us”. S. Rumbutis and D. Dementavičius note that the attention in foreign press would be great for their cause. They’re not after the first pages of Zimbabwean newspapers since monitoring the birds basically ends in Israel: “We have some photos of our birds there – German scientists stay close to the fishery ponds that Lithuanian black storks stop to visit”. Photographers love white-tailed eagles which don’t usually travel a lot of miles – their pictures are sent to Lithuania from Hungary, Poland or Germany.

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are genetically close to each other and their offspring are fertile – that doesn’t happen often in nature. The migration routes of these two species differ: greater spotted eagles travel close to the edge of Western Europe through the Strait of Gibraltar (or stay in Spain for the winter), whereas the lesser spotted ones pass Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey and Israel on their way to Africa. “Nemunas took the greater spotted eagle’s route first but later changed to the one of a lesser spotted eagle,” S. Rumbutis says while showing the data of the tracker on a computer screen.

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Today’s changes of public spaces in our cities are the subject of more and more intense opinion fights. Keeping in mind that Lithuania is a country where the citizens have been able to express their takes on such matters freely for not even full three decades, this diversity of opinions is actually something to be proud of.

Public space discussions in the second capital By Paulius Tautvydas Laurinaitis

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A celebration in the Vileišis square, 1929 © Vytautas the Great War Museum

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Santaka square as proposed in the plan of Kaunas by P. M. Frandsen and A. Jokimas, 1923

“Back then”, all talks took place behind closed doors despite some uncensored polemics being printed in the press. However, any kind of critique or even expert statements were hidden under euphemisms like “recurring obstacles”. But what was the situation in the factual capital of Lithuania – Kaunas? Public spaces weren’t being developed pretty consistently here, and this was due to the lack of funds and professional urban planners rather than it all being echoes of the authoritarian regime. There was a lot of negative feedback in the media, and even the administrative level of experts saw fierce discussions about specific issues continuing for as much as several years. The second capital needed a representative space which simply had to be somewhere else than the Town

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Hall square. Even though the latter square had a representative function since the 19th century (when the market was moved out of there), the size of it as well as the ties to the local government at the time, also the aesthetics of it was just all wrong. The Town Hall square of the 1920s reflected the situation of postTsar Kaunas perfectly: balls of dust were flying around during the dry period of the year; goats were just strolling around among people. Later the square was tidied up, however the sculpture of Motiejus Valančius which Vaižgantas proposed wasn’t placed here right up until 1940. The Unity square was important for two factors: it was a public space that was already included in the Tsar’s city plan with an active horse market; a war museum was established in 1921 at the Russian army’s


infantry building and the former Orthodox church. 1922 witnessed the first architectural competition of independent Lithuania – it was organised to design a layout for this very square. It was these specific requirements of the contest that had a line about the Unity square having to form a consistent joint space with the war museum’s garden, which later determined the future of the whole neighbourhood. The reconstruction of this square reflected the architectural tendencies of the 1920s: squares were simply being jammed full of plants without looking for more advanced solutions. These processes were critiqued by many intelligent residents for the lack of logic in using the areas. People would often note that too much attention was given to the vegetation without actually taking care of elementary cleanness – by the mid-

dle of the 1920s, the Independence square was basically a scrapyard. Things got better by 1926, when the economic state of the whole country improved and residents started appreciating aesthetics more. At first, the role of the Unity square was aimed to be a temporary one. Architect Antanas Jokimas, co-author of the new city plan, decided to establish the main space of the country at the confluence, justifying this move by highlighting the importance of this location and the links it has with many crucial historic events of Kaunas. Monumental buildings and sculptures – which were supposed to radiate statehood – were being planned to be built around the circle-shaped square. Unfortunately, that would cost a lot since the confluence had to be protected from the frequent flooding. When the deci-

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sion to build the museum complex in the old location was finally made, the role of the Unity square had to remain central for generations to come.

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The first Ąžuolynas [Oak Grove Park] project that started in 1935 was widely attacked for possessing the wrong priorities and an unfitting arrangement of infrastructure. For example, a known forester J. Kuprionis criticised the idea of establishing a park before actually taking care of the drainage system – he said that even a children’s playground would be constructed on a quagmire. J. Kuprionis also pointed out “the unnatural web of paths” in the park, which actually included special roads for horse riding. Apparently, all these negative comments were true – the park wasn’t popular duo to the reconstruction, and a few years later the paths were already overgrown. A new project had to be created. The partially-implemented second project of 1938 proposed a more rational yet also a much more natural layout of the park. Mickevičius valley was one of the most loved resting spots in Interwar Kaunas, and the expressive surroundings contrasted beautifully with the plains of Ąžuolynas. So it’s no surprise that the idea to give part of the valley to the zoo was questioned a lot in the press and during the sessions of city government too. The main argument against giving it to the zoo company – which was being founded at the moment – was the smell of this menagerie and a relatively small, non-viable area for expansion. Before renting part of the

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valley to the zoo for 36 years in 1938, the main requirements for the deal were designing cages that wouldn’t disrupt the aesthetic character of the valley and would add some value to the park, also a contract about controlling the bad smells needed to be signed. The municipality didn’t have a lot of free land, so public spaces were considered whenever a new building of public nature had to be constructed. Ąžuolynas was the unluckiest neighbourhood in this sense: the natural bond with Vytautas park was ended by the Physical Education Chamber complex – the people didn’t like making the park smaller at all. While deciding on the location of the new clinics complex, the most realistic candidates were Petras Vileišis square and Parodos square (now Mažasis Ąžuolynas around the public library). Some member of the city council even suggested using Vytautas park for this, not just for the central location but also for the marvellous space that’s good for health. Interestingly, the spot where the clinics finally ended up at was seen as the least likely option. Petras Vileišis and Parodos squares were both considered as realistic choices for the new city hall. However, this time people who had fewer public space-harming ideas prevailed: the building was supposed to be built in the former port neighbourhood (close to the current Circle K gas station), establishing a vast public park on the coastline blocks. A permanent decision about the Petras Vileišis square still wasn’t made – some members of the coun-


A caricature depicting the search for a new location for the Town Hall. Kuntaplis, 1938.12.04, page 1

cil saw it as the main resting zone of Žaliakalnis, others wanted a simple park while the rest proposed erecting a sport complex. Of course, representatives of national defence wished for the space to remain open to military parades or training. There was no systematic take on monuments too – for instance, talks about the location of the Darius and Girėnas monument went on for years. The square of the railway station was proposed, but the initiators stated that “this square is a symbol of old communication (railroads) and it wouldn’t go well with a symbol of modern communication (monument)”. A survey was even published in the local press, and everyone could give their answer to the problem. Eventually, the

L. Sapiegos street was selected, but since this decision was criticised as well, Ąžuolynas was chosen instead. A much more systematic period should’ve started in 1938, when Jonas Kova-Kovalskis started working at the construction department of the city government – he took a more methodical approach on urban planning and had a clearer vision of the development of Kaunas. Even though almost all of his ideas weren’t implemented, this was a breaking point: all neighbourhoods had to receive new, tidy squares; the strategy of establishing sport squares was under way; several new parks were planned; the larger parks of the city had to all be linked to a joint green resting system.

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We’ve started the Merkurijus section exactly a year ago, and while the topic of Kaunasian souvenirs is still being discussed, we’re introducing various relevant and valuable items created in the city every month. This time we want you to meet the best and most loyal friends of people, who were unfortunately left or lost, given away or rejected.

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Four residents of Penkta Koja, an animal shelter in Linksmakalnis, Kaunas district, visited the freshly-revived Kaunas IN tourism centre at the Town Hall. We should actually say “only four residents” since representatives of Penkta Koja say up to 200 dogs are living with them at any given time, and eleven newbies came to the shelter during the first three days of 2018. Some animals stay there for several years, but as anyone who was at the Town Hall for the photo shoot can confirm, none of these canines becomes less cute. It’s probably quite the opposite. We can’t guarantee that all these four faces will still be in Linksmakalnis by the time you’re reading this – we want to hope some of them might find a home sooner. So, if you can have a best friend, don’t hesitate to call.

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Ema

Aged 1-2 Loving people took Ema from an owner who was violent and negligent. She likes attention, is curious and truly charming, has a soft fur that deserves proper petting.

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Aged 1-3 This happy creature came to Linksmakalnis after Christmas – found in Elektrėnai, her owners haven’t contacted the shelter yet. Beka is sweet and friendly, energetic and still a pretty young friend.

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Aged 1-3 At the end of 2017 the owners of Mirta were left with no one to take care of her. She’s a mid-sized, modest, a little shy yet tremendously sweet doggo that adores hugs.

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Keksas Aged 4-6

Keksas has been living in Linksmakalnis for more than a year and he could really become the symbol of the Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 project since he’s great at meeting any guest. You should see how he welcomes friends by standing up!

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Calendar 12 22 – 03 19

Exhibition “Užsienio profesionalai – Lietuvai” [“Foreign professionals in Lithuania”]

The exhibition introduces 28 people of different nationalities, sexes and professions that worked in Lithuania from 1918 to 1940. Visitors are welcome to know more about those pilots, architects, medics, lawyers, zoologists, historians, linguists, librarians, mathematicians, artists and economists.

Exhibition in memory of Ludwik L. Zamenhof

V. Biržiška library, Vytautas Magnus University, K. Donelaičio g. 52 The Polish institute in Vilnius organised an exhibition marking Ludwik L. Zamenhof’s 100th death anniversary in 2017, initiated by the Polish ministry of foreign affairs. Reflecting Zamenhof’s life, his links to Lithuania, Kaunas and Veisiejai, the exhibition found home at the public library and Kaunas City Museum before, now Vytautas Magnus University hosts it.

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Kaunas City Museum, Town Hall department, Rotušės a. 15

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Exhibition “Kiškio pyragai“ [“Rabbit’s pies”] by Balys Buračas Kaunas Photography Gallery, Vilniaus g. 2

Photographer Balys Buračas (1987-1972) captured the life of 20th century people through the prism of Lithuanian traditions and showed how the daily rituals could be made more exciting. The figures made from cake/cookie dough – “rabbit’s pies” – embody the visual as well as verbal narrative of the daily life at the time.

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01 10 – 01 23

“Ties šešėlių riba” [“On the verge of shadows”], an exhibition by Neringa Kryžiūtė Meno Parkas gallery, Rotušės a. 27

The author says this series of paintings was inspired by clear memories of the past, which are being actualised in today’s perception: “The things we experience now are always associated with our own past, so we can’t escape seeing things that are long gone through the prism of the events surrounding, touching us at the moment”.


January Wednesday, 01 10, 5:30 pm

Presentation of Romualdas Požerskis’ photo albums Kaunas Photography Gallery, Vilniaus g. 2

masterpiece “The World’s Greatest Sinner”, which tells the story of a bored insurance broker who quits his job, changes his name to God and starts a political-religious movement. Wednesday, 01 10, 8 pm

Screening of “You Dissapear” [“Du forsvinder” in Danish] (2017) Romuva Cinema, Kęstučio g. 62

The book “Neramūs keliautojai” [“Uneasy travellers”] introduces personal photos by Romualdas Požerskis and his friends from 1971 to 1975, along with fragments of his diary. Whereas the album “Pergalės ir pralaimėjimai” [“Victories and defeats”] shows the earliest photos from the series of the same name, created from 1974 to 1976. The latter photographs continue a somewhat similar narrative while also portraying motocross racing. Wednesday, 01 10, 7 pm

Kitas Kinas: movie screening. “The World’s Greatest Sinner” (1962)

Mija blindly believes her charismatic husband Frederik is innocent even when he’s facing a judge for stealing money from the school. Whilst looking for the truth, Mija is torn by doubts and wonders whether she knows the person she’s sharing a life with. This movie is a long-awaited work from the respected director Peter Schønau Fog, exploring a person’s identity and the motives behind certain actions. 01 11 – 02 11

Exhibition of the works by Kristina Norvilaitė

A. Žmuidzinavičius Creations and Collections Museum, V. Putvinskio g. 64

Kaunas Artists’ House, V. Putvinskio g. 56 The educational platform Kitas Kinas, while collaborating with Kaunas Artists’ House, introduces a series of underground or independent movies that have found it a bit harder to reach their audiences. Around 1962 (it’s unclear since the film was never officially released) Timothy Carey created a small-budget underground 2018

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Calendar Thursday, 01 11, 6:30 pm

Presentation of the “Lapteviečių pėdomis” [“Following the steps of Lapteviečiai”] expedition All the miles walked, hills hiked and rivers crossed weren’t the focus of this expedition. The walkers took a much deeper trip than to the north of Siberia – they went to the Laptev Sea to prove that the famous story of exile wasn’t just a tiny fact in history. During the presentation, the walkers will talk about the technical nuances of the trip and share their experiences about visiting the Verkhoyansk Range and some of the most remote exile destinations.

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PuntoJazz attic, Kęstučio g. 6

Thursday, 01 11, 6:30 pm

FuckUp Nights Kaunas vol. 6 Talent Garden Kaunas, Laisvės al. 59

The five-year-old idea by a group of Mexican friends took off brilliantly since everyone can learn from a fail, and it’s especially fun to learn from one that’s not your own. These events are organised in more than 200 cities, six continents, in 25 languages. Let’s talk about failing while smiling!

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01 12 – 03 04

Exhibition “KAMPAS: Rimvido Jankausko (1957– 1993) kūrybos retrospektyva iš Lietuvos muziejų ir privačių kolekcijų” [“KAMPAS: The retrospective of the works by Rimvidas Jankauskas (1957-1993), gathered from Lithuanian museums and private collections”] M. Žilinskas art gallery, Nepriklausomybės a. 12

After 24 years of silence, Kaunas is witnessing an exhibition dedicated to one of the most idiosyncratic Lithuanian artists – a representative of the “Breaking point” generation, member of the art group Angis, Rimvidas Jankauskas-KAMPAS would be celebrating his 60th birthday this year. 122 works from five museums and many private collections include paintings from the years spent at the art institute, showing the artist’s growth in an authoritarian system; also, the very first works created when studying at the S. Žukas technical school, all accompanied by sketches, notes and letters. 01 26 – 02 27

Exhibition “Paslėpta saulė” [“Hidden Sun”] by Žilvinas Landzbergas POST gallery, Laisvės al. 51A

The year in POST is kicked off with a site-specific sculptural light installation by Žilvinas Landzbergas, the


January author of the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Art Biennial (2017). Friday, 01 12

Events for the Freedom Defenders’ Day Various locations

The events for the Freedom Defenders’ Day will be started by a civic happening in the educational institutions of Kaunas at 8 am: for ten minutes, candles will be lit on windowsills to commemorate those who fought for the country’s freedom. An event to remember Titas Masiulis and Juozas Vaidotas will be organised in Petrašiūnai and Romainiai cemeteries; the renewed monument “Pieta” will be presented at the old Aleksotas cemetery; a bell music concert and a civic happening will take place next to the special bonfires in the garden of the Vytautas the Great War Museum. Friday, 01 12, 6 pm

Discussion “Etika, religija ir politika: kas bendro tarp Berucho Spinozos ir Emmanuelio Levino?” [“Ethics, religion and politics: what links Baruch Spinoza and Emmanuel Levinas?”] Kaunas Artists’ House, V. Putvinskio g. 56

Laurynas Adomaitis – philosopher, Scuola Normale Superiore doctoral student, translator of B. Spinoza’s “Tractatus Theologico-Politicus” will debate Viktoras Bachmetjevas – PhD in philosophy, cultural professional,

communications expert, translator of E. Levinas’ “Time and the Other”. Moderator – Laurynas Peluritis, doctoral student at Vilnius University, head of Naujasis Židinys-Aidai magazine. Friday, 01 12, 7 pm

Lost Harbours and Algis Fediajevas concert Nyčės Ūsai gallery, Pilies g. 1

An unconventional, alternative and experimental evening will have the musical project Lost Harbours by an Englishman Richard Thompson performing free folk and neofolk tunes, while a Lithuanian musician Algis Fediajevas will play a few pieces of his which he refers to as “acoustic psychedelics”. Saturday, 01 13, 10 am

Freedom Defenders’ Day

St Michael the Archangel Church, Nepriklausomybės a. 14 The commemoration of the events on January 13th, 1991 will begin with a mass for the fallen defenders of freedom. A concert titled “Vardan Lietuvos” [“In the name of Lithuania”] by the collectives and studios from the children and youth centre will take place in the church later.

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Calendar Saturday, 01 13, 11 pm

“Chronicle” party

Lizdas bar, Nepriklausomybės a. 12 Fluent musical stories behind the DJ desk and behind the bar. Such drum and bass wolfs like Intakx, Roads, Simao, Hathor and Onis will be narrating the night. 01 13 – 02 18

Kaunas Picture Gallery, K. Donelaičio g. 16

01 18 – 02 09

Group exhibition of paintings “Kontr-argumentas” [“Counter-argument”] Meno Parkas gallery, Rotušės a. 27

It’s already been two decades since Kaunasians are evaluating the art pieces that were created in Kaunas during the past year. This exhibition is always very popular – over 100 artists provide their works for it.

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Exhibition “The best artworks of 2017”

It’s a movie about two most famous celebrities of the tennis world, about their almost mythical battle during the Wimbledon competition in 1980, about the price these two men paid to become legends.

Sunday, 01 14, 6 pm

Screening of “Borg McEnroe” (2017)

Romuva Cinema, Kęstučio g. 62

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All 17 of the artists presenting their newest works are basically working in the same community, yet every single one of them has a particular understanding about what art should look like. They create art and create themselves, so the counterargument refers to a specific opposition – either an agreement or a disagreement with another take, opinion or approach. Simply put, the idea here is having a conversation, and the voices are: Kazimieras Brazdžiūnas, Vita Opolskytė, Algimantas Černiauskas, Auksė Miliukaitė, Eglė Knyzė, Eglė Norkutė, Kristijonas Žungaila, Rosanda Sorakaitė, Tadas Tručiliauskas, Gabrielė Šer-


January mukšnytė, Povilas Ramanauskas, Rūta Vadlugaitė, Petras Lincevičius, Mantas Daujotas, Monika Plentauskaitė, Raminta Blaževičiūtė, Rokas Jakubauskas. Thursday, 01 18, 6:30 pm

“Grafolabo” dirbtuvės: “Žudyk cenzūrą” [Grafolabas workshop: “Kill the censorship”] Kaunas Artists’ House, V. Putvinskio g. 56

A writing laboratory with Sandra Bernotaitė is a cycle of theory lectures and practical workshops, an opportunity to get to know the process of creating literature by also trying it all out. This session will be about overcoming internal censorship.

Thursday, 01 18, 8 pm

Euroleague: BC Žalgiris Kaunas - Valencia Basket Žalgirio Arena, Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 50

We beat the Euroleague attendance record in December and the plan is to keep the pace while Žalgiris keep winning. See you at the match, wearing green with a touch of white. Friday, 01 19

Movie “Grąžinti Nepriklausomybę” [“Bringing Independence Back”] All cinemas

Thursday, 01 18, 7 pm

Premiere: A play “Keturi” [“Four”] National Kaunas Drama Theatre, Laisvės al. 71

The play was created using excerpts from the cult novel by Victor Pelevin – “Chapayev and Void”. The author himself once said about this piece that it’s the first novel in worldwide literature that has everything taking place inside a total emptiness. Kamilė Gudmonaitė offers an interpretation of the book by moulding a combination of twists, irony and paradoxes, where modern reality overlaps with Eastern mythology, and brutal street culture meets spiritual contemplations.

A debut film by comedian Oleg Šurajev portrays a fun story of four friends – national Lithuanian heroes Basanavičius, Smetona, Stulginskis and Klimas, who came back after one hundred years to bring back the original of The Act of Reinstating Independence. They’re more surprised that the original is in Berlin and not in Vilnius than they are amazed by any modern technologies. This historical comedy is full of witty humour, funny stereotypes and delightful routine situations, and absolutely no boring facts!

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Calendar Friday, 01 19, 8 pm

Condor Avenue concert PuntoJazz attic, Kęstučio g. 6

This play is a certain party with death, it’s based on Lithuanian mythology and folklore, a kind of game/ritual that brings us back from Facebook-like existence to our primal nature of being. “A party with death should inspire everyone to do meaningful work,” the director Darius Rabašauskas states.

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Saturday, 01 20, 12 pm

After achieving their teenage dream to form a rock band, all four members of Condor Avenue started creating music that they themselves would like to listen to. The first successful album “The Crown” was followed by a second one – “#PATAGONIA”, where the new synthesis of electronic music and guitars provides stories that were born out of legends.

Presentation of the book “Bubio nuotykiai Galapaguose” [“Adventures of Bubis in The Galápagos”] Nyčės Ūsai gallery, Pilies g. 1

Friday, 01 19, 10 pm

A play “4 Mortos” [“4 Mortas”]

Kaunas Chamber Theatre, Kęstučio g. 74A Travelling and reading books are two of the best things that can happen in life. And learning about geography and history with Bubis is a fun adventure that’s full of imagination. The presentation of the book will also have a short movie on The Galápagos Islands and an orientation game for the whole family.

Įdomiausius savaitės maršrutus pilnas.kaunas.lt sekite

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January Saturday, 01 20, 12 pm

A play “Princesės gimtadienis” [“The princess’ birthday”] Kaunas State Puppet Theatre, Laisvės al. 87A

It’s the oldest play in the theatre’s repertoire – its premiere took place in 1991. By using one of Oscar Wilde’s tales, the director Algimantas Stankevičius tells a story of a spoiled princess by showing children the essence of being human. And when everyone is invited to the palace to celebrate the birthday of the pompous princess, she’ll have a harsh lesson waiting for her – the most valuable present of all.

in the country, a true avant-garde experience. It’s the art of poetic improvisation, with the performers not shying away from any subversions or sensitive topics. These events gather hundreds of people in Kaunas every month. Wednesday, 01 24, 6 pm

Operetta “Misteris X” [“Mr X”] Kaunas State Musical Theatre, Laisvės al. 91

Tuesday, 01 23, 7 pm

Slemas #6 [Poetry slam No. 6] Kaunas Artists’ House, V. Putvinskio g. 56

Slam poetry has grown up in the Lithuanian underground scene in recent years and it has become one of the most interesting and vivid events of contemporary literature

1995 saw the operetta “The Circus Princess” by Emmerich Kálmán to an original German libretto by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grünwald staged in Kaunas – this had very clear aristocratic undertones to it. In 2017, dramaturg Ramutė Skučaitė combined a few versions of the libretto to take it further away from the vibes of the 1900s. It’s Viktorija Streiča’s debut as an independent director, and scenographer Vaidotas Jakutis created a special set for this operetta in the style of his favourite steampunk universe.

Įdomiausius savaitės maršrutus pilnas.kaunas.lt sekite

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Calendar Thursday, 01 25, 6:30 pm

Pusiaužiemio vakarojimas [An evening to celebrate Midwinter] Kaunas National Cultural Centre, A. Jakšto g. 18

A folklore studio “Lygaudė” from the Vytautas Magnus University’s Rasa Gymnasium invites everyone to mark the Midwinter celebrations.

“Dizaino ketvirtadienis. Kūrybos procesas lėkštėje: kas yra maisto dizainas?” [“Design Thursday. Creative process on the plate: What is food design?”] DesignLibrary Kaunas, K. Baršausko g. 59

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Thursday, 01 25, 7 pm

01 26 – 01 28

“LT Game Jam 2018”

Kaunas University of Technology, Laisvės al. 13 The biggest marathon of creating games in the Baltic countries is back. For a whole weekend Kaunas and other larger cities of Lithuania will be buzzing with gamer bees working on new ideas as part of a global movement. Friday, 01 26, 6 pm

Concert “Nepriklausomybės giesmės” [“Songs of Independence”] Kaunas State Philharmonic, L. Sapiegos g. 5

The concert will have Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and an Estonian men’s choir performing pieces of contemporary composers of all three Baltic countries. Saturday, 01 27, 12 pm

A play “Grybų karas ir taika” [“Mushroom war and peace”] Girstutis culture centre, Kovo 11-osios g. 26

The initiator of the 52 Kartai project Robertas Daskevičius, the chef of Nüman restaurant Matas Paulinas and Artūras Naidenko, head chef of restaurant Uoksas will talk about food design, the tendencies following it and the real situation in Lithuania.

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January Is war and the end of the world upon us? Why can’t mushrooms agree with the order of the world? What really happened in the Mushroom Republic after the first “democratic” election? Why did president Baravykas [King Bolete] become a dictator? Children will seek answers to these questions together with actors of “Keistuolių teatras”, singing and having fun along the way.

The living legend will present his newest book “Ar gali būti, kad ir mes gyvename mūsų laikais?” [“Can it be that we’re living in our own time too?”].

Saturday, 01 27, 7 pm

Kaunas State Philharmonic, L. Sapiegos g. 5

Concert “Infinite Agony Ritual #2” Lemmy club, Girstupio g. 1

Five bands will perform! Blood Patch (thrash/death metal, Kaunas), Burying Place (brutal death metal, Vilnius), Hellfire (black metal, Ukraine), Znich (pagan folk metal, Belarus) and 1914 (blackened death/doom metal, Ukraine). Saturday, 01 27, 11 pm

“In Future We Lust” party Lizdas bar, Nepriklausomybės a. 12

Mamiko Motto is a Lithuanian living in London, she’s the founder of an electronic music company Gass and a rare visitor back in Kaunas. She’ll be greeted at home by Kriaushia and Monika Seta. Wednesday, 01 31, 6:30 pm

An evening with Juozas Erlickas Kaunas State Philharmonic, L. Sapiegos g. 5

Saturday, 02 03, 5 pm

Concert “Lietuviais esame mes gimę” [“We were born Lithuanian”], a centennial celebration of the country’s independence

The men’s choir Perkūnas of Tautos Namai culture centre and the string orchestra of J. Gruodis conservatory will perform the pieces by composers J. Naujalis, S. Šimkus, G. Verdi, J. Strauss and others. Thursday, 02 08, 6 pm

A play “Natanas išmintingasis” [“Nathan the Wise”]

National Kaunas Drama Theatre, Laisvės al. 71 The play directed by Gintaras Varnas following the drama written by G. E. Lessing takes us back to Jerusalem at the end of the 17th century – a battlefield for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A complex situation of emotions and human relationships unfolds by portraying the fates of three main characters: a wise Jew Nathan, a military leader sultan Saladin and a young, initially anonymous Templar.

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pilnas.kaunas.lt

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KAUNAS FULL OF CULTURE Monthly magazine about personalities and events in Kaunas (free of charge)

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Authors: Anton Nabolotnyj, Artūras Bulota, Bernadeta Buzaitė, Dainius Ščiuka, Eglė Šertvyčūtė, Gunars Bakšejevs, Julija Račiūnaitė, Kipras Šumskas, Kotryna Lingienė, Kęstutis Lingys, Lukas Mykolaitis, Paulius Tautvydas Laurinaitis, Tautė Bernotaitė. Patrons:

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ISSN 2424-4481 2424-4465

Leidžia: Publisher

2018 1 (29) 2017No. Nr. 2 (18)

Profile for Kaunas Pilnas Kultūros

KAUNAS FULL OF CULTURE. JANUARY 2018  

KAUNAS FULL OF CULTURE. JANUARY 2018  

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