Do the Right Thing 2019

This year the annual exhibition of Vilnius Academy of Arts’ doctoral students has grown into an expanded project. In an intellectual provocation, the project’s guest curator Dr Marquard Smith, Professor of Artistic Research at VAA, suggested that the project should commemorate the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing and reflect on its significance in today’s context. This prompted the project’s team and participants to at least briefly shift the focus from their individual artistic and theoretical research projects, and try to answer a few more universal and fundamental questions.

What does it mean today to do the right thing as an artist, designer, curator, or critic, not in the sense of social conformity or market success, but with an ethical commitment? How to detect the various nodes of power, fight it, or employ it for restoring justice? How to be more that just an active and successful art student, artist, or researcher – an active and responsible citizen? Finally, how do the formulations of these questions, their relevance, and the possible answers change depending on the geographical, historical, and cultural context?

With this background in mind, even though the project’s exhibition presents the diverse individual works and research of Art, Design, and Art Criticism doctoral students, the participants simultaneously try to relate their topics to the broader cultural, social, and political context. The individual presentations by the participants of the exhibition, scheduled on March 29th and 30th, and attended by an external expert, the writer, critic, and educator Dr Alice Twemlow, will serve as an elaboration of these perspectives.

Equally important is the project’s rich public events programme. It will offer opportunities to hear the team’s conversations about the project’s context on the airwaves of Palanga Street Radio, a DIY broadcasting community, to share ideas and impressions while listening to a live soundtrack reflecting the project’s themes, mixed by this radio station’s DJs during a disco at the artist-run Autarkia space, to take a tour of the parallel exhibitions branching out of the main show and registering the Academy’s subconsious, to splash pop-up poetry verses in the exhibition space, and to join the group morning exercise – peeling potatoes together with the cooks of the Academy’s canteen. The VAA community will get a chance to share their concerns in an anonymous poll, while the doctoral students will be able to take a photo with their supervisors and consultants.

A special focus this year is on public discussions, and specifically on the possible forms of artistic and civil activism in the Academy and the urban space. Two events, dedicated to the case of the Reformed Evangelicals’ Park in Vilnius and to the role of activism in the process of art and design studies, will seek to extend the project’s field of concerns beyond the VAA community and involve a broader audience that might not have experience in the professional art and culture field. The discussions will feature well-known local activist practitioners and theorists: Jekaterina Lavrinec, Laima Kreivytė, Kasparas Pocius, Eglė Grėbliauskaitė, Gintautas Mažeikis.

The project Do the Right Thing and its exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive publication which textually and visually explicates the projects’ and the individual participants’ topics, problems, and research fields.

Curators: Marquard Smith (project curator) and Jurij Dobriakov (co-curator).

Participants: Arnas Anskaitis / Dovilė Bagdonaitė / Eglė Bertašiūtė/ Jogintė Bučinskaitė / Vitalij Červiakov / Dovilė Dagienė / Vytautas Gečas / Barbora Gediminaitė / Eglė Grėbliauskaitė / Dalia Grybauskaitė / Mindaugas Jurėnas / Kristė Kibildytė- Klimienė / Aistė Kisarauskaitė / Laima Kreivytė / Liucija Kvašytė / Saulius Leonavičius / Justė Pečiulytė / Marija Šaboršinaitė / Jelena Škulienė / Aušra Trakšelytė / Simona Žemaitytė / Asta Valskienė /Mindaugas Reklaitis

Project publication