Migrating to Peripheral Mythologies

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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So I'm migrating again. I feel too tempted to go on ranting about the Netherlands in the Neverlands. Instead I'm launching a space for shorter and longer essays and mildly academically pimped up reflections on culture in Peripheral Mythologies as a way to focus on the exchange in St Petersburg and matters of cultural studies - a field in which I intend to pursue a PhD. Please follow.
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Lina

Debut in Plotki

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

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Some of you might know, those who do not yet, there is an exceptionally funky cultural journal called Plotki (with a byline rumours from around the block). I happened to submit a short textual/visual piece for the current issue on courtyards and backyards 78-44. Hope you enjoy it.

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Lina

Music claiming the streets: Street Music Day in Lithuania

Sunday, May 03, 2009

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I believe, 2009 marks the third year in a row when hundreds of amateur and professional musicians hit the streets of cities and towns in Lithuania to take part in 'Street Music Day'. It is one of those days urban spaces feel particularly vibrant. Below is a clip from Vilnius.

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Lina

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Demolition as a space for (re)action

Thursday, March 05, 2009

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Just finished the draft of my presentation in a seminar on cities in post-industrial Europe, which will be held in Brussels next week. The seminar is organised by the Multicultural centre Prague and Centre Bruxellois de l'action interculturelle. Looking forward to meet people from other corners of Europe.

My presentation focuses on a Pro-Test Lab set up around a cinema house called 'Lietuva' ('Lithuania') in the heart of Vilnius' historical centre. The project, initiated by new media artists duo Nomenda and Gediminas Urbonas, is probing into the intersection of public and space. I pose the question on how performative demolitions (of places and senses) reshape modern city by generating spaces as realms of (re)action. While demolition in this case served as an alarm rather than the culmination (I hope, along with Pro-Test Lab).
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Lina

The magician of early animation: Ladislas Starevich

Saturday, January 31, 2009

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This is a tough one to decide whether he is Lithuanian, Polish or Russian, but I was very happy to find out that the first animated puppet film was made in my native country. Vladislavas Starevičius/Władysław Starewicz/Владислав Старeвич/Ladislas Starevich made the first animation film 'Lucanus Cervus' (1910) using carcasses of dead beetles. If Wikipedia doesn't lie, after emigrating to France he formed a company in the remains of Georges Méliès' old studio. Whether it was Méliès' aura or not, Starevich is hailed as the magician of early animation

This is his 1913 film 'Dragonfly and ant' (Стрекоза и муравей), made after moving to Moscow from Kaunas.



Last year independent production company Era Films (based in Vilnius, Lithuania) made a creative documentary on this magician of early animation 'The Bug Trainer' (ironically, at the time I was writing this post some bug hit Google search and I had to switch to Yahoo for a while). As my previous professor in Vilnius University Skirmantas Valiulis says in the documentary, people used to believe he was training bugs...

Directors: Donatas Ulvydas, Linas Augutis, Marek Skrobecki. Looking forward to see it.

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Utrecht University's Research masters in Media and Performance launch a group research blog

Friday, January 30, 2009

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I am very excited to announce that after a few months of talking along with a few other students I study with in Utrecht, we launched a group research blog Media Mob. Stay tuned.
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How blogging is changing the academia and why I want to see more scholars blogging

Saturday, January 24, 2009

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Most of all I prefer to blog about ... life. The research of one kind or another is slowly creeping into the posts of this blog, again, mostly mish-mashed with daily observations and discoveries. Once again, to quote T. Nelson, we live in the media like fish live in the water... However, I am not going back to blogging my routine - the mention of my blogging preferences is a conscious digression.

A few days ago, as I was walking towards a copy machine in our library (aka an ever continuing building site), I bumped into a student whom I have met during one the seminars I am attending. As far as I remember, she is studying either literature or philosophy. I had mentioned to her previously that along with a few other enthusiasts I launched free movie screenings for Research master students in Utrecht University. She asked me where could she find the information on the films we are watching. 'On the blog', I replied. 'Where?' she inquired. 'On the blog', I repeated again. Judging by the expression on her face I realised that she did not have much to do with blogs until now and, most probably, much encounter should not be expected in the near future. I scribbled the web address in her notebook and told her to look it up.

About two months ago I started spreading a suggestion around other media students I am studying with to start a group research blog on new media. The definitions of the term in this case are not that relevant, but I was thinking that instead of distributing ourselves into the vast plateaus of media (theatre, television, performance) and trying to kill too many birds with one blog we might be better off focusing on the fields where traditional media intersect with the new and where the new media is defining itself.

I must say, I had hard time convincing why we should blog our academic research. Some imagined a research blog as a type of a pin up board, where we would post our papers. In other words, instead of seeing it as a lab where ideas are being born, nurtured, amended and moulded, more than a few imagined it as a digital repository of our final products, be they papers, articles or theses.

One of my greatest discoveries since I started my studies in Utrecht has been the scale of blogging academia (since I was writing different kind of blogs previously, my familiarity with more or less academic blogs was less). On the other hand, one of the greatest disappointments I still encounter is the scale of non-blogging academia. I suppose, the situation is similar to media theorists as Geert Lovink or Matthew Fuller tend to divide them: there are those who converse on new media without bothering to surf, blog, tag and ultimately to log in, and there are those who are in the media - by participating and launching various projects and trying to situate themselves in the current developments of the field as they happen.

'In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries science became too technical and mathematical for the philosophers, or anyone else except a few specialists. Philosophers reduced the scope of their inquiries so much that Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of this century, said, 'The sole remaining task of for philosophy is the analysis of language'. (Hawking, 1988) I could not agree with Steven Hawking more. To paraphrase, I could also point out that the developments introduced with the age of personal computer have snowballed the accumulation of information and knowledge. Accordingly, keeping in pace with these developments has become even more demanding, while in my personal belief, keeping the finger on the pulse of the planet we live in is the ultimate task of a scholar.

A blogging scholar - regardless of whether one is a student or a professor with all necessary insignia - in a way is a stripped down scholar. Her postulates might not necessarily be complete and varnished. They might be undercooked and even raw. Underdeveloped like a film roll. Too young like a bottle of wine that was opened too early. However, the beauty of thought lies in its capability to evolve. Watching a movie by a particular director is one thing, but gradually introducing oneself to her whole oeuvre and being able to observe how the vision and the content is developing is completely another. Same applies to music and books, and numerous other forms in which we express our understanding of the world.

Blogging has fundamentally changed our interaction with the internet and each other. Currently, according to Technorati, there are 133 million of them. Which means that almost every tenth Internet user is writing one. Of course, in a way this brings us to the era where potentially we might have more writers than readers.

Nevertheless, I know this is not the case with my university. As far as I know, including me three out of my 14 Media and Performance students blog (I've just unexpectedly discovered one of those three tonight and I am happy as a child who has just crawled into a new playpen). In this case I do not make a distinction between a research and a non-research blog. Either way, blogs ultimately reflect what we contemplate on, discover and experience, while teaching us to put our thoughts into writing.

Blogs are still breaking the waves in my native Lithuania, while research blogs or blogs written by members of academia are particularly scarce. At least among the professors here, in Utrecht, the situation sometimes reminds Norshteynian fog. I hope it clears away gradually. Some professors whose lectures I have attended (luckily, not those I meet and work with on a daily basis) would definitely clear the fog in their heads if they started blogging on a regular basis. Same applies to students.

I would love to see some changes. Information overload? I don't think we have seen it among blogging scholars yet. Bring them on: those unpolished arguments, spontaneous thoughts, unfinished etudes and unrefined paragraphs. The beauty lies in the maturation and the possibility to savour it gradually.
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Lina