* In Italian contrabbando – contra ‘against’ + bando ‘government order’ – illegal smuggling of goods through state borders.
Smuggling is the theme of the Migrating Art Academies international creative workshops that will take place this September in Nida Art Colony, organised by Vilnius Art Academy. We consider smuggling to be a risky, dynamic, conflicting and creative situation, in which confronting sides justify their own actions for the reward of both material and non-material benefits. Nida is on the border with Kaliningrad Oblast, an area with a long history of smuggling, and where smugglers are still active. Issues of local specifics will be pertinent to discussions and will reflect in work produced.
The creative workshops for emerging artists will aim at a multifaceted and interdisciplinary analysis of smuggling. Negative and positive aspects of smuggling will be discussed, the former being the negative influence on state security and finance systems, the illegal trafficking of people, cybernetic attacks, viruses and so on, the latter including cultural-educational smuggling, book spreaders, homing pigeons, cultural-social protests, universities in exile, attempts to break through authoritative state information firewalls and illegal visual aesthetics. Some provocative themes (e.g. quantum world) will also be offered.
The Migrating Art Academies (MigAA) platform is aimed at innovation and experience-exchange in art teaching and research. It is a network of European universities and independent organisations (participating countries include Finland, France, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, United Kingdom and Russia). The Fireplace: Contrabbando laboratory is supported by the European Commission Culture Program, the Culture Support Foundation of the Republic of Lithuania and the Nordic Culture Point. The laboratory is organised by the Department of Photography and Media Art of Vilnius Art Academy together with the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association.