Verpėjos (The Spinners) is inviting creators from different fields to an artistic residency in the Varėna area (South Lithuania) from June to September 2023.
Verpėjos‘ residency is designed to focus on the slow process of artistic research and the long-term value for the participating creators and audience. At the end of the residency, artists are not expected to have completed their art projects, but rather to have gained experiences, communities, and discoveries that will help them in their further creative work.
In close communion with animals and nature, we invite the creators to rethink the relationship between contemporary humans and the environment in the epoch of the Anthropocene.
Artists will be encouraged to commune not only with the villagers, animals, and plants around them but also with other artists in residence. The daily life and routines of the two artists living together will call for new forms of artistic inquiry and dialogues, which will reflect in the project’s planned publication and exhibition.
We will propose the artists reside in one of the farmhouses in the village of Kabeliai. It is a Lithuanian traditional small cabin with a courtyard, garden, and various outbuildings. The artists will take turns to be the rotating hosts of the homestead, living by two for a month at a time. We offer them an authentic rural experience and the opportunity to work closely with the local people and neighbors.
The sheep will become a connective part of the village community. Sheep grazing and livestock keeping in the modern countryside have survived only as an industry.
Livestock, in this case, sheep, act as intermediaries between humans and the natural and social environment. In our creative pastures, sheep no longer function as units of meat or wool, who are raised according to purely material balance beams, but as a platform for creative work, a school of coexistence with the Other, and a center of attraction for people. Sheep, as an integral part of the vegetation, lead humans through meadows that are otherwise difficult to master. They transform us from tourists who consume the environment into participants in the sites.
Scholarship and expenses
Each participant is to receive a grant of EUR 500 and free accomodation.
Duration of the residencies
1 month in the period from 1 June to 30 September 2023.
Working and living conditions
Participants will stay in an old log cabin in the village of Kabeliai. It is a small, simply furnished house, which will have to be shared by two artists living together. It has two small rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. There is plumbing and hot water and a wood-burning stove. Bicycles will be available.
The artists will also have access to various outbuildings and outdoor spaces on the farm for their creative process. One of the barns will house sheep, which will need to be let out to graze, kept from wandering into other people’s territories, and given water. The sheep get up early, go out to graze when it is not hot, and come home at noon. The second time they need to be taken out in the evening. The two artists in residence at the time will share the responsibility of shepherding the sheep, each having to spend 4 hours a day in the company of sheep.
Presentation to the public
During the residencies, artists will be asked to produce text and/or images for the project’s publication and to participate in open days to present their work to the public. In October, we will organize a group exhibition of the participants at the gallery of Marcinkonys Railway station.
We are inviting you to fill in the application form before 10 April 2023.
The Spinners team will select artists through an open call based on the following criteria:
– Ability to collaborate creatively in a two-person household;
– Ability to create in the community, involving participants of all ages and capabilities in the creative process;
– Motivation to get up early and spend a lot of time outdoors with the sheep to immerse oneself in the processes of nature and the world of animals, insects, and plants without fear of bad weather;
– Interdisciplinarity, encompassing different artistic fields;
Verpėjos (The Spinners) is an independent art initiative founded in 2017 by artist Laura Garbštienė in the Marcinkonys municipality, Varėna district of South Lithuania. Verpėjos aims to explore and rethink the themes of traditional rural lifestyle and nature conservation, to empower discourse on processes and changes both locally and globally. Since 2019, Verpėjos has been curating the Marcinkonys Railway station gallery, with an international art residency program starting in 2020.
The residency program is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
Photo credits: Vitalij Červiakov and Laura Garbštienė