Jonas Mekas – 95th Birthday
Biržai, December 1-2, 2017
“Christmas without snow! What kind of winter would it be for a Lithuanian without snow? We’ve gotten used to it and it grew on us. I don’t know – one part of us wants to return home because we miss our relatives, another part because we miss the good – old! – life. I long for snow…” (Jonas Mekas, Letters from Nowhere).
The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center will take part in the celebration of the 95th birthday of Jonas Mekas at the Jurgis Bielinis Public Library in Biržai, Lithuania. The JMVAC will exhibit Jonas Mekas‘ video diary: 365 Days.
Mekas spent 2007 “writing” a diary with his video camera – he filmed everyday events. Those daily video diary entries turned into months and eventually into a subjective chronicle of the entire year in which every day is represented by a short film with a text dedication, a poem or an insight…
The video diary’s “here and now” scenes are interwoven with archival film and photo clips, reminiscences, dreams and poems into which the words of other people intervene – thoughts, different worlds – and that is why the diary becomes not only a documentary of everyday events, but also a meditative journey through memory in a spiritual dimension.
The exhibition presents twelve (in monthly order) obelisks with small screens, each of which shows a separate video diary. The entire video diary is composed of 365 short video films.
Events planned for celebrating Jonas Mekas’ 95th birthday program:
LONGING FOR SNOW
December 1-2, 2017
December 1, Friday. Jonas Mekas and Biržai.
12.00 Unveiling of Memorial dedicated to Jonas Mekas in the village of Semeniškiai in Biržai, Parovėja.
16.00 Library Hall. Opening.
– Vaiva Radikaitė – Žukienė, Algirdas Butkevičius, Juozas Enskaitis talk about J. Mekas.
– Screening of J. Mekas’ film Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania. J. Mekas’ poetry and excerpts from texts read by the students of Biržai Saulės High School.
– Liuda Prunskienė, of the Biržai J. Bielinis Public Library, presents Jonas Mekas’ gift to the people of Biržai and Lithuania.
December 2, Saturday. Global Jonas Mekas.
- ibrary Hall
-The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center (Vilnius) presents its exhibition of 365 Days, an installation of Jonas Mekas‘ video diary.
-Laimutė Adomavičienė, PhD of Humanitarian Studies. Institute of Modern Literature and Folklore, Vilnius. Lecture: “Jonas Mekas’ Life as a Displaced Person in Germany”.
-Virginija Paplauskienė, PhD of Humanitarian Studies. Director of the Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum‘s Émigré Department, Kaunas. Lecture: “Jonas Mekas’ Biographical Reflections in an Epistolary Context”.
-Ramūnas Čičelis, PhD of Philology, Kaunas.
-The high school students of Saulė and the schoolchildren of Papilis present a creative writing seminar Requiem for the Typewriter.
-Independent artist Virginijus Benašas from Panevėžys, students from Saulė and schoolchildren from Papilis present an installation: Carpet of Books.
- -Musical performance Life for Jonas by actors, readers, the folklore ensemble Kadujo from Kaunas, contestant from the Lietuvos Balsas competition, Lukas and musicians Giedrius Balbieris and Giedrius Žilinskas.
Organizers of the event: Jurgis Bielinis Public Library of Biržai (J. Radvilos St. 3, Biržai)
This event is partly financed by the Lithuanian Cultural Council.