Common Ground

Jonas Mekas: Filming Independence

Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR

 

1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

A conversation on re-filming history as subjective media archaeology with Kelly Taxter, Lukas Brasiskis, Avi Lubin, and Philippe-Alain Michaud, moderated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi

Jonas Mekas: Filming Independence

Thirty years after the tragic and courageous struggle that led the Lithuanian people to regain their independence, two international online panel discussions will be dedicated to Jonas Mekas and his last book, which retraces those events from a personal perspective. Titled Transcript 04 44’ 14” Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR (Humboldt Books, 2020), the book originates from a movie by Mekas which is at the same time a precious historical document and an important piece of avant-garde cinema.

The curators of the publication, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, will dialogue with other thinkers, artists, and historians in a virtual roundtable involving Italy, France, Israel, Lithuania, and the U.S.

Organized by the Lithuanian Culture Institute in these different countries in collaboration with Humboldt Books and the Anthology Film Archives, the 2-day event will be hosted by Scandinavia House and the Brooklyn Rail.

The first event in this series will be on January 13 at Scandinavia House. The special guest of the gathering will be the first Head of State of the Republic of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis, who described Jonas Mekas’ book with the following words: “Lithuania became part of the American life for some months, for one year, for two years and Jonas took it into his evidence, into his camera. Jonas comes as a reminder and does present Lithuania as a reminder. Lithuania is a little reminder of very great things.” Learn more about this event on scandinaviahouse.org ».

The event is organized in partnership with: Scandinavia House, Humboldt Books, Anthology Film Archives, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in New York, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in France, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Israel, Lithuanian Culture Institute.

In this talk

Kelly Taxter

Kelly Taxter
Currently the Barnett and Annalee Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jewish Museum, New York, Taxter is organizing Jonas Mekas: The Camera is Always Running, Mekas’s first survey in the United States opening February 2022. She has organized major surveys of Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Rachel Feinstein, and Isaac Mizrahi; projects with Math Bass, Eliza Douglas, Chantal Joffe, Eva LeWitt, Willem de Rooij, Valeska Soares, and Vivian Suter; and thematic group exhibitions including Take Me I’m Yours (co-curated with Hans Ulrich Obrist) and Unorthodox.

Lukas Brasiskis

Lukas Brasiskis
A film and media researcher and curator, Brasiskis is currently a PhD candidate at New York University in the Department of Cinema Studies, and an adjunct professor at NYU and CUNY/Brooklyn College. His interests include eco-media, the politics and aesthetics of the world cinema, and intersections between philosophy, moving-image cultures and the contemporary art world. Brasiskis’ texts have been published in both academic and non-academic media and he is currently co-editing a volume on Cinema and the Environment in Eastern Europe for Berghahn Books and Jonas Mekas: The Moving Image for Yale University Press. He has curated a number of screening programs, including Ecology After Nature (e-flux, NY), From Matter to Data: Ecology of Infrastructures (with Inga Lace, Post MoMa, New York), Environmental Memories in East-Central European Art (Alternative Film/Video Festival, Belgrade), Landscape to be Experienced and to be Read: Time, Ecology, Politics on the work of filmmaker James Benning (CAC, Vilnius), Mermaid with The Movie Camera (Spectacle Theater, New York), a program of experimental films Human, Material, Machine (with Leo Goldsmith, CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania), Baltic Poetic Documentary as Ethnographic Cinema (NYU, New York), Welcome to the Anthropocene (CCAMP, Lithuania), the retrospective of the films of Nathaniel Dorsky (CAC, Vilnius) among others.

Avi Lubin

Avi Lubin
Photo by Noa Yafe
Curator of HaMidrasha Gallery and founding editor of Tohu Magazine, an online arts publication printed across Hebrew, Arabic, and English, Lubin is a curator and writer who has curated many solo and group exhibitions in public and private galleries, museums, and alternative spaces in Israel and around the world. These include Art School, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Helena Rubinstein Pavilion); The Hidden Passengers, Apexart, New York; Dark Times, The Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv University; Fog, The National Gallery of Kosovo; Circular Movements, Kunstverein Kunsthaus, Potsdam, and most recently, Jonas Mekas: My Two Families at HaMidrasha Gallery in January 2020, Mekas’ first retrospective in Israel. From 2013–2019, Lubin was the head of theoretical studies at the Postgraduate Program of Fine Art at the Faculty of Arts – Hamidrasha, Beit Berl College, Israel. His articles have been published in academic journals, magazines, monographs, and catalogs.

Philippe-Alain Michaud

Philippe-Alain Michaud
Curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou in charge of the collection of films and Professor at ERG (Ecole de Recherche Graphique), Brussels, Michaud is the author of Aby Warburg and the Image in Motion (Zone Books, 2002 and Macula 2012), Le peuple des images (Desclée de Brouwer, 2004), Sur le film (Macula, 2016) and has written extensively on the relations between film and visual arts.

Francesco Urbano Ragazzi

Francesco Urbano Ragazzi
© photo: MMCA Seoul
Curatorial duo founded in Paris in 2007 and mainly based in Milan. In 2015 the team started The Internet Saga, a research platform on the narratives that characterize the age of connectivity. In this framework, the team has developed commissions for public and private institutions such as Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, VIII Bucharest Biennale, Maraya Art Center, CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research. The project that inaugurated The Internet Saga was a solo exhibition by filmmaker Jonas Mekas on the occasion of the 2015 Venice Biennale. Since that occasion, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi has established a deep collaboration with the Lithuanian artist and founder of the New American Cinema Group.