Emerging artists: Jacob Bray (Folkestone, UK)
Residency place: Kaunas Biennial (Kaunas, Lithuania)
Practice: Dance and choreography
Local artists: Ingrida Čepanonytė, Kristina Marija Kulinič, Aistė Jančiūtė, Karolina Latvytė Bibiano, Amy Robyn Lyster, Gildas Aleksa, Aistis Lansbergas, Kristina Čyžiūtė, Jonas Jakūnas.
Curated by: Neringa Stoškutė
I picked Jacob Bray for Kaunas Biennial’s first MAGIC CARPETS residency, because I thought that his particular way and method of working would enrich the cultural field of Kaunas. And I was not wrong. Jacob’s method involves getting to know his performers and giving them space and time to say what they want and have to say to the rest of us. I approached it from a cultural (Lithuanian) and social position, where I feel that, in particular, the female position in our society is still very much tinted by out-dated traditions and views. Jacob also approached it from a cultural (European) and social position, where he felt that female performers are underrepresented in stage and performing arts. We both wanted to shine a light on the current cultural and social climate in Lithuania and the rest of Europe.
Whilst on residency in Kaunas, Jacob worked closely with five young female performers: Ingrida Čepanonytė and Kristina Marija Kulinič (theatre/performance art), Aistė Jančiūtė (textiles/performance art), Karolina Latvytė Bibiano (painter/spoken word) and Amy Robyn Lyster (contemporary dance). He was assisted by theatre director Gildas Aleksa, scenographer Aistis Lansbergas and costume designer Kristina Čyžiūtė. Jacob also worked collaboratively with a young film-maker Jonas Jakūnas, who helped him produce video clips for the performance as well as documentary videos of Jacob’s residency. Jacob also met and interviewed strong female personalities, such as dr. Virginija Vitkienė – director or Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022, Jolanta Šmidtienė – gallery owner and founder of the Textile Artists’ Guild, Bella Shirin – actress, and Vaida Tamoševičiūtė – performance artist.
The day before the performance, Kaunas Biennial participated in “The Festival of Unexpectedness” where Jacob presented short teasers from the upcoming performance. The final performance called “Laundry” took place in Kaunas Žalgiris arena and was attended by 300 people.
Author of the text: Neringa Stoškutė