maProject was first initiated by three individual dance artists from the new and the older member countries of the European Union: the Netherlands, Poland and Lithuania. Interested in artistic collaboration with each other Liat Magnezy, Agnija Šeiko and Konrad Szymanski came up with an idea for a project intended for meeting East and West of Europe for the purpose of exploration and expression: “with this new initiation we are interested in widening the boundaries of our creativity and contributing to the better understanding of our own cultural background as well as the others”. For this collaboration two other artists, Bulgarian composer Petar Doundakov and Dutch film artist Joost van Veen, were invited to have their input in creating multidisciplinary art installation. Finally the project involved forty artists from Lithuania, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Poland – who widened the geographic scope of the project. maProject premiered in the Lobby of the New Palace of Vilnius Academy of Arts.
It is almost a cliché, but for a project, which has the map as a starting point, it’s impossible to go around it. Vilnius, or a place very near Vilnius is the geographical centre of Europe. Gelnhausen (Germany) is the geographical centre of the European Union. But then again Vilnius is (for the year 2009) the cultural centre of the European Union, this together with Linz in Austria, which by the way is only 50 kilometres from Germany. To complicate things even more the maProject is officially collaboration between four countries, but representatives from 7 different countries take part in the project. Among the approximately forty participants are, among others: choreographers, video-artists, a composer, a sociologist, an art-historian, a philosopher, architects, a costume-designer, dancers, singers, musicians and of course an amazing supporting staff. Talking about a multitude of disciplines.
It sounds a lot like a recipe for the confusion, which led to the destruction of the tower of Babel. In this biblical story, people were prevented from working together by the fact that all of the sudden they started speaking different languages. As you will see, we have accomplished just the opposite with the maProject.
The maProject was initiated as an educational project and aiming to bring together young and experienced artists to explore the issues of ‘new Europe’. In doing so, we started our working process with three theoretical lectures on some of these issues. The questions raised in the lectures concentrated on the place of the artist in society: what is the responsibility of the artist towards society? How does society perceive artists? How can artists help solve the undeniable problems the ‘new Europe’ is posing? for example, the post-memory of Europe, the human condition, sexual politics, etc.
Of course the maProject as a whole is not meant to give solutions to these problems or even to overcome all our differences. The maProject hopes to set an example on how the necessity to communicate about our differences can be developed.
The outcome of the maProject learning process will be presented in the form of a multidisciplinary art installation. If you join our ‘journey’, we will share our ideas with you in the particular ‘languages’ we as artists know best, such as contemporary dance, music, experimental film and video art, etc.
We hope that our presentation will be a performance that not only speaks to you but on another level, involves you at the same time.
Concept: Liat Magnezy, Agnija Šeiko and Konrad Szymanski
Dramaturgy: Hans Timmerman