„ECO-basement“ fended away mice and rats with art

The first thing that comes to mind when you mention a basement is darkness, insecurity, and the creatures that traditionally live there. However, this weekend these stereotypes were broken in Naujininkai, were an exhibition-competition took place in a basement of an apartment complex. A typical soviet apartment building hosted the exhibition in its cellar and attracted more than 50 people from various residential districts of Vilnius.

„Most of the visitors who came to see the eco-art came from the neighboring residential flats and buildings. And that is the biggest achievement, because even if only for a day, Naujininkai became more than just a residential district.“ says one of the organizers of the event, Martynas Norbutas, representing the Semiotics Research Center.

All of the visitors to the exhibition had the chance to vote which artist was truly worth to be called the winner. They certainly had plenty to choose from: from light installations, video works, photos depicting the construction of an eco-house, artistic compositions of used boots, chairs made from cardboard, machines eating trash, a little tractor made from waste materials, light fixture made from bottles, a dress made from pull tabs of drink cans and etc.

„We were inspired by the energy and willingness of the artists – some wanted to bring their works even from Telšiai or Šiauliai. There were certainly very different works gathered and we will be trying to find ways to organize exhibitions in different cities as well. We want to continue with this work that we've started and allow more and more artists to become part. We will also try to create dialogue between the artists and visitors, so that these exhibitions would not be strictly a one-way processes.“ says the organizer of the exhibition Monika Šlančauskaitė of the art collective „Meno duobė“.

The organizers believe that this exhibition not only revitalized an unusual space, but also allowed residents of Vilnius to see how you can revive used objects for a new life by communicating with the artists.

„We understand the idea of the exhibition completely. I myself have made my bed out of a big cupboard, later on the materials became a little cupboard and a shelf. I'm surprised by the inventiveness of these young people and see that you can create a lot more if you use your imagination“ - said one of the visitors.

After counting the votes of all the visitors, out of more than twenty exhibits the victor was Vykintas Jocys, who created several light installations.

The exhibition-competition „Eco-basement“ was part of the Lifelong Learning programme, which is administered by the Education Exchanges Support Foundation in Lithuania, and is a part of a Grundtvig project „Earth S.O.S. through Eco-Creativity“. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.