Crazy cardboard costumes built to reinforce social distancing, handmade lanterns, and a collective climb up a hill with several hundred citizens before our Fluxus-inspired fire drawing lit up the night skies of Lithuania…this was how the second European School of Participation
ended. Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers, born in the sixties, and we channelled the spirit of Fluxus in the design of both the curriculum and the live event that we co-create as part of the School’s ‘learning by doing’ philosophy.
We had begun just six days earlier, despite the best efforts of the pandemic to disrupt a project built on the idea of transnational mobility and participation. Quarantine regulations changed weekly, so none of our international partners could attend, but we were able to try out offering some sessions online. And twelve Lithuanian creative practitioners – professional and non-professional artists alike – came together to explore how to work with and within communities to make celebrations in public space. Trainers included fashion designer Rita Kazokaitė, movement director Vasara Visockaitė, and fibre artists Rasma Noreikytė and Judita Einikytė, working with Liz Pugh and the team from Kaunas 2022 European Capital of Culture
. Workshops with community participants focused on costume and lantern construction for the Fluxus parade, and the DIY aesthetic of Fluxus art movement provided perfect inspiration for what we could achieve with limited time and resources. Local hero, artist George Macuinas, was the author of the Fluxus manifesto, and was born in a house at the bottom of Parados Hill, and the annual climb attracts hundreds of people each year to make their way up the hill in the most Fluxus-inspired manner. Kaunas will be no doubt be a top tourist destination in 2022 – make sure you’re there to take part in the Fluxus Festival
when we will return for more DIY mischief.
Discover more and read an interview with Liz featured on a Lithuanian online article which reflects on Fluxus Festival and her experiences of working with community engaged arts – available in both Lithuanian and English with Google Translate.
Participants can join the online School of Participation network here