alytus biennial 1  

International festival of experimental art
August 22-28, 2005








time table of events


Manifesto #5

Politics reloaded

  1. Normally people don't know the real meaning of politics.
  2. They have only theoretical knowledge of how society should work. No one lets people see the real situation.
  3. People are fooled by the twisted image of political life in mass media.
  4. Mass media works hand in hand with politicians.
  5. Mass media is business, politics is business, and business is business.
  6. Business is not supposed to respect moral values – either you kill, or you should die.
  7. There are no moral values in politics, because moral values are strict – there's only black or white. Morality does not accept compromises – there are only different levels of sin.
  8. Politics is based on compromise between different groups of influence.
  9. Thus morality and politics has nothing to do.
  10. There are only two ways to deal with politics. One way is to forget everything you know about it and be free. Other way is to get elected and mutate.


[Jonas Valatkevičius, 2004]


Manifesto #6

Political art

  1. We all loved anti-political art once. Art that questioned the status quo we all have to live with.
  2. We thought that socially engaged art was the most useful. It was our social mission.
  3. We thought that in this way we perform our duties to society.
  4. To criticize, to be critical of everything that is related to government, business, and mass media.
  5. The question is: why government, business and mass media were always so eager to give us money to create this type of art?
  6. Why they gave us money to produce just another mockery on what was dearest to them?
  7. Why they still love so much this type of art?
  8. May be they have the same na?ve idea we all share: this is the way I perform my duties to society .
  9. No-way. It is us who were always na?ve. We've been used by governments, business and mass media, which made their existence legitimate with the help of our art: look we are happy with those who criticize our values and the way we behave .
  10. Government, business, and mass media: what they really mean when they talk to us? Let the people see their true face!


[Jonas Valatkevičius, 2004]


And now, please, just simply forget everything you've red above!

I am sure if you try to follow directly instructions written above – you'll definitely be turned into a cannon-fodder. The manifestos sound very combative, but in reality they are inviting to be servile. At least it's getting evident that half said true is a biggest lie.

I want to ask you to show your clear position towards the power sources in the society, to discredit the mechanisms of distribution of public lie.

Of course I don't want to invite you to be politicians in the way described above or to ask you to forget all about POLITICS as well…I even don't believe in one's ability to forget everything he/she knows. Those sacred words – to be free – that's just simple illusion. Can one be free in a way detaching self from any social life? Yes! But it is already a mutation. Pretending that neither the State, nor mass media, nor business manipulates you? Usually more one is detached from society more he/she is manipulated by press (all kind of solitaries, troglodytes are welcome in mass media). Sometimes artists are using it successfully in their PR. Usually this kind of clever “solitaries” are friendly accepted to the art world mob.


Manifesto on Art Bureaucracy

What are the basic features of ordinary art bureaucrat?

He/she always emphasizes the role and importance of the institution he/she belongs to.

Always presents a well-elaborated mission and vision of the art institution.

Clearly articulates the task of international collaboration of institutions.

Knows well the definitions and usually uses them to hide their meaning.

Has good taste.

Is politically correct.

Is very polite.

Always mentions cocktail parties held for limited number of people and drops the names of big stars he/she knows.

The bureaucrat maintains the hierarchy in the system.

The bureaucrat believes that institution protects him/her from responsibility.

There is one very effective weapon against bureaucracy - to use sincerity, honesty, the depiction of doubt, but still use the same clearly expressed bureaucratic form of social appearance. If a bureaucrat begins to establish his/her own mistakes and doubts, the system will be in danger.




(Redas Dirţys, 2004)



What are the main issues for the topic Beware! Politics!


  1. Art event Beware of Religion! in Moscow
  2. In January 2003 there was opened the exhibition called Beware of Religion! at the Sakharov Museum and Public Center . Four days after its opening, the exhibition was vandalized. The six perpetrators were detained and charged with hooliganism, but after a publicity campaign conducted by a Russian Orthodox priest, the charges were dropped.

    Russia 's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, petitioned the prosecutor-general's office "to take the necessary measures" against the exhibition organizers. In addition to director of the museum Samodurov, another museum employee and three artists also face charges.


    More about that:


  3. Reorientation of artistic discourse because of practical reasons in Lithuania and abroad.
  4. The situation after the revolution of 90-ties in the countries of Eastern Europe with the pro-western foundations (Soros foundation especially) elaborated new – project orientated way of thinking, which ends with the project and the money spent. The result of that is new-born local artistic elite with the specially prejudiced task for them – to represent internationally the State.


    Manifesto on Filling

    It's now becoming more and more evident that art history has only one mission – to defend some big collections of rich museums and personas that'll loose their treasures if the system failed. The entire industry of star making was created to organize a strictly functional price-value system. A very important part of the system is the strategy of showing a few stars in a context of well prepared and proportionally weighed “filling”. What is the concept of “filling” and how it happen that Eastern European countries contributed the vast majority of that?

    First of all, behind the Iron Curtain every scrap of information about Western movements (in the mainstream of course: rock, pop music, abstract expressionism, pop and minimal art) were treated like a kind of ultimate freedom. Even the formal abstract picture was a radical gesture in the Soviet society. So after the collapse of the system all the vanguard artists and activists flooded to the West and they soon realized how obsolete and na?ve they are in the context of the western theoretical jugglery. Only few lucky souls from the communist camp succeed in building careers, because of the clever strategy of applying a Soviet style according to Western stereotypes filling already existing folders. Another step was reorganization of the national systems into pro-Western one, with the help of ideology instead of historical survey. A great job was done with the help of networks of international foundations. They really created well-organized system, provided good taste, politically correct and undistinguished products, perfect for filling any big show.


    The filling is a perfect setting for predetermined stars to be shown in.

    The filling is very proud to stooge around the stars.

    The filling should be perfect, qualitative and inconspicuous.

    The filling never represents itself – it represents curators and the stars.

    The filling holds them together.


    (Redas Dirţys, 2004)


  5. Political crisis in Lithuania that showed the death of idealistic politics of the 90'.
  6. Due to the 3 times oath-breaking, the President of Lithuania Rolandas Paksas was impeached in spring, 2004. It seems that he was the first European President to finish his political career this way. Presidential crisis was surrounded by dark clouds of conspiracies about the Russian influence in the region. The biggest financial supporter of President was suspected to the representative of underground Russian business. He was also suspected of weapon trade with countries that, in their own way, are suspected of supporting terrorism.

    Numerous representatives of cultural elite gave back their awards received from the hands of this President. The President lost his rights to candidate for the new president elections. He could not be elected to the Parliament for the rest of his life. He faced serious charges and was busy spending his days in court.

    But after the new elections went through, all major charges were dropped. So who was right? President Paksas who said he was innocent or political elite, who said he was guilty? Most probably it was the result of fierce underground fight for power. We don't know. And we will never know. If everything goes right, may be our grandchildren will get the truth in their history books. But the politics will never be the same in Lithuania . No more idealistic bullshit about the spirit of a country, who “demolished USSR ”. No more bullshit about the advantages of Western democracy. A gap. A void once again. And may be – a new beginning.


  7. The fact of rewriting the history (and the art history as well) due to the political changes.
  8. When reading your letter I remembered the Robert C. Morgan thesis: "There is no Art without the Art Discourse", of course thought in the sense "Western Art Discourse” - and even narrowed to “NY Art Discourse,” (his lecture in Omi), which I also passionately disagreed with. But when I said it to him—he wasn't strict at all, he on the other hand was quite nice and playful… Then I realized that these “professional” people are using the words, pronouncing the thesis and theories much easier, lighter than I was. Maybe that comes from the practice, which they learn at school (at least in the U.S.A. ). The rhetoric exercises – you get the theme and you must speak about it for certain period of time. When you shut up – that's it. No consequences. Nothing changed. We in Czechoslovakia didn't have such a thing at school.

    My problem is that I sometimes (luckily not very often) read it, I sometimes try to understand it; I sometimes try to reveal the mechanisms and purposes leading to those formulations.  

    But the correct approach to this kind of “correct” text maybe should better be: Who cares? To whom is it important?

    Martin Zet (quotation from a letter to Redas Dirţys on Sunday, May 09, 2004 )


  9. Major intellectuals in Eastern Europe tend to support conservative right forces in the West.
  10. I think all this critical Bakunin like discourse (he kept in his mind all the critical leftist attitudes in general) in the arts is almost dead and we have nothing to do with that any more. We want to be positive.

    Matei Bejenaru (free quotation from discussions in Iasy , Romania , September, 2004)


  11. The processes of fragmentation in the society (and the arts) as the way to police the society.
  12. The universal thinking in the society is lost. Endless informational sources can fill whatever fragmentized point with whatever meaning to be wished to the level where all meanings are lost. And that gives an illusion of total freedom, but the system kills everybody who embodies that freedom. Exception could be made for project- oriented artists who just simply illustrate the freedom of expression and democracy. One possible approach to withstand the fragmentation is described in Anatoly Osmolovsky's text Prolegomena on Methodological Oppression in Khudozhestvennyj Zhurnal ( Moscow Art Magazine) No48/49, 2003, Moskva . Here he opposes the continuous methodological approach to the already mentioned one, which is based on a project and ends with the grant.

    Written and compiled by activist Redas Dirţys with kind presence of passivist Jonas Valatkevičius, November 11th, 2004 .



Redas Dirzys,
Turistu str. 2,
62445 Alytus , Lithuania
ph. + 370 682 15771

Alytus City Council,
Lithuanian Culture Ministry,
Lithuanian Foundation for Culture and Sports
Embassy of Austrian Republic

Umelec International,
Alytaus naujienos daily,
Loreta Liausaitë,
Mantas Kazakevičius.