anthropology of theatre, space & contemporary art
HONG KONG 2016
CONVERSATION ON THE ROOF OF CHUNGKING MANSIONS
Palekaitė spent a winter in Hong Kong exploring the notion of authenticity in the city driven by ultra-capitalism. This three-month residency served for collecting, creating and digesting images and observations. It resulted in writing Palekaitė's first theatre play Conversation on the Roof of Chungking Mansions which was published in 2017 in Alicja's Khatchikian book Farther Than I Thought by the Quiet Propaganda Studio in Turin, Italy.
CONDITIONS OF CREATIVITY 2015
MONOGRAPH EDITION PUBLISHED BY AKADEMIKERVERLAG * GERMANY
This ethnographic research inquires about the conditions of creativity among young contemporary visual artists in Vilnius and searches for their creative method. These artists had to witness the crash of communism and the rapid emergence of wild capitalism within the same urban landscape. The skeleton of the former USSR and the memory of censorship is still deeply embedded. It inspires the critical and rebellious thought of the young generation; consequently, they willingly reflect on the socio-history of the city through their art works. On the other hand, the general skepticism towards everything that is being culturally produced is a norm. These artists approach their field with theoretical, conceptual and perceptual rather than disciplinary concerns. The text draws portraits of artists moving within their environment - intimate pictures of persons and of the city. Theoretically, the central gateway is phenomenology, a philosophy that accounts for time, space and lived experience and thinks the world without subject and object. The ethnographic fieldwork was conducted from February to April, 2014.
YOGYAKARTA AND BALI * INDONESIA 2015
In 2015 Palekaitė embarked upon an independent research trip seeking out theatrical analogues to Oppenheimer's documentary The Act of Killing. She was curious how local contemporary theatre artists were digesting past war crimes in the context of rich theatre tradition and monstrous tourism industry. Broke, alone, disappointed, and shaken up by dengue fever she came back to Europe after two months of tropical wandering.
YOUNG CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS: PERFORMANCE AND SPACE * VILNIUS 2014
The ethnographic fieldwork conducted in winter-spring 2014 investigated the perception of city, space and performative practices among young local artists including Kipras Dubauskas, Augustas Serapinas, Marija Puipaitė, Vitalij Červiakov, Vytenis Burokas, among others. It culminated in curatorial work on MINEO festival - an excursion based two-day event in unforeseen city's spaces and territories. The development of this first incarnation of MINEO was directly inspired by Palekaitė's collaboration with the artist K. Dubauskas. The research resulted in Palekaitė's MA thesis in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Vienna, which was solicited for her first book publication Conditions of Creativity: Ethnographic research among young contemporary artists in Vilnius 2015.
JU/'HOANSI SAN * GRASHOEK VILLAGE * NAMIBIA 2014
In 2014, along with a group of students from the University of Vienna, Palekaitė went to a village in Namibia where the San people (also known as bushmen) live. There, local community guided by a European-type NGO created a Living Museum - an artificial "traditional" San village in order to perform their identity and sustain their needs. The perception of space and performativity in the context of commodification of culture were Palekaite's themes in this research.
With Alicja Khatchikian she presented The performing body-in-space through the lens: The Living Museum in Namibia as a joint conference paper in the Anthropology and Photography conference at the Royal Antropology Institute, London
Palekaitė's article The Non-Existent That Never Was: The Inconsistency of the Contemporary San-space was published in the main Lithuanian anthropological journal Lithuanian Ethnology (Lietuvos etnologija) 14.
"The Living Museum claims to work as “a school for history and culture” but what one witnesses in Grashoek is a surreal composition of disjoint structures and perceptions of time and space. The unreflected void of time emerges when two times: contemporaneity and contemporary imagination of pre-history are being contrasted. The culture is, without doubt, being commodified and ethnicity – a recent invention among the San, suits the market of ethno-tourism and serves the principles of othering. Commodification of culture itself perverts the natural balance between a producer and a consumer: in a culture the producers are also its consumers, seeing and sensing and listening to themselves, and, hence, enacting their identity, whereas in a commodified culture the outsider is required to prove the “authentic”, and the cultural practices objectify themselves."