Global calendar of Jonas Mekas’ centennial is already online


2022 01 12


After the start of Jonas Mekas’ centennial, the Lithuanian Culture Institute and its partners who are coordinating the international programme ‘Jonas Mekas 100!’ present the internet calendar

The frequently updated website, presented as a diary, makes it possible to find all international events dedicated to the centennial in one place and find out how Mekas’ life and work with be celebrated in Denmark, Italy, Israel, the USA, the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, South Korea, France, Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Germany and other countries of the world.

The programme of over 50 events, which continues to expand, has been prepared jointly by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Cultural Attaché of Lithuania and the Estate of Jonas Mekas established by Mekas’ son Sebastian Mekas as well as the artist’s close friends: director, cinema curator, film distributor Pip Chodorov and director Julius Ziz (Žižliauskas).

Diary of the centennial’s events

“While preparing the programme with the partners, we realised that the geography of Jonas Mekas’ centennial events will encompass the entire world. While making the calendar, we thought about how to use the events dedicated to this creator to both present what is happening in their neighbourhood and, in parallel, to show the initiatives in other countries. The website’s structure, which is reminiscent of a diary, was suggested by the design agency Acid: it is both close to Jonas Mekas and comfortable to the user. When we visit the page, we immediately end up on the calendar’s page of the relevant month and we can also see what has already happened and what is still upcoming and we can choose events based on the topics we are interested in. This page is also an archive in which we announce the constantly updated calendar of events and record the significance of Jonas Mekas’ ideas in different cultural contexts”, Asta Visminaitė, the project’s coordinator and project manager at the Lithuanian Culture Institute, said.

The core of the internet calendar’s visual solution consists of the logo of the international programme of the centennial events of Jonas Mekas’ year, which was made by the artist’s family, friends and designer Anastasia Zizliauskas. The logo’s composition comprises Jonas Mekas’ authentic signature, which is reminiscent of a hat he wore, and the caption ‘Jonas Mekas 100!’ printed using the artist’s typewriter. The caption conceals an interesting story: the typewriter, Olympia Deluxe, which was purchased in Chicago in 1955, had been updated by Mekas with characters of Lithuanian alphabet, thus there was no space left for the exclamation point. If needed, the artist used to write it by hand. When making the logo, the exclamation point was written by hand by his son Sebastian Mekas.

The diary of the Jonas Mekas centennial also introduces the biography of the avant-garde filmmaker, film critic, writer and poet, the idea of the centennial programme, and information on the organisations that contributed to the programme. The centennial programme is presented in the music video made by Lina Lužytė and Urtė Oettinger.

Kaleidoscope of events

The programme prepared for the birth centennial of Jonas Mekas consists of film screenings, exhibitions, video installations, concerts, poetry readings, programmes of discussions and themed residences, creative workshops of poetry translation, publishing ideas and other initiatives.

Currently, a programme of Mekas’ ten films is shown at Close-Up Film Centre in London (until 30 January).

South Korean publisher Jiazazhi will publish a translation of Conversation with Film-Makers: Movie Journal Columns from 1961 to 1975 early this year. Israel’s poetry journal HO! will print Jonas Mekas’ poetry translated by Sivan Beskin as well as an introductory article written by the poet Aušra Kaziliūnaitė.

In February, exhibition Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running will be opened at the Jewish Museum in New York. It will be complemented by a monograph of the same name prepared by Kelly Taxter, Inesa Brašiškė and Lukas Brašiškis which has been published by Yale University Press, the Jewish Museum and the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.

Various events and initiatives will continue throughout 2022 and even beyond.

The partners of the programme Jonas Mekas 100! are the New York-based Jewish Museum and Lincoln Center, Monira Foundation in Jersey (USA), Rome’s Palace of Exhibitions (Italy), Tel Aviv’s Felicja Blumental Music Center and Library (Israel), HOME Manchester (UK), Camargo Foundation (France), Wroclaw’s New Horizons Film Festival (Poland), Tampere Film Festival (Finland), publishing house Spector Books (Germany), Busan Short Film Festival (South Korea) etc. Extensive film programmes are planned in the cinema institutes of France and Denmark as well as cinemateques of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The project’s special partner in Lithuania is the Lithuanian Film Centre.

The programme Jonas Mekas 100! Is coordinated and organised by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, Estate of Jonas Mekas and Lithuania’s Cultural Attaché, partial funding is provided by the Ministry of Culture.

Information by the Lithuanian Culture Institute

Photo from the funds of Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum