Kuriu Vilniu

Proposed orchard with open-air-kitchen

“The main objectives of the “Kuriu Vilniu” programme aim to reveal the identity of specific public
spaces in the city and to promote positive aesthetic and social changes in the local community,
support the artistic installations in the city, bring together residents and artists, enliven the social
environment, activate business participation in the urban development, and stimulate the debate
on urban art forms.
We think that it is time to draw attention away from the Vilnius city centre and look at the
environment of its “true inhabitants” at the “sleeping districts” by inviting an artist who could think
about a public artwork proposal that would invite a new look to the spatial and cultural heritage
of the place, imagine new ways of collective experiences, or assign new aspirations to the
existing conditions.

  • The agriculture past / Current conditions vs. Future (How spatial configuration of “home”

Historical context: the population growth in urban areas at the time of Soviet regime (80s-90s)
brutally reshaped all largest Lithuanian cities. Many countryside landscapes were transformed
into districts representing modernist-socialist architectural fantasies of efficient and equal urban
living.
Unfortunately, the limited resources and current trends in prefabricated building structures led
the design of these new districts to uniform solutions that differ very little from one another.
Imagine, only a little bit more than 35 years ago, the micro-rayon Fabijoniskes, located at the
Northern part of Vilnius, was still a village. Named after Fabian, a name that derives from the
Latin faba for a broad bean, the area was famous for its agricultural fields since the 17th
century. And today it is the most populated city part that experiences the issues of an aging
population, worn-out buildings and public infrastructure, dominance of car parkings, and
more-than-ever individualistic lifestyle in the neighbourhood.
Put these issues aside, no one would say that Fabijoniskes misses the unique charm thanks to
its photogenic architecture and trees that slowly started to dominate and take over the green
areas. It is considered one of the safest neighbourhoods in Vilnius and continues to attract new
urban development projects.”
Sigita Simone

Devil Hotel — text Helena Aleksandrova

Devil Hotel, collab. Bert Jacobs — Helena Aleksandrova

in the context of the 4th edition of Yart

at Geraard DeDuivelsteen in Ghent, Belgium

Site-specific sculpture, performance, video installation
15 March – 15 April, 2019 residency at Geraard De Duivelsteen
19 July – 26 July, 2019 group exhibition at Geraard De Duivelsteen

Devil Hotel focuses on the truth and fake news and what are the ways of storytelling people use to create stories and urban legends. With the fake sign Devil Hotel crowning the castle for a month, we achieved the desired result and got newspapers and radios contacting us thinking it was a real hotel.

On 28th March we organised a performative participatory happening. During the event we asked everyone to dress up as a gala dinner to create a cinematographic setting in the walls of the castle. We prepared the set design as well. During the event we gave out the directions for participants to act out for the camera – example: pretend to be dead, wear a mask, spin while dancing etc. We recorded the performance. The video was edited as a surveillance camera footage to question the format of CCTV cameras. CCTV camera eye is the ultimate mediator of truth but how can this be manipulated and turned into the fantasy combining the urban legends around the castle and surreal events that could or could not happen in the castle. The video was presented in July in the group exhibition.

Media Coverage: 

1. Duivelsteen in Hollywood-stijl, Het Laatste Nieuws

2. Duivels Hotel in Gent-Centrum, Het Niewsblad

​3. Radio 2 Ghent, interview

https://www.helena-aleksandrova.com/devil-hotel

photo © Matthias Yzebaert, Yart.be, 2019