It is with great pleasure that The Regionals Committee announces Lithuania as the newest country to join the Regional Network, and the first of the Baltic States to be added to our World Map!
While it’s no surprise that Burners are everywhere, we were particularly intrigued when our new Lithuanian Regional Contact, Geidrius Kavaliauskas aka “Goku” first wrote the Burning Man office about a year ago to express his interest in the Regional Contact role. Not only did Lithuania seem like an exotic place for Burner culture to emerge but the group of about 40 Burners and artists that has formed over the past few years in the capital city of Vilnius seemed to be working hard to integrate the ethos of Black Rock City with that of their Baltic home. The “LT Burners” (as they are known on Facebook) are using a blend of performance, ritual, film and interactive art to educate Lithuanians about Burning Man and Burners about Lithuanian culture.
This year, Black Rock City will be home to the first ever Lithuanian theme camp: The Blukis Camp. The Blukis Camp members will be sharing their Lithuania culture with Black Rock Citizens in a variety of ways. One such way is through the tradition of the “Blukis.” The word “Blukis” in Lithuanian means “tree stump” and is a symbol of underworld spirits. According to pagan tradition in Lithuania and many other Indo-European countries, to drag a Blukis around from house to house and then burn it is to perform a ceremonial act intended to free the Sun and good spirits from the dark underworld. In keeping with this tradition, the LT Burners and other participants will drag a Blukis (on wheels) around the playa this Summer and burn it at the end of Burning Man, thereby releasing their fears, sorrows, and emotional baggage to make room for positive new experiences and emotions. The LT Burners will also be hosting percussion sessions at their camp, inviting participants to play percussion instruments, sing Lithuania chants called “Sutartines” and learn contact improvisation. They also plan to share Lithuanian potato pancakes (yum!), host clay workshops during which participants can make clay amulets, pipes and medallions. Through ritual, music, crafts, and food, Blukis Camp members will be offering the citizens of BRC the opportunity to learn a great deal about Lithuanian culture. You won’t be able to miss The Blukis Camp as it will be in the shape of a giant tree stump! In preparation for their debut in Black Rock City, the LT Burners are planning to do a pilot run of their theme camp at the Nowhere Regional event in Zaragosa, Spain.
In addition to setting up The Blukis Camp, Lithuania artist and 2011 Burning Man Honorarium Art Grant recipient Jonas Dovydenas and several other members of The Blukis Camp are bringing a bike-powered cinema called Velocinema to the playa. Ten bicycles will be placed in special stands equipped with power generators and wired to a video projector which uses the power created by the bicycle-riders to cast movies up on a giant screen. During the evening, participants will enjoy films about Rites of Passage and during the day, participants can charge up their electronic devices. Over the Summer, the Velocinema crew has plans to bring their interactive art piece to several festivals across Lithuania. They will be showing films from the Burning Man Film Festival in a Box program on the Velocinema screen as a means of educating Lithuanians about Burning Man.
During the month of June, Goku and the other Lithuanian Burners plan to hold the Burning Man Film Festival in a Box in Vilnius as well as in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city. During the Burning Man Film Festival, the LT Burners will also be telling their local community members about their Blukis Theme Camp. And…who knows? The LT Burners might even have a film to contribute to the Film Festival in a Box program by the end of 2011. They plan to create a documentary tracing the Blukis’ journey from Vilnius, to the Nowhere Regional event in Spain, and across the ocean to Black Rock City. Goku and crew, we can’t wait to see you on the playa!
For more information on the Lithuanian Regional group, visit the Lithuania page on the Regionals section of the website!