On 4 May, the Swedish non-governmental organisation Film i Samtidskonst (Film in Contemporary Art) opened a programme of films and talks dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas with one of Mekas’ most well-known films, Walden. The screening of the film was accompanied by a conversation between Isabella Tjäder, producer and curator of the Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm INDEX, Cecilia Björk, curator of the Jonas Mekas’ programme, and Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, culture attaché of the Republic of Lithuania.
The opening of the events programme celebrating Jonas Meka in Stockholm took place in one of Sweden’s oldest cinemas, Zita Folkets Bio, which was first opened in the centre of Stockholm back in 1913 and still retains a lot of its authentic features. It is also known as a cinema that is cherished by fans of auteur cinema.
“We are showing Jonas Mekas’ films because he had a great influence on the young generation of artists both in Sweden and around the world. His entire life project and artistic activities have been an important source of inspiration for many creators who work in cinema and other art fields today. It is especially gratifying that Jonas Mekas visited Stockholm back in 1980. His visit was related to the exhibition The Pleasure Dome – Amerikansk Experimentfilm 1939-1979: he co-curated it with colleague Claes Söderquist at MODERNA MUSEET, Sweden’s national museum of modern art, and it became one of Sweden’s biggest investments in experimental cinema to date, bringing Sweden closer to the world art scene in many ways. The exhibition was held during one of the most important and vibrant periods of the museum’s activity. Now, we are truly delighted to include Jonas Mekas in our programme Stockholm på Film (Stockholm in Film) by showing the film he made during his trip to Stockholm in preparation for the Pleasure Dome exhibition,” shared Nathalie Ålbeck, the director of the organisation Film i Samtidskonst.
On 18 May, another film by Jonas Mekas, Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man, was presented in the cinema Zita Folkets Bio, which also hosted a discussion about the influence and importance of Jonas Mekas on Swedish and world art. Also, Jonas Mekas’ film Song of Stockholm was available to watch for free as part of the Stockholm in Film programme on the Film i Samtidskonst platform https://www.filmisamtidskonsten.se/stream/jonas.
The Swedish non-governmental organisation Film i Samtidskonst explores the currents of contemporary art cinema and video art with the aim of presenting as many films as possible: films that deal with a variety of themes and that present a wide range of narrative and visual techniques.
The Jonas Mekas film and talk programme in Stockholm was initiated and coordinated by Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, cultural attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in Sweden, Finland and Denmark, while the film programme was prepared by the Swedish organisation Film i Samtidskonst and curated by Cecilia Björk. The project was financed by the Lithuanian Culture Institute and the Swedish Arts Council.
The international programme dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas, comprising over 50 various events, has been prepared by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Lithuanian cultural attachés and the Estate of Jonas Mekas. Film screenings, exhibitions, video installations, concerts, poetry readings, discussion and thematic residency programmes, poetry translation workshops, publishing projects and other initiatives have been taking place in leading cultural institutions in many countries around the world. The programme is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The Jonas Mekas 100! programme is available on the website www.jonasmekas100.com