“The discos of Lithuania were once Soviet offices, detention centers, weapons storage, rare Lithuanian mushroom-packing plants… who knows? One can dream of their former incarnations and feel that, no matter how grim, they are being violently shoved into history by the hungry young bodies Andrew photographs. These fashionably thin embodiments are literally the heirs of hunger. Poured into Western jeans and poses, they look like bewildered time-travelers who emerged in these shifting prisons to liberate them for dance. Andrew’s photographs capture a generation born to bewilderment: the disko kids still carry the past in their eyes and hard-to-maintain indifference, but they are the creatures of a very brief moment in time, one that will never ever exist again except in these pictures.Miksys has caught a fleeting world that emanates death and hope in the pulses of ephemeral disco lights.”– Andrei Codrescu, Poet, Novelist, and National Public Radio essayist
“Photographer Andrew Miksys, a seasoned traveler, ventures into the spring of Belarus with the eye of a magician. He knows the local terrain well: the distant officialdom and intimate circles, public and private, closed and secret, cynical and welcoming, recorded and discarded, winter and summer, the risky future and the scarcity of hope. In search of the space in between, he builds his itinerary as a conceptual trick, following the ideological formulas in expectation of finding the human landscape. Thus, his photographs are not so much a record of Belarus in bloom – an archive of an official jubilation – but a diorama of the solitude of the celebration. Elegiac in color, this marvelous exposé registers Belarus in disjunction. In his photographs of national holidays, however, Miksys enters not only the fractured nature of Belarus or its inherently split personality, but also the twofold reality of the country.”– Laimonis Briedis, writer and historian, and author of Vilnius City of Strangers
Andrew Miksys has been living and photographing in Lithuania for the last 15 years. He’s worked on many projects including series about the Roma (Gypsies) of Lithuania, village discos in the Lithuanian countryside and a new ongoing project in Belarus. Miksys’ approach is to work with his subjects over many years allowing his experiences along the way to guide him. Questions seem more interesting to him than answers and his photography is often at the intersection of fine art, documentary, social justice, politics and history. During his talk he will discuss the evolution of his projects how some were transformed in ways he never could have imagined. And if you’ve never seen a Belorussian pioneer (girl scout) singing in a rap video, come check it out!
Andrew Miksys’ photography has been shown internationally including exhibitions at the Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, De Appel Contemporary Arts Centre (Amsterdam) and Fotohof (Salzburg). In 2002 he was selected by Photo District News (PDN) as one of the “top 30 emerging photographers to watch” and in 2006 he was featured in Slate magazine as Slate’s “Artist of the Month”. In 2007 he published, BAXT, a book of photographs from his series about the Lithuanian Roma (Gypsy) community. His lates book DISKO will be published in September. Miksys has also been the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright, the Aaron Siskind Foundation and Light Work. His photography has been featured in several magazines and online including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire Russia, CBS News and The Stranger. A native of Seattle he has been living in Vilnius, Lithuania for 15 years.
Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock was born in New York City and divides his time between New York and Japan. His projects range across the mediums of photography, film, and sculpture, in addition to curatorial projects. He was resident artist in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s WorldViews studio residency program at the World Trade Center and the Shatana International Artist’s residency in Jordan. He has taught at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the School of Visual Arts, and Parsons The New School For Design. He currently teaches in the Department of Visual Art at Fordham University in New York City where he directs the photography concentration. Exhibitions of his work and projects have taken place over the past three years in The Kingdom of Bahrain, France, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Spain, Switzerland, and Syria.