interdisciplinary art programmes
September 4th, 2013

Frontiers in Retreat. Multidisciplinary Approaches to Ecology in Contemporary Art

Jutempus is taking part in organisation of Frontiers in Retreat project, developing its Art Education Programme with a focus on multidisciplinary methodologies and sustainability in artistic research, working closely with the educational institutions to organise a series of student workshops, research days, field trips and exchanges. The programme will unfold alongside the various stages of the project, involve the artists and their research processes and form a base for a sustainable art education and research network.

Frontiers in Retreat broadens the understanding of global ecological changes and their local impacts on European natural environments by means of contemporary artistic practices and multidisciplinary approach. It responds to an urgency to redefine relationships with environments that are decreasing in permanent habitation while at the same time facing increasing attention for various ecological and economic reasons. Frontiers, specific “natural environments” within Europe, seemingly detached from the urban areas, are approached in the project as sites where global ecological concerns in their complexity become apparent.

Frontiers in Retreat is organised by HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme in partnership with the art organisations Mustarinda, Finland; Scottish Sculpture Workshop – SSW, Scotland; Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE, Latvia; Cultural Front – GRAD, Serbia; Centre d’Art i Natura de Farrera, Spain; Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art, Iceland; and Jutempus, Lithuania. Frontiers in Retreat has been funded with support from the EU Culture Programme for the years 2013–2018.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Frontiers in Retreat is a unique platform that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological issues within a new European network of artist residencies. Seven residency centres invite 20 contemporary visual artists from across Europe to research the particular ecological contexts, to nurture knowledge exchange between diverse disciplines in incubator workshops, to move within the residency network, and to produce new art works to be exhibited at the end of the five-year process.

Incubators are organised by each residency centre in order to foster the interdisciplinary aspects and methods of the artistic research processes. The artistic projects form the base for the incubators in each location as they bring together different disciplines around shared, locally specific concerns that the artists are working on during their residencies. Incubators function in the project as key nodes of contact and knowledge exchange between the partners, their curators, the artists, different disciplines and the ecological contexts of the residencies. The incubators are closed workshops with invited participants, yet they may also include a public aspect in support of the other outreach programme in each location.

An extensive outreach and education programme supports the dissemination of creative and critical output with events for local target groups as well as a series of research activities organised in collaboration with art education institutions. The outreach activities are focused on the artistic and interdisciplinary approaches to ecology, reflecting local concerns in the wider European frame. The focus here is on developing multidisciplinary methodologies in art education and artistic research with a focus on sustainability. The participating artists contribute to this with their ongoing research. The education programme will be concluded by an international seminar in Hordaland Art Centre in Norway.

At the end of the project an exhibition takes place simultaneously in all locations of the residency partners. The project produces a permanent archive out of the research processes at each residency location, a web platform connecting these sites and a publication.

Frontiers in Retreat /Jutempus team:
Gediminas & Nomeda Urbonai – VšĮ Jutempus founders, contact: info[…]
Viktorija Šiaulytė – coordinator, contact: viktorija[…]


Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas have established an international reputation for socially interactive and interdisciplinary practice exploring the conflicts and contradictions posed by the economic, social, and political conditions in the former Soviet countries. They develop models for social and artistic practice with the interest to design organizational structures that questions the relativity of freedom. They use art platform to render public spaces for interaction and engagement of the social groups, evoking local communities and encouraging their cultural and political imagination.

Combining the tools of new and traditional media, Urbonas’s work frequently involves collective activities such as workshops, lectures, debates, TV programs, Internet chat-rooms and public protests that stand at the intersection of art, technology and social criticism. Urbonas are the cofounders of JUTEMPUS interdisciplinary art program, VILMA (Vilnius Interdisciplinary Lab for Media Art), and VOICE, a net based publication on media culture. Their works were exhibited at the San Paulo, Berlin, Moscow, Lyon and Gwangju and Venice Biennales, Manifesta and Documenta exhibitions – among numerous other international shows, including a solo show at MACBA in Barcelona. They have been awarded a number of high level grants and residency awards, including the Lithuanian National Prize (2007); a fellowship at the Montalvo Arts Center in California (2007/08); a Prize for the Best International Artist at the Gwangju Biennale (2006) and the Honourable Mention for the national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007).

Gediminas Urbonas is an Associate Professor in the Art, Culture and Technology Program at MIT. Nomeda Urbonas is PhD researcher at Norwegian University for Science and Technology.


Viktorija Šiaulytė holds a MFA in Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice from Konstfack, Stockholm. Her recent collaborative projects include Awkward Dinner together with Ivana Králiková and Michael Bäckström among others, and Spheres of Power. Tension&Exchange with Juste Kostikovaite. She is currently co-editor of Architecture [publication] Fund, an online publication on urban environment as well as co-founder with Marta Dauliūtė and Elisabeth Marjanovic Cronvall of Last Project, a platform for new methods of working with the audience engagement through long-term collaborative productions.


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