Gediminas Urbonas is artist and educator, and co-founder (with Nomeda Urbonas) of Urbonas Studio – an interdisciplinary research program that advocates for the reclamation of public culture in the face of overwhelming privatization, stimulating cultural and political imagination as tools for social change. Often beginning with archival research, their methodology unfolds complex participatory works investigating the urban environment, architectural developments, and cultural and technological heritage.
The Urbonases have established their international reputation for socially interactive and interdisciplinary practice exploring the conflicts and contradictions posed by the economic, social, and political conditions of countries in transition. Working in collaboration they develop models for social and artistic practice with the interest to design organizational structures that question 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, their 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.
They are also co-founders of VILMA (Vilnius Interdisciplinary Lab for Media Art), and VOICE, a net based publication on media culture. They have exhibited internationally including the San Paulo, Berlin, Moscow, Lyon and Gwangju Biennales – and Manifesta and Documenta exhibitions – among numerous other international shows, including a solo show at the Venice Biennale and MACBA in Barcelona. Their work was 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 (2008); a Prize for the Best International Artist at the Gwangju Biennale (2006) and the Special Prize for the best national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007).
Their writings on artistic research as a form of intervention to social and political crisis was published in the books Devices for Action (2008) by MACBA Press, Barcelona and Villa Lituania (2008) by Sternberg Press.
Gediminas Urbonas is Associate Professor in Visual Arts at ACT – the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology.