Let's bring the goldsmiths back into the heart of Kaunas 0

Kastytis Rudokas
www.kamane.lt, 2016-01-26
Çatalhöyük. Photo from tumblr.com

In brief: Recently I wrote about the "pen architecture" in the Old Town of Kaunas. It is a way to drive out the goldsmith without the right to return, forcing him to move to Dainava or Šilainiai district and in doing so to lose the largest part of value of the city created over centuries. Therefore, I greatly rejoiced after reading that the building of the old horse post station should be turned into offices and that the Communications' Museum operating there will seize to exist. I have nothing against the museum, but experiencing the phenomenon, when the historical parts of the city are turned into "skansens" for eating and drinking, the 15 programmers working in that building will appear to be true goldsmiths.

According to one of the most famous researchers of urban economics Jane Jacobs, the only nations that were able to lay the foundation for civilization, as well as for the urban structure, were those who had the ability to successfully feed their people. Consequently, and not surprisingly, the first traces of civilizations known to us were found almost in the same latitude on both sides of the equator, in those places, where natural structure allowed to grow enough food. To paraphrase the author, we can even extend this postulate to our current consumerist economic system and to slightly cynically declare that the cornerstone of civilization was not as much food as its surplus. This is an economic theory.

On the other hand, the famous British archaeologist Ian Hodder derives the origin of urban culture from the ritual and claims that Çatalhöyük, which is considered to be the first city, not only came to be because of the need for collective ritual experience, but also became settled, in this case became an urban formation much before the population learned how to engage in agriculture and stock-breeding.

Thus I agree with the ideas of Protestantism, when the worship of God comes through the banal domestic economic action. In Kant's words, practical mind, especially since some form of activity is encoded in the genes of every living organism, let alone human, who has expressed powers of environmental management and change. In this case the goldsmith or bone carver has to be preserved as creating phenomenon, as a sign and an indicator of the fact that we really do have enough food. And really, it is very hard to discuss what defines a goldsmith in the 21st century Lithuania. This question can be answered in different ways, but I know for sure that it is impossible to preserve the goldsmith of Kernavė by echoing the fourteenth century modus operandi or, in other words, by museumification or visualizing the non-existing traditions. It is especially bad when museumification or monumentalization flourishes in the hearts of the cities, their Old Towns, replacing the actual activity.

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