On texture and tinted light in Old Town
The daylight over central Kaunas is gray and wet with winter. It falls, delicate as the snow of which it is sire, to the uneven Belgian block of Vilniaus gatvė. On this, the oldest street in the oldest part of the city, light and ice alike deliquesce and drain away into dingy puddles. The puddles reflect, like smudged mirrors among the setts, the intricate texture of the city’s center, one informed quite wonderfully by cohabiting architectural styles coated with an alluring patina of disrepair.
On lindens and leather along
Dark and dormant lindens line the center of Laisvės alėja. The pedestrian avenue extends, like a long, exhaled breath in a lacuna between eras, from the edge of Old Town to the Neo-Byzantine eyes of St. Michael the Archangel, forming the very soul of New Town. Here, mortar cracks and crumbles from facades, exposing brick, and the light from street lamps can be traced in the polished shafts of a thousand leather boots, the winter-hardened heel of each one grinding grit into the walkways between stoic modernist structures.
On street art, unsanctioned
From Old Town to New Town, no surface, it seems, is safe from graffiti. Indeed, central Kaunas is literally covered in it. Yet, much like Kaunas itself, the city’s unsanctioned street art is a mixture of messages ranging from the political to the purely artistic and whimsical. Though graffiti is, without a doubt, an undesirable element in the eyes of many, it possesses the peculiar power to transform surfaces meant to communicate only one message into bulletin boards that communicate many, thus making it, in a sense, the voice of citizens who may feel that they have none otherwise.