THE WAY OF LIVING AND LAW OF THE UŽUPEANS
Approved by the Užupis Community Senate on November 24, 2014
1. Purpose of the Code
1.1. Užupis community is governed by customary law, inspirational examples, dreams, insights, mythologies. This Code only lays down certain rules for communal being, and this is done in order to facilitate better understanding.
2.1. Užupis is a part of Vilnius that belongs to everyone and to no one personally.
2.2. Užupis – everyone who creates, lives, works and engages in other activities in and around Užupis.
2.3. The essence of the co-creation and communication of the inhabitants of Užupis are- unpaid activities based on volunteering and donation. This is completely in line with the execution of individual funded projects or the settlement of payments with hired persons and service providers.
2.4. There is a multi-polar principle in Užupis, with the widest possible range of independent and unrestricted activities (with the full responsibility of those involved). The more these activities, the more enriched we all are.
2.5. Užupis name is not a commodity.
3. The community of Užupis
3.1. The community of Užupis is a whole community of residents of Užupis who share ideas, goals, needs or just a sense of community.
3.2. According to the tradition-tested and established procedure, the decisions of the Užupis community are made by consensus at informal meetings and are carried out on a voluntary basis. The Association “Užupis Community” (UC) and other official structures are involved in interaction only when necessary.
3.3. The community of Užupis uses the influence and reputation of its members, all formal and informal levers, to achieve its goals.
3.4. The community of Užupis is officially represented by UC. Only authorized representatives may speak on behalf of UC.
3.5. Užupis community projects are managed and funded through UC, whose financial activities and reports must be fully transparent and accessible to all.
4. Republic of Užupis
4.1. The Republic of Užupis is a collective creation of the community of Užupis, where everyone can voluntarily create and develop. The Republic of Užupis is not for granted.
4.2. The Republic of Užupis is related to Užupis, but it is not restricted by any territory, state or other borders, nationality, citizenship, party affiliation and so on.
4.3. Anyone could become a citizen of the Republic of Užupis who has become acquainted with the Constitution of the Republic of Užupis an decided so. Every citizen of the Republic of Užupis must visit Užupis at least once in his life.
4.4. The name, property and symbolism of the Republic of Užupis are protected from unlawful interference by the community of Užupis and the law of the friendly neighboring Republic of Lithuania.
5. Validity of the Communal Code
5.1. This Code also applies to relationships existing prior to the date of this Code, i.e. from the emergence of the respective Communal customs
October 1, 2015, Vilnius
For nineteen years, as the Republic of Užupis and its idea are alive, we learned not to be smart, not rich, not happy – to learn to be together. In order to be able to co-host, to have the opportunity to talk, a need for standards came into being based on shared values – language, culture, justice were established. We also tried to identify this world. Create Flags, Calendar, Map, i.e. to erect landmarks on which infinity rests. To create a small universe. To build a bridge, a connection over the abyss of misunderstanding of cultures, believing that Openness is a gift from Heaven. A citizen of Užupis can be a person who lives in Tokyo, in Balbieriškis, and in New York… One just needs love this place, just be responsible for it. “Užupis is so small that there is enough space for everyone.” We didn’t build buildings, we built Houses. These are completely different things. So we did not repair or reconstruct, we have revitalized, i.e. refreshed this abandoned space. This Street of Death. We believed that only creation could overcome death… We refreshed the self-image, self-esteem, self-awareness of this space. We believed in the possibility of relationships. That’s why we’re together. If the word stranger appears in the house, it is no longer home… We believed: If we act consistently, without subservience, without insinuation rearward, Užupis will rise physically. In my mind, the goal is the quality of being, not the illusion of being. I have spent several years in the cinema, so I am more or less familiar with the art of props. Its professionals are absolutely necessary when it comes to installing a block house, a tile hat, to cover asphalt overnight with sand… To make a full moon vision, an illusion of small fragments. I do not know when I realized it… Maybe when one of the most famous directors in the world, Werner Herzog, shot the movie “Invincible” in Užupis. “President, will you help me? – asked, lifting me up on the “stool” and putting the megaphone in my hands to control the mass of extras. “Ok maestro,” I replied. I was handling it. I tried. Unfortunately, the film was accompanied by a “crisis of genre”. Comedy or tragedy (as Aristotle once argued) requires the inadequacy of the situation, i. e. so that the hero’s efforts, actions, sudden changes of action would cause sympathy or laughter. This movie was missing that… I think it is dramatically perfectly inadequate to create a new Old Town Quarter in 21st Century Vilnius, that even the props will not dismantle out the next day… Put everything back in order again, so that the historical development of Vilnius will not suffocate in the friction of the movie extras!”- the director of Vilnius city will shout, escorted by approving applause of producers (I don’t know, is it comedy or tragedy?). To create a grandiose grand Hollywood in a small island donated by the Vilnia River is a truly ambitious, challenging vision. A sacred grove – maybe it would be suitable… Although, as I recall, the it was suggested that the landscape be complemented by great Lithuanian composer M.K. Čiurlionis’ funeral cycle “The Cypress Trail”. In the evening powerful congestion rushes on roads to sleeping districts of the city. Nobody is to blame. “The predecessors had to think about it. Much sooner!” says the new (i.e. real) Capital Authority, as usual with their arms folded. How to name the drama of Užupis development? Unfortunately, the main conflict is, as always have been, between the idea and the money… At the intersection of idealism and materialism there is a confusion of values: The house, the market and the shrine all came under one roof. Concern is the same! Living in shop windows of shining supermarket, in a sacred space of consumerism, or accidental settling in Disneyland (animator’s will) – with a Mickey Mouse must-smile… To repeat (to myself and others), “I’m happy, I’m so happy! Everything will be fine”. Question – Culture gives birth to comfort, or comfort to culture? Mom used to say, “The replete bird does not sing. Nature does not recognize excess. It is unfair to me to bring the elements of nature (lust, lack, greed) into the subconscious – into the soul of innocent homeowners, and not constructively, through cultural skills, to solve problems and conflicts programmed in this situation. It’s just wicked. When newcomers inevitably find themselves in need of help after a while, the Doctor will tell them, “Where have you been before?” Although they all are innocent… All newcomers are innocent! This is a terra incognita, a whole new space, they encountered for the first time… The only ones who will be left responsible of the Promised Land for newcomers are The Tempters and the trustworthy, unassuming Indigenous people (residents of the local community) who are incapable of assessing or affecting the maturing situations and responsibilities. Responsibility: before and after – it differs in its fruits! Is it possible to destroy U˛upis by building it? It has been repeatedly attempted to do so … It is said that there were intentions to destroy the Bernardine cemetery, to build there Soviet blocks similar to Žirmūnai district. Rescued by Geleda Dzerzhinskaya (who died in 1896). Neither Jozef Czechovich or Stanislaw Filibert Fleury – an excellent photography poets of Uzupis and Vilnius, ideologized remains of the rebels or their weapons, concealed in the cemetery were important either. Only the burial of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky’s mother saved cemetery from the “refreshing” construction. Not crossed by tractors and rollers. But they could and probably wanted… But didn’t dare … The oldest suburb of Vilnius, on the main road to Polotsk of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later the Republic of Both Nations… The space that was lost and lamented by Sigismund Augustus. The path by which Stephen Bator returned triumphantly after defeating his Eastern neighbors. It was here that he buried his freemason general Bekes when he was brought here. He buried not on the ordained place, but the holy place on the shore of Vilnia river. Yes, by this path, nature-inspired, spirit-inspired philomaths, Adam Mickiewicz and Tom Zan, traveled to Belmont. Such is the path of the oldest suburb of Vilnius, such history, such a legacy… Was it or is it? Sapce of Užupis: the crossroads in heaven between myth and history – very fragile… As the dismantled Jewish cemetery in Užupis. Fragile like life itself.