We are constantly reaching out to connect with others – family, friends, colleagues. We talk with them and we follow them on social networks, alongside with numerous people we have never met, we read thoughts of people who have passed away. We communicate in words, images, gifs, music, Morse code, alarms, gunshots, headlines, ads, fake news and facial expressions.

It helps us to understand the world around us, our connection to it and the intentions of those around us. It helps us to stay safe, survive, accumulate knowledge, and then pass it on, because information is a universal currency.

A letter, telegram, fax, phone call, text message, email, skype, social networks: our means of communication are getting faster and more efficient, we can easily reach each other anywhere and anytime. The main paradigm of our existence today can be determined by placing us anywhere on a scale between “connected” and “offline”.

While working on the programme for SIRENOS this year, we have been thinking about the inter-generational relations and knowledge transfer. Every generation furiously sets out to destroy the remains of the past but then diligently builds its present and future using the same rubble. We have been discussing why every generation sees itself as misunderstood.

With the question of generational changes on our mind, in our programme we will talk about how we educate our kids and teach them to become part of our system. We teach them to know the world, admire its beauty, we teach them what is right and what is wrong.

However, are we always sure where the line has to be drawn? And aren’t things that we teach our kids today something that will be banned tomorrow? Should we teach them to become part of the system or perhaps the opposite – show them how to rebel and go against it? Where should we start if we want to have Lithuanian Greta Thunbergs?

Not long ago every family or society had a very clear hierarchical structure, at the top of which was “head of the family”. While patriarchal fabric is slowly deteriorating, we start noticing that young people no longer have someone to look up to and admire, no role models in the family or at school. All of them are followers and influencers at the same time.

So who could replace the role models for the young? And what is the main purpose of a teacher today? How can we prepare the young to live in a world which we are even incapable to imagine?

Yes, we can try to guess what the future holds but what about the past? Is it as easily manipulated as our memories? Is history a narrative reconstructed again and again by each generation?

Our festival has undergone significant changes in the past year, experienced excruciating losses and gained new members, which made us contemplate the process of transformation  and its breaking point which occurs at the greatest strain. The transformational process has a ripple effect and in turn it changes a mass of things that are connected.

Eventually, this year we want to speak about an effort to connect by ways of finding common ground, somewhere to start with. Our efforts don’t always pay off. And sometimes there is a massive urge to speak to someone you just no longer can reach.