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Bubble gum sticker collections. Running to the kiosk to buy the latest edition of your favorite magazine. Choosing between red and green sweatpants (nobody would ever think about black or gray back in the days). Exchanging mixtapes and hoping one morning you’re gonna wake up and find a Walkman under your pillow, no matter, it’s not Christmas nor your Birthday. Everybody, especially those who were in their teens then, could easily make a never-ending list of 90s nostalgia. Elena Krukonyte, the creator of insanely popular and beloved Instagram page 90s_lithuania, could definitely guess a thing or two from your list because she‘s making the ultimate one. And we are lucky to be invited to this 90s feast. 

Was it the colourful 90s ads, magazines, and TV that gave you an idea to create this IG page? Or maybe you had this idea before the visual trip of this decade started? 

I was born in 1998 and grew up watching Lithuanian TV, reading Lithuanian magazines, and listening to Lithuanian radio. Spectated the first Lithuanian reality show Akvariumas through the glass in Akropolis shopping mall in Vilnius. Ate white curd snacks with poppyseeds. Remember how Vilnius Mindaugas Maxima shop looked like after every reconstruction. And I know by heart every single episode of Rolandas Kazlas’ “Nekenčiu reklamos” (En: “I Hate Advertisements”). 

I created 90s_lithuania in order to collect all the memories which formed the identity of my generation. And the culture of independent Lithuania.

I created 90s_lithuania to collect all the memories which formed the identity of my generation. And the culture of independent Lithuania. I am interested in the relation between past and present. This Instagram account is a place where past and present merge into a new reality.

Elena Krukonyte
Elena Krukonyte

What is the most important in for you – aesthetics? The form of a lively archive or maybe the stories behind all these vibrant pictures the 90s left for us? 

Almost three years ago, when I started this Instagram account, I, as a photographer and as an artist, perceived visual art differently – I believed that aesthetics, causing certain feelings to a viewer, is the essential criteria for art. So, the primary reason for creating 90s_lithuania was purely aesthetic. However, photography studies in The Hague changed my perception. Now I understand visual art as a medium for expressing ideas, telling stories, or simply exploring the world. Lithuanian 90s aesthetics have their own historical and cultural context, which attracts my followers. Therefore, all three components – aesthetics, archive, and stories – are equally important in my page. 

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TV show ‘I Hate Advertisements’

It seems like we are trying to copy all the precious moments 90s brought to this world, sometimes. It can be noticed in everyday life, fashion, design, everywhere. Would you say it’s a lack of ideas? Or maybe a pure nostalgia of the generation, who then experienced its childhood and youth? 

Environment, contemporary culture, design trends, music, and parenting shape human aesthetic and moral values.

It is not a lack of ideas but a natural phenomenon that demonstrates the interaction between past and present. To better understand this, we should look at how aesthetic trends are born. First of all, when a child is born, he does not yet realize himself. During childhood (up to ∼12 years old), a person’s primary aesthetic perception is formed. It’s the environment, contemporary culture, design trends, music, and parenting that shape human aesthetic and moral values. When an individual grows up (∼25 years old), aesthetic values and taste are finally formed – he knows what he likes and dislikes. In his 20s, a person creates his own style by reflecting on aesthetic memories and replicating what he experienced during his childhood. That nostalgia is then combined with topics that are relevant today. This is how a new fashion, visual art, music, and many other trends are being born. 

90s aesthetics are relevant for almost 5 years now and moving on to 2000s aesthetics gradually.

I agree. 90s aesthetics are relevant for almost five years now. And moving on to 2000s aesthetics gradually, but I think that mimicry of the past is the birth of novelty.

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Presidential Couple Valdas Adamkus and Alma Adamkiene
The construction of Mindaugas Bridge in Vilnius
The construction of Mindaugas Bridge in Vilnius
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