Participated on my second Performing the Fringe walk/un-conference last weekend in Vilnius. The project is organized by curators Inga Lace & Jussi Koitela. On site we were also hosted by Ula Tornau from the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC). Hooked up with old friends I met in Stockholm (Andrej Polukord, Flo Kasearu, Jon Benjamin Tallerås) and I was introduced to new friends Lara Almarcegui and Michele Matyn. The visit was eventful and tightly scheduled. Upon arrival we gave short introductions to our work and sociologist Siarhei Liubimou presented his research. He had identified that soviet nuclear power-plant workers form tightly related groups and resemble an ethnicity. The workers are highly specialized and under the states protection. They can carry out their entire working careers in relation to different power-plants, live in semi-closed communities and their offspring often continue the work.
Liubimous talk on how people moving daily between European cities for work, can be understood as the core of the emerging pan-European population, offered an interesting framework for viewing how the temporary Performing the Fringe artist-network is organized: Our group was brought together trough synchronous movement, which was steered by abstract spatial targets (instead of articulated aims). Example. In Vilnius we attempted to reach a TV tower by foot and in the process the entire landscape we passed, merely facilitated our joined movement. Our movement made the city into an abstract surface, which I believe we read primarily in relation to our joined movement. Relationships in the group were informed by the landscape but not defined by it.
The next day Lina Albrikiene took us on an emotional walk in her childhood surroundings. Later she took us on a walk in Lazdynai, a district supposedly modeled after Tapiola (I made a video about their relationship 2012). Kipras Dubauskas took our group under the city, we walked a kilometer in old rainwater tunnels. Some parts of the tunnels were build using bricks and others were made from newer materials. It was a time-trip of sorts – The city felt like an organism. We visited Delta Mityba in the evening for the exhibition and eating. We were kindly hosted by Robertas Narkus who gave us a tour of the space and shared his experiences in combating gentrification. The next day Vitalij Cerviakov took us on a toxic-walk to the “most polluted” parts of the city. As we walked the landscape revealed itself like a narration. A notable vista opened when we approached new grave yards, which were situated between a barren wasteland and an Ikea, our movement felt like a movie. I think that the banks, national internet server facilities and parliaments are more toxic then the route we took. Our group talked non-stop during the trip (expect on the latter walk which was a silent) and we spend the nights visiting art events around the city.
Through Cerviakov’s toxic-walk, I arrived to the understanding that the contemporary art we saw in the city was trying to develop a narrative or some other reasoning, to explain the current state of affairs. Experiences of city habitats and creatives are not commonly known and people we met exhibited a strong desire to share their story or present how they had come to terms with the post-state of affairs. I could feel the weigh-of-the-west forcing people to articulate their desires (even though most desires are best left unarticulated, this does not mean unexposed). It felt like artists were defined by this forced-reasoning-process, either trough their protest against it or skills in aligning with it. Nostalgia that looks to a future, which failed to arrive is a viable form of protest: Some future communists want only wool shirts, yogurt and to share the faint heat of their shelters.
Watched Rocky VI (1986) by Aki Kaurismäki after the trip and understood better: Beating the referee and the audience is the only way to win and winning is nothing. I was very inspired by the event and I’ve scribbling notes frantically since my return. The project will continue 2020.
Performed at Lal Lal Lal: Neptunalia 2019 at Tenho two weeks ago. Got on stage with Regular Dog, Pauliina Haasjoki, Reijo Pami, Sara Milazzo, Arttu Partinen & DJ Paukku. I presented a mineral water lecture which I brightened up using live fizzy water sounds (used an amp I build earlier). Ended my talk by preparing a batch of faux s.pellegrino using chalkstone from an ammonite fossil (talk notes in Finnish). My talk resonated particularly well with Haasjokis geological-poetry. Pami used a bucked of water as a sequencer, Partinen played moody ambient using cassettes, Milazzo had an array of tech on stage which she used to probe the dynamics of space and deep water exploration. Regular Dog was cute – Bought their cassette.