2017 _ 054 Urban Songline (26 Tiles) | Latitude: 54.899107° N - 54.899867° N / Longitude: 23.911322° E - 23.914066° E - 11th Kaunas Biennial, Kaunas, Lithuania
Vienybės a. (Unity Square), performance
Curator Paulina Pukytė.
Artists: Adina, Manca Bajec, Karolina Freino, Allard van Hoorn, Jenny Kagan, Horst Hoheisel & Andreas Knitz, Jonas Oškinis & Raimundas Krukonis, Juozas Laivys, Dainius Liškevičius, Anton Lukoszevieze, Philip Miller, Tatzu Nishi, Paulina Pukytė, Juozas Zikaras
Kaunas' open-air pantheon of Lithuanian National heroes - in which most of the monuments were erected in the 1920s and 1930s to celebrate Lithuania as an independent nation state, then demolished during the Soviet occupation, and subsequently reconstructed during the Independence movement in the late 1980s - is situated right next to a vast empty square in which, during Soviet years, a huge statue of Lenin stood, until it was removed with the fall of Communism. Since then the 'national' part of the Unity Square has acquired new paving of expensive granite slabs, while the 'Soviet' part retained the old paving of cracked cement tiles. There is a clear divide in the Unity Square between these two worlds, two ideologies, between the new and the old, the West and the East, the future and the past. This divide is made up of 26 paving tiles that do not belong to either side. They are neither of new granite, nor of old cracked cement. They are just paving tiles. They are like a liminal space - neutral and independent. But they are about to disappear under the unity of renovation.
Allard van Hoorn has extracted sound from the 26 paving tiles and created a sound file as a souvenir - to be taken away, either as a piece of this 'in-between' space, or as a memory of it.
Text by Paulina Pukytė
I use a screw that is shaped in the same way as the moved wall it came out of for making the twenty-six tiles available to us during renovations. The found screw used in the square generates sound through the removal of weeds between the tiles, an ambivalent gesture signifying either care or a prelude to destruction, looping back to the ultimate question of the biennial; to what extent should we keep, remove or renew monuments that symbolize certain times, problematic or not, in order to maintain awareness about how a place becomes what it is today? I use these two jammed spaces explicitly to investigate the possibility of regaining a voice, albeit a jammed one.
Part of the project Urban Songlines, a utopian/dystopian series of collaborative translations of buildings, urban structures and public spaces into music through site-specific sound-generation. These performances are a way of connecting to places by listening to them as well as a research into how we use and experience the public domain and to what degree we can claim ownership over it, discussing notions of inclusion, becoming and belonging.