- Published on Friday, 29 July 2016 18:51
Hybrid(…)scapes emerge when artists lift Nida’s resort skin and dispel the myth of its idyllic nature. Embodied in global streams, we enter the Curonian Spit as a constructed green museum – a park where historical (forestry) technologies and nature interplay. Universal presentiments of global warming suggest an image of the future Spit – fractured into islands overgrown with palms, or perhaps simply submerged under water. Resonant gas pipelines – contemporary secret underwater paths – snarl under the Baltic Sea, capitalist transparency gets covered with moss, hybrids get frozen in ice, and ecology, which has scattered its syllables, increasingly often turns into the synthesising prefix “e-”. The customary landscapes of Neringa become soundscapes, timescapes, technoscapes, sunscapes, lightscapes, insectscapes, electroscapes and other kinds of scapes in the exhibition.
The exhibition presents new works by returning residents of VAA Nida Art Colony. In June and July 2016, the artists were living and working here, developing ideas they had explored in their earlier residency periods or proposed specifically for this show. The hybrid space of the exhibition cancels the seasonal nature of Nida (summer mixes with winter), stretches time (something started three or five years ago becomes a material body now), and blurs the distinction between a concrete site – Nida – and the global world (works produced from locally sourced material or issues have relevance across the globe). The artists erase the borders between the inside and the outside, as well as between the white and the black cube (or exhibition and concert space), and play with the metaphor of the Curonian Spit as a green cube (the National Park is also a museum of the interaction of nature, culture and technology here). Hybrid spaces and landscapes open up a multifaceted perspective of the networked Neringa, Spit and Nida.
Objects in the exhibition talk (about) things. In daytime, with or without visitors. I wonder what they talk about at night, with artists asleep and exhibition guides dreaming about the works in their terraces.
Anna Romanenko and Björn Kühn dare you to hear the 1224 km long Nord Stream underwater gas pipeline in the depths of the Baltic Sea though their Rhyme instrument. When playing it like an erogeneous political body, think of the relations between Russia and Germany, which ploughed the Curonian Spit with cart wheels for centuries, and now pleasantly stroke it with (sadly) bypassing billion-strong streams of roubles-turned-euros. How does human love differ from economic amity? Which has more eros? Dream of the glittering, sleek body of the pipeline washed by the Baltic waves.
Juha Laakkonen, who has kept a vow of silence throughout the residency, contributes to the exhibition’s soundscape. Hence, it will become clear only in the exhibition what his work will become – in collaboration with the viewer. Before arrival the artist mentioned that he will engage the elements of the exhibition as a giant mouth. A collective residency is often highly socially dynamic, while by becoming a silent body Juha seems to criticise the excessive growth of speech.
Marika Troili digs deeper into the offshore jungle, treading on the tail of the Panama Papers leak and looking for an interaction of transparency, capital and the future. Will the future be more transparent than the present, or even more densely covered with black curtains? What will happen to the gray smooth bookends made from Curonian Lagoon clay when they dry and crack towards the end of the show? Opening the curtains of the Colony’s exhibition hall and showing the white walls behind, the artist puts all hopes in the last pages of books which offer striking future predictions. Can anxiety be more transparent that capitalist relations?
Stop. Relax and enjoy the lightscape stretching from the border of Lithuania and Russia. The aesthetic skyline is a real-time reflection of geopolitical light. On which side is the Kaliningrad Oblast and on which the EU? How many states have bordered each other at this like in history, and what does the natural (?) panorama hide here? The media report on EU border control and its technologies, while Liddy Scheffknecht calls for contemplating the landscape and all its semantic offshoots. Or just enjoy it like the seasonal rituals of seaside sunset watching.
Out for ritual walks in a seemingly familiar yet energetically altered landscape, the Brazilian duo DISTRUKTUR transports the viewer into a timeless Nida space where winter intertwines with summer. The exceptionally poetic 16 mm visual narrative and mystical songs arrest the eye and the ear. Elements of South American culture are married with the local pagan worldview.
Pakui Hardware’s synthetic formations hail from the same icy winter. Packed in a glowing ice-cream freezer, they seam to be reaching up through the fogged glass, aiming to coalesce with our gaze, body and imagination. The lustful hybrids produce an uncanny feeling: perhaps it will be possible to freeze human or animal bodies in the lagoon ice as the climate and biotechnologies change?
For exhibition a user-foldable 10 sections guide was published. On the backside visitors can enjoy the pleasure of meditative coloring and construct their own hybrid(...)scape with a given multi-coloured pencil.
Texts by curator Vytautas Michelkevičius and the artists