How is your summer? It’s been a while we haven’t spoke about the upcoming show, so I decided to write you my recent thoughts which are now gathering in a shape of a SHIP.
Let’s start by saying that while understanding darkness as a mutual agreement, I decided to divide my 24 hrs exhibition into two time periods – day and night and start the whole with an invitation to the darkness of the “Mid Manhattan Library”. The performance can be seen as the trial of the hypothesis of the philosopher Empedocles, which states that light is a product of the human eye. In the fifth century BC, he postulated that everything – all matter – was composed of the four elements: fire, air, earth and water. He also believed that Aphrodite made the human eye out of them and lit the fire, which shone out from the eye making sight possible.
Empedocles knew that things were somewhat more complicated than this, and guessed there was an interaction between rays from the eyes and rays from a source such as the sun. The audience of the performance is invited to the live try-out of the hypothesis, during which they listen to the narrator retelling the floor plan of the PC Lab in the Mid Manhattan Library.
I think of this work as a way to participate in a usual state of mind – to be in two places at the same time. I also see it as a real time extension of one of the infrastructures, underlining how libraries are places of shared knowledge and manufacturing.
Did you know that public libraries in the US are investing in 3-D printing machines now, so people can use them easily and less expensively? I read about a team of doctors, who wanted to assist the doctors performing the operation, but ordering a replica of the boy’s skull would have taken two to three weeks and cost about $4,000, so they went to the Chicago Public Library instead, and printed out a replica of the boy’s skull using a 3-D printer. The model of the skull took just 12 hours to make, cost $20 and the surgery was successful.
This reminds me of a cartoon I saw recently, which shows a furious foolish rhetorically asking why we still need libraries, when standing in front of a newly renovated branch of a public library. The picture itself suggests at least several, socially charged answers, one being the Unemployed Man using the Internet connection in order to find a job. This is just one example that brings us back to the bounce between creativity and function, the authority and the extension of infrastructure, which starts from one’s dream, defined by one’s reliances. How do the current social needs disguise themselves and what different shapes and forms are they ready to take?
The dream of the aforementioned Unemployed Man supplements the architecture and the concept of every branch of every public library and becomes a ship travelling from one to another, with variable measurements and weights.
The performance in Kunstverein would be guided by the friend of mine, Antanas Laukaitis, a famous hip hop Dj in Lithuania who goes under the name “Now U Don’t”, and mainly plays 1993-1998 east coast rap and other same school hip-hop music. At the moment I am dealing now with cafe de Duivel and hope that Antanas can dj there in the night-time of the show, thus becoming the main composer of the SHIP.
When it starts to get darker and the performance series finishes, Kunstverein will become an enlightened gallery space, and the visitors will be invited to take a walk out in the city. I am thinking specifically of one spot in Amsterdam, which can only be experienced by knowing of the specific gaps in the infrastructure of town. As for now, I imagine continuing my show with a meeting near the secret entrance to Artis, The Royal Zoo, used by my friends and I to enter and have walks around the zoo on Sunday evenings.
As such, instead of perceiving the shift of day to night as a discipline, I take it as an example and as a metaphor of the shift between private to public, legality and to illegality. As we both know, invisible things are not just overshadowed by the darkness of the night. Therefore, I think of the gaps in the infrastructure, as independent aestheticized forms.
Meanwhile, Kunstverein will become a bleached-out space containing a few objects: including remains and props of the Mid Manhattan Library performance, such as open cinema tickets as well us amorphous plasticine sculptures by artist (my father) Gediminas Akstinas. He made them in 1988, at the same age as me now and so I thought it would be important for him to participate in this show, as another artist, who shares the same body.
The constant presence of collaboration in this show, lead me to think about the flyer and the map of the exhibition, which could have a design provided by one of the widely accessible places in town. For now I am thinking of collaborating with Sonny Falafels, which is just around the corner from Kunstverein and one my favourite fast food stops. I think it would be nice if the flyers of the show could be spread around before the show and interfuse with other flyers, which connect to the mix of entertainment and hardcore labor . During the night, this flyer could also become one of the objects in the show, bleached in the gallery light of Kunstverein.
I have to think of the friction between desire and consent, leisure and labor, imagination and authority. That’s why “SHIP” became my working title, as an open invitation, depending on the speed of economy and the sharing of knowledge. Imagination is our compass, although we don’t own it.
As for now I would love to come to Kunstverein and measure the space. Maybe it would be a good chance to meet? And what is the deadline for the press release? I also wanted to ask you about the printed matter, is it possible for Kunstverein to print the flyers for the show?
Let me know your thoughts.