2022– handmade paper and ink, scavenged wood and metal, wire, glue
A series of 20 paper sculptures, three of which have been completed and exhibited so far. The project began within Rupert’s Alternative Education Programme and was exhibited as part of ‘Adero’, the final group show within the former sewing factory Lelija, in Vilnius.
atminties atmintis (Eng. a memory of a memory) is a continuation of Speak Lietuviškai. The memories of each of the 20 performance days are endowed with a body. In this process, the sculpture becomes both a document of the performance and a response to it, hailing future responses in an iterative rabbit hole that blurs the (perceived) boundary of liveness between performance and document.
Through recollection rituals, I evoked my memories using the photographs, reflections and poems created during the 2021 performance. I then filtered the essence of those memories through movement, composition and automatic writing through which the presented, physical forms emerged.
The sculptures also envelop the memories of non-human objects, by incorporating materials found in the former sewing factory, Lelija, where we had our studio spaces. I made the paper for the sculptures using discarded factory documents dating back decades and rain water.
Thinking of these sculptures as chapters of a book that have been lifted and extended beyond the flatness of the page and embracing visual poetry’s notion of text having primarily an aesthetic function, I think of these episodes less like scuptures and more as three-dimensional texts.
2021 trolleybuses in Kaunas funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture
the city is what we remember of it — our memories are the contextual foundations on which kaunas exists. there are so many memories that i missed as i was growing up in the uk. there is a distance and this distance makes me feel alienated. i feel like i am home. i don’t always feel that others think the same. to me, home is inside people. how can i then be home if no one remembers me? if i can’t remember myself?
Speak Lietuviškai is the sibling performance of Kalbėk English, as both these works explore my transnational identity as a person who grew up between Lithuania and England.
Every day for 20 consecutive days, I rode on Kaunas’ trolleybuses until I had been on all routes twice each (10 x 2), connecting with other travellers through language, memories, reflections, photographs and other forms of immaterial touch.
I chose the setting of the trolleybus as when I was a child in Kaunas, I’d often get on the trolleybus to school but instead of getting off, I would stay there for the whole day, riding in circles and reading. By returning to this space, I wanted to activate my context-dependent memory and the language within it.
I made a poem each day as an offering to the collective memories of Kaunas’ residents. These poems were written on paper made from the water of the confluence of Neris and Nemunas rivers and buried across Kaunas.
Through this performance ritual, I bound myself to the collective memories of the people of Kaunas and began to (re)home myself within them.
2019 IKLECTIK Art Lab, London
Kalbėk English deconstructs the relationship between language and nationalism by utilising my personal history of emigrating to England from Lithuania at age 10, and then experiencing the attrition—disappearance and replacement—of my Lithuanian language by English.
Within both cultural contexts, language, as well as the proficiency and execution (i.e. accent) of that language is a key identifier of national identity. The performance took place a few years after Brexit referendum, with incidents of immigrants in the UK being harassed and told to speak English increasingly reported in media.
Combining research on second language acquisition, transnational identity formation and models of nationalism, I charted these interwoven transformations across 6 stages.
The text of the performance consists of 6 utterances, one for each stage. Using the cognitive model of speech formation, I verbalised the journey from idea to utterance, focusing on the choices that go into constructing these sentences as the main mode of meaning production, with the utterance itself being purely performative.
I performed the text on top of live looping of speech rhythms in Lithuanian and English, as I repeated the action of moving towards and away from a suitcase.