The search for shaping new options
New and old media practice in Lithuania
Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas were born in Lithuania. They were both educated at Vilnius Art Academy and continue to make Vilnius their main base, spending some working time in Stuttgart. They have worked together as artists since 1997, co-founding JUTEMPUS interdisciplinary art program – a model for social and artistic practice. Their approach embraces a flexible array of disciplines, building frameworks for old and new media practices. They are committed to studying the transformation of Lithuanian society following the 1989 revolution through projects such as tvvv.plotas and Transaction.
ARTISTS’ STATEMENT (edited) – Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, 2003
Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, both seduced by the flexibility of heterogeneous practice, are committed to study the transformation of Lithuanian society into a capitalist society. They started by introducing a self-organised platform that works with the mechanisms of the psyche as it goes through a transitional period of change.
Since 1997 they run JUTEMPUS interdisciplinary art programs - a model for social and artistic practice with an interest in designing organisational structures that question the relativity of freedom. They develop program as the production space with the objective of building frameworks for new and old media practices and facilitating a creative discussion within a critical discourse.
Continuing their investigation into different modes of production, during 1998-99 they elaborated tvvv.plotas, realised as a collaborative strategy of infiltration into the National TV channel. Merging tools of broadcast, chat, and live discussion, tvvv.plotas charts out the territory of articulation of contemporary artistic practice between east and west.
With an emphasis on the collaborative model they developed the Transaction project, launched in 2000 on the invitation of Witte de With, Rotterdam, as a framework to trace the script of life through the history of media. Techniques of collaboration, discussion, packaging of information and dissemination of it through media channels and systems of signs are used for an investigation into gendered space. The methodology comes from transactional psychoanalysis which suggests a structure based on a drama triangle between three roles of victim, persecutor and defender. The model of three-way dialogue between women, psychiatrists and film archive facilitates a paradigm for script analysis; it maps out the invisible territory of despatches, becoming a kind of ‘unpacking’ of closed off memories and voices. Through the shared recollections of media project builds a pathway to navigate from the past to the present during further developments and sessions at Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart 2000, IASPIS Stockholm 2001, Ludwig Museum Budapest 2002, Sprengels Museum Hannover, 2002, Manifesta 4, Frankfurt.
Invited to participate in Documenta 11, Transaction develops ‘Voice Archive’, reflecting the social construction and metaphysical qualities of the voice of Lithuanian women, featured through a set of samples ranging from speech and narrative to chanting and songs.
Provoked by the notion of ‘the absence of women’s voice’, Nomeda & Gediminas develop ‘Ruta Remake’ project, launched at Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart 2002 and further continued at KunstnernesHus Oslo 2003 and Secession Viena 2003. Ruta Remake is suggested as a mapping device to redraw a traditional pattern concerning identity politics in Lithuania today. It seeks out representations that do not revert to securities offered by nationalist types, but are linked to creating identities in the search for shaping new options. These are suggested as a play between forms, from the remnants of ´Homo Sovieticus´ to the Modern Capitalistic Model.
Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas have been working together since 1997. In 1993, together with others, they established the JUTEMPUS exhibition space in Vilnius. Lithuania’s first artist-initiated space, it functioned until 1996 as a site for exhibitions and cultural events. Since then, the Jutempus projects create a framework and serve as a communications base with the intention of transcending the boundaries of traditional art spaces and seeking out the media linked to society.
Their recent work has reflected a range of issues pertaining to their contemporary artistic practice, specific to the conditions of post-1989 Lithuanian society. The artists have chosen to work with the various forms of production and distribution that link these together, often in the realm of public media. The ongoing research/exhibition project ‘Transaction’ started in Vilnius through the artists’ interest in researching into the psychological impact of the 1989 revolution on different generations of women. In the first phase, women working in different fields were invited for interviews. Discussion was shaped by Lithuanian cult cinema in which women play a major role. The second phase involved representatives from the Lithuanian healthcare system and directors of psychiatric institutions. These specialists in Transactional Analysis viewed and discussed the film selections referred to by the interviewed women. Through the cinema and shared sense of media, the artists worked to reformulate their original subject – overcoming the state of paralysis which they observe in Lithuanian society.
The work has evolved as it has been shown in different places. At the Ludwig Museum in Budapest in 2002, the exhibition was accompanied by a symposium attended by Lithuanian and Hungarian participants to discuss issues raised by the work. By examining questions of identity and gender in society, the event provided a space for comparing the situations in the two post-Socialist countries.
Workshops / Presentations
Production / Performance,
2003 "Verbindingen/Jonctions", Constant vzw, Brussels
2003 artist´s talk, Secession, Viena;
2003 Absence of voice is recovered, artist´s talk, OCA - International Studio Program in Oslo;
2003 workshop at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, NTNU;
2002 lecture at Fachhochshule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences;
2002 artist´s talk, platform program at Charlottenburg, Copenhagen;
2002 creative session at AWID´s 9th International Forum, Guadalajara, Mexico;
2002 artist´s talk at Transmediale salon, Podewil, Berlin;
2002 Djembe session, workshop, documenta 11, Kassel;
2002 TransMute, artist´s talk at Manifesta 4, Frankfurt a.M;
2002 Transaction, creative session at Ludwig Museum Budapest;
2001 Transaction workshop, Valand school of art, Goteborg University;
GROUP EXHIBITIONS (Selected)
Exhibition / Installation,
2004 3rd berlin biennial for contemporary art, Berlin;
2004 Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig;
2003 "Verbindingen/Jonctions", Constant vzw, Brussels;
2003 Neue Freunde, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart,
2003 The Labyrinthine Effect , ACCA, Melbourne;
2003 Fate of Alien Modes, Secession, Viena;
2003 Money for Nothing, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand;
2003 Substream, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo;
2002 Re-direct, haus.0, Kuenstlerhaus Stuttgart;
2002 Fundamentalisms of a New Order, Charlottenburg, Copenhagen;
2002 documenta 11, Kassel;
2002 Manifesta 4, Frankfurt a.M;
2002 The Music In Me, GAK, Bremen;
2001 Presence Balte, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens; Metronome, Barcelona;
2000 tvvv.plotas archive, "Duchamp´s Suitcase" , Arnolfini, Bristol;
2000 Strangers & Paradise", Witte de With contemporary art center Rotterdam;
Exhibition / Installation,
2004 DRUZBA, contemporary art center, Vilnius
2002 TRANSmute, Sprengel Museum, Hannover
2002 TRANSACTION / translation, Ludwig Museum, Budapest
2001 TRANSACTION / unpacked, IASPIS, Stockholm
2000 TRANSACTION, haus.0, Kuenstlerhaus Stuttgart
FORTHCOMING EXHIBITIONS (2003)
Exhibition / Installation,
New project, October 2003, Stuttgart
Film / TV,
2002 TRANSACTION / AUDITION_psycho session, 43:00. BETA, colour
2002 TRANSACTION / ANIMATION_/ psycho session, 25:00. BETA, colour
2002 TRANSACTION / VOX_women interviews, 43:00, DV, colour
2001 KARAOKE, 15 min. DV, colour
2001 TRANSACTION / SCRIPT_women interviews, 32:00. DV, colour
2000 TRANSACTION / SCRIPT_psycho session, 32:00, BETA, colour
2000 TRANSACTION / SCENARIO_film archive, 32:00 BETA, B/W
2000 TRANSACTION / SCRIPT_women interviews, 30:00. BETA, colour
1999 tvvv.plotas archive / interactive video, 150 min. Quicktime, colour
1999 tvvv.plotas / TV program in 10 parts 30 min each, BETA, colour
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Production / Performance,
2003/04 DRUZBA (friendship), a study of psycho-geography of the network
2002 RAM: Re-Approaching New Media - the crossing networks of CRAC (Sweden), Atelier Nord (Norway), E-Media Centre (Estonia), Olento (Finland), RIXC (Latvia), VILMA (Lithuania).
1998/99 tvvv.plotas, interdisciplinary project: television, videoconference, net-cast
1997 jutempus lounge, ´Lithuanian Art 97´, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius
1997 Ground Control, Beaconsfield, London and Jutempus, Vilnius
Film / TV,
2003 It is hard to touch the real, Kunstverein Munich;
2002 Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media, Canada;
2002 Transat video, France
2002 48th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen;
GRANTS & FELLOWSHIPS
2003 OCA, Oslo - International Studio Programme grant
2002 SLEIPNIR travel grant, Oslo
2002-03 Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany - International Residency Programme fellowship
2001 IASPIS, Stockholm, Sweden - International Studio Programme, NIFCA grant
2001 SLEIPNIR travel grant, Stockholm
2000 APEXchanges travel grant, Kuenstlerhaus Stuttgart
2000 APEXchanges travel grant, Witte de With, Rotterdam
1998 State Grant Lithuania
1997 APEXchanges travel grant, Ground Control project, London