The main goal of Kaunas 2022 programme of architecture and heritage „Modernism for the Future“ is the actualization of interwar modernist heritage in Kaunas, Lithuania and international context through innovative / experimental cultural strategies. The program aims to: make not only the interwar period, but also its physical legacy – modern architecture – a source of memory, identity, dialogue and creativity; to instill responsibility for the environment around us, to initiate international research and to return Kaunas modernism to the European and global context. One of the tools that responds to the goal of the program is the video art project ‘Heterotopia’ (the title may change), involving different age and interest groups.
The philosopher Micheal Foucault was the inspiration for my thinking around this new moving image project for Kaunas. In the notes on his 1968 Lecture “Of Other Spaces” he discussed how humans construct worlds within worlds as a way of governing intimacy, privacy, individual experience, trauma and secrecy. The construction of these worlds were ascribed as “Heterotopias”. To impart a heterotypic space in metaphor is to talk about the physical and the imaginative. If you walk into a library and choose a book it takes you from the physical world into another world. Libraries are like portals to other dimensions therefore they are liquid spaces that bend time and reality, they are heterotopic. Foucault also talks about ships being a part of the physical world when they are docked into land, but out at sea they are their own worlds all onto themselves. To discuss the idea of heterotopic spaces you cannot but look around the city of Kaunas to see wolds within worlds. The Buildings are portals through time. They are also personal spaces, lived homes with forgotten histories masked by intimate memories and forgotten narratives.
Taking inspiration from Fritz Langs 1927 film Metropolis the similar cinematic techniques in the film will be employed, to explore a series of hidden worlds and portals in the city of Kaunas, cinematic approaches old and new such as the technique of painted plates and imagined cinematic visual fictions to create optical illusions of transportation of a protagonist through a building or space as a means of telling a story through images and sound will be used. The film will be a surrealist Flaneurial journey through Kaunas, inspired by Luminere Brothers as well as George Méliés, Buster Keaton with Samuel Beckett, Charilie Chaplin and Jonas Mekas films.
The process of creating video art will be community-based. While the project narrative is intended to be based on real facts, much of it is focused on creating visual fiction about the personal relation to the place and visions of a new / future city. Specially designed studios will be used to hold workshops and teach the community of practical skills. These skills will serve the participants in developing similar projects in the future.
Metabolism is one of means of creating this video art project. Metabolism is a search for connections between utopia and reality, a certain interpretation of the city and the human being, which aims to produce flexible shifting segments of municipalities that are able to grow, change and die without disturbing the main organism – the functionality of the city. Metabolism was born after World War II. Metabolists proposed the phenomenon of the future city which attempts to combine the continual transformation of the city, advancing technology and the key principles of Buddhism. Although many ideas of metabolists have until now mostly been confined to paper and left unimplemented, the movement has nonetheless changed the history and the perception of the city.
As a result of the project, the video art project Heterotopia will be presented in 2022 when Kaunas will celebrate the opening of European Capital of Culture in January 20-22. In the same year, the project will be presented in an international film festival (will be confirmed). MM Serra has already offered to Debut the Film in America in the New York Film Makers Co-Op in Manhattan upon its release.