Video art project about Kaunas modernism

We are creating and in 2022 will be presenting a 45-minute long video art project that will tell the story of Kaunas modernist architecture for all the Europeans and the rest of the world and will inspire a creative look into its future.

The author of the project is Aideen Barry, visual artist from Ireland. In her projects she explores and interprets local community, historical and cultural contexts in different ways in her projects, engages a different age and interest groups in the creative process and organizes it as playful experience-learning.

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).

I can’t tell your story because it’s your story.

Aideen Barry

Aideen Barry is a professional visual artist based in Ireland. She explores and interprets local community, historical and cultural contexts in different ways in her projects, engages a different age and interest groups in the creative process and organizes it as playful experience-learning.

Aideen has shown projects in museums and galleries such as Mothers Tankstation, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Louise T. Bloudin Gallery in London, Moderne Mussett in Sweden, The Loop Biennale in Spain, The Wexner Centre in Ohio, The Royal Hibernian Academy, the Musée des Beaux Arts in Lyon, The Crawford Municipal Gallery etc.

Barry has received numerous awards including the Culture Ireland Award (2018), The Vermont Studio Centre Fellowship Award 2017, Project New Work Awards from the Council of Ireland Bursary Awards (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017), the Modern Ireland in 100 Art Works Award, the Silent Light Film Award, Travel and Training Awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, and in 2010 was shortlisted for the prestigious AIB Prize.

In 2014 she was commissioned by the European Union Culture Fund to create a number of temporary public art projects in the UK, Ireland and Catalonia, Spain as a part of the www.CHANGINGTRACKS.eu projects, and by the Arts & Heritage Trust UK in 2015.

Barry a lecturer in fine arts at the Limerick School of Art & Design, Limerick Institute of Technology. In 2019, her film „6SKIN” was nominated at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

More information:

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.

It’s like coming across a rare diamond. Truly, it’s amazing you have kept this secret from the world for so long. There are some exceptionally beautiful buildings and the little details really get to you, like motifs, balconies that seem to turn buildings into ships or the unique doorways and doors. It’s very special.

Aideen Barry

Join us:

Creative writing workshop

Inspiration for the artists by Aideen Barry

Crash course of stop motion animation

Animation workshops – will be announced soon!

Share your idea: ugne@kaunas2022.eu

I think it is really important to personalise the project a bit more to people. I think that will happen. I think if you know your son or daughter, your neighbour or friend wrote a short story about a modernist building, if they felt connected to it by being a part of the new stories: musical, dance, visual art stories that we are making with this project then yes I think it will humanise these unique and beautiful gems and get people thinking about them and emotionally stitched to them in some way.

Aideen Barry

Partners: