THE SPECTRAL FOREST AND NERINGA FOREST ARCHITECTURE
The online session is composed by the inauguration of the recently published catalogue of the exhibition The Spectral Forest introduced by curator Rado Ištok and a presentation of the project Neringa Forest Architecture by spatial researchers, curators and architects Jurga Daubaraitė, Egija Inzule and Jonas Žukauskas.
Departing from the history of deforestation and afforestation, displacement and resettlement, on the Curonian Spit, as well as the significance of the sacred groves in the Baltic region, the exhibition The Spectral Forest refers both to spectres, ghosts, and spirits traditionally residing in the forest, and to a spectrum. The catalogue brings together essays by Valentinas Klimašauskas, Huw Lemmey, Borbála Soós and Rado Ištok. Ištok introduces The Spectral Forest looking for similarities between the landscape and history of the Curonian Spit, the 1960s science-fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert, and the location of Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage. The interrelated notions of uprootedness and rooting, alienation and belonging are discussed in relation to the notions of spatial and temporal liminality and hybridity.
The second part of the online session will look at Neringa Forest Architecture (NFA), a project by Jurga Daubaraitė, Egija Inzule and Jonas Žukauskas initiated at NAC of Vilnius Academy of Arts. NFA investigates Curonian Spit as a case study in the context of the Baltic and Scandinavian forests, considering it as an entanglement of ecologies, representations, and both colonial and industrial narratives.
The Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been described as an energy island in relation to the infrastructure underpinning the European Union. The three states have been altering their linear infrastructural dependencies that were conceived in the years of Soviet central planning into rhizomatic networks of interdependencies of the European Project – the Baltics are framed by the overlay of these two versions of modernity that are shaping the culture and politics of this region and societies’ relationships to their environment. The futurity of the region is inscribed into the built environment as projection of many aspirations, utopias, spatial change, all forming complex cultural and material conditions. NFA builds on this research and reflects on the role of cultural practices and institutions in framing environmental relationships and focuses on forest as constructed space, an infrastructure, an environment of ecosystems that are shaped and reliant on human actions – regulated, governed, exploited by technologies, industries and institutions.
Rado Ištok is a curator, writer, and editor. He is one of the curators of the 2nd edition of the Biennale Matter of Art in Prague (2022) organised by the initiative tranzit.cz. In 2018–2020 he was the curator of the European Cooperation Project 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania. He is also the project leader of Spaces of Care, Disobedience and Desire (2018–2021), a discursive research platform in collaboration with Marie-Louise Richards and Natália Rebelo, supported by the artistic research funding of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden. Recent exhibitions include Ala Younis: High Dam: Modern Pyramid (2020) at VIPER Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic; The Spectral Forest (2020) at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania; Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn: Black Atlas (2019) at Július Koller Society in Bratislava, Slovakia; and Liquid Horizons (2019) at tranzit.sk in Bratislava, Slovakia. His editorial work includes The Spectral Forest (Kirvarpa, 2021) and the e-publication Dwelling on the Threshold (Nida Art Colony, 2020). Together with Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn he co-edited the book Crating the World (Athénée Press, 2019), and with L’Internationale the e-publication Decolonising Archives (L’Internationale Online, 2016).
Jurga Daubaraitė and Jonas Žukauskas are a duo of spatial practitioners currently based in Vilnius. Through architectural, curatorial and research projects they aim to create new relations between societies and their environment, past and future, by seeking to rearticulate architecture across a wider ecology of practices. They curated the exhibition The Baltic Material Assemblies at AA Gallery and RIBA in London (2018), and were co-curators of The Baltic Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at Venice Biennale (2016), and co-editors of The Baltic Atlas published by Sternberg (2016). Among other projects Daubaraitė and Žukauskas are currently working on Creative Playground and Garden in Vilnius.
Egija Inzule is curator and director of NAC of Vilnius Academy of Arts in Nida, Lithuania. In order to respond to the hybrid character of NAC that includes running a residency programme, organising an international doctoral school, curating the arts programme, hosting students’ seminars and managing the general premises of NAC, Inzule works on developing processes and initiate productions that emerge from historical, geopolitical and sociopolitical analysis and reflection of the Curonian Spit with focus on significance and agency of NAC in this context. Inzule has worked as curator in the teams of castillo/corrales, Paris, Istituto Svizzero di Roma and Shedhalle, Zurich. She is currently based in Zurich and Nida.
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