Live recording by ensemble Synaesthesis @ Melos-Ethos festival, Bratislava, 2017.
The 45-minute-long work “Atomic B” for ensemble, live electronics and multi-screen video is based on Lithuanian town Visaginas. The town was built in 1975 as part of a newly-constructed atomic power plant complex and was intended to host its engineers, scientists and military personnel. Together with a few other atomic towns in the USSR, Visaginas was planned in the shape of a butterfly – four reactors of the power plant would be represented by four sectors or “wings” of the town. Each of these sectors were supposed to house atomic power plant workers, most of whom were brought from other parts of the USSR.
The piece uses archival audio-visual footage from 1970’s showing the construction of the power plant and the town, and the daily life of Visaginas and its inhabitants. This footage is mainly taken from propaganda films about Visaginas which had a strong political agenda to present the effects of urbanization and industrialization in a positive light. The images are reconstructed and recomposed, exposing their visual qualities and focusing on the camera movement as well as peripheral details and shots. This decentring of the images underlines and deconstructs the messages visually encoded into them.
This material is then sampled and triggered live, forming a counterpoint with the instrumental parts. Each instrumentalist has her/his own autonomous harmonic and rhythmic enclaves which often come together - harmonies dissolve into one another with the musicians tracing the speed and directions of the visual projection. The intention was to create a space in which ideas of belonging, identity and reimagining futures can all coexist within one musical language but in many musical speeches.