05/04 – 11/05/2024
Geistė Marija Kinčinaitytė & Lidija Kononenko ‘Subsuns’

“[…] more light is deflected in all directions creating hazes of copper and brown over the horizon as the fragments build up into a smog eventually what is left of the rays is not much at all allowing the eyes to look directly at the sun […].” (Excerpt from phantom currents by Lidija Kononenko)

The title Subsuns acts as an opening to various pathways intersecting in the time-based installation and video works presented in this exhibition. It refers to an optical phenomenon – a mirroring of the sun below the horizon, which is conditioned by the atmosphere. This fake sun can be seen from an airplane as a reflection in the clouds. The optical phenomenon of subsuns also carries another meaning related to “fire” and “signal” economies. In his book The Parasite (1982), philosopher Michel Serres refers to it as a representation of a desire to imitate the sun on Earth – the ultimate expression of capital. He elaborates on the phenomenon of subsuns as reservoirs of oil, gas, coal, dammed rivers, databases, and satellites put into orbit to facilitate uninterrupted flows of information and capital. However, when the title is translated into Lithuanian, the term subsuns (posaulės) sounds like a multiplicity of worlds (pasauliai), losing its initial meaning of fake suns. In the moment of translation, the exhibition title acquires another purpose, an invitation to imagine alternative ways of being-with the world.

Upon entering a blacked out space, the daylight is swapped with an eerie dreamscape – each film frame is an attempt to measure and capture the sun. In Sunless Seas of Ice (2024), tensions between “the perfection of flight”, rapidly melting glaciers, and plans of backing up terrestrial data inside lunar lava caves reflect on this burning desire to press against the unknown. Kinčinaitytė explores the notion of subsuns as a poetic reflection on the never-ending dreams of “touching” the sun that are driving processes of capital expansion and resource extraction beyond the terrestrial boundaries. Sunless Seas of Ice explores these intertwined narratives of expansionism and escapism from the depleted Earth, embedded in the techno-utopian projections of multiplanetary existence. Harmonic Tremors (2024), a short video poem shot on Super 8, initiates a journey down to Earth. It documents flows, fissures, and folds of time while addressing expanding and contracting boundaries through slips, ruptures, and mutability.

In the room illuminated by daylight, Kononenko reconfigures technology into a framework for exploring the fragility of intertwined systems. The gallery space is filled with screens, which are taken apart and reassembled into sculptural formations. With artificial light missing, these objects become permeable, seen only in daylight. Different light filters have been transported from the screens to the windows; refracting hues of sunlight into the space, and making the gallery’s architecture integral to being able to see the piece wave-like disturbance (2024). In an orange, some lenses and a flower (the structure of the eye explained by means of models and diagrams) (2024) what is left from the screen is a coded backlight, ghost-like shadowing abstract shapes of missing pixels. In her installation, Kononenko treats electrical current and its absence as a tangible material. Whilst pain gate; clock (2024) has a programmed relay allowing and stopping the flow of electricity at timed intervals, a feeling almost instinct (2024) relies on conversion and transmission of solar energy in real time. The work connected to solar panels is controlled by a sensor switch instead of a battery bank, turning on and off in response to sunlight moving across the panels throughout the day. These viewing systems carry Kononenko’s writing on embodied feeling, perception of time, memories, dreams, and bodily symptoms. The text appears on screens in pulses and rhythms, demanding the visitor’s focus and speed of attention to keep up with the work. In these puzzle-like configurations, sentences of scientific descriptions sometimes break apart and absurdities of language are highlighted.

Mechanical processes powering these systems fill the space with sounds of clicks, whirrs and a low hum of white noise, which are occasionally intercepted by sound signals. At this moment, a weather satellite is passing in a sun-synchronous orbit above Vilnius, transmitting signals to an antenna secured on the building’s rooftop. As this system forgoes the last step of translating the signals into readable radar images, the gallery visitors are left only with the knowledge of a satellite passing above.

Lidija Kononenko (b. Visaginas) is a London-based visual artist, working with sculpture, video, images, text and sound to explore methodologies of scientific research around the human condition. Her works interlace the personal with the analytical and interrogate different modes of understanding the body and embodiment, from the visual expression of physical states such as exertion or falling asleep, to emotions such as falling in love. Looking at the self through the scientific lens as a site to be mapped and maintained she considers the expansion of the biomedical into private spheres. Kononenko graduated from Royal Academy of Arts in London, and has exhibited at Somers gallery, London (solo), Metenkov House Museum of Photography, Ekaterinburg (solo); The Nunnery Gallery, London; Ya Gallery, Kyiv; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; and the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki. Screenings include Plaza Plaza Cinema (online); ECNP Congress (online); Tenderflix, London; Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; Ciné 13 Théâtre, Paris; and The Courtyard, London. She is a recipient of the Art of Neuroscience award, the Netherlands; Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam; the Peter Rippon Travel award and E Vincent Harris award, both Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Geistė Marija Kinčinaitytė is a Lithuanian artist and researcher, who approaches her photographic and video practice as an exploration of belonging, alienation, and the unknown. Overall, her practice is defined by encounters with the eerie, which is understood to be both the cessation of a comfort zone – whether self, human, habit, habitat, milieu – and alertness to a yet-to-be-identified presence. Since 2014, her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the UK (The Photographers’ Gallery; 253 Hoxton), Lithuania (Kaunas Photography Gallery; MO Museum; Prospektas Gallery; Sodų 4 project space; Vartai Gallery; Vilnius Picture Gallery; Pranas Domšaitis Gallery), Norway (Fotogalleriet), Taiwan (National Center of Photography and Images; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts), South Korea (The Museum of Photography), China (Inside-Out Art Museum). In 2018, she was also commissioned to create a four-channel video installation for the Boiler Room x Tinder events in Bristol, Glasgow, and London. She holds a PhD in Film and Screen Studies from the University of Cambridge.

Exhibition design – Dovydas Černiauskas
Translation – Paulius Balčytis
Technical manager – Matas Šatūnas

Exhibition opening: 5 April 2024, 6 pm.
Exhibition dates and times: 6 April – 11 May 2024, Wednesdays to Fridays 4pm-7pm, Saturdays 1pm-5pm. (closed 1 May).
Address: Atletika gallery, Vitebsko Str. 21, Vilnius. Free entry.

The exhibition is organised by the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association (LIAA). Activities of LIAA are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality.

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Photographer – Laurynas Skeisgiela