On the 14th of March, 7.30 pm Kaunas Artists’ House is hosting a performance of “Atomic B”, a work for an ensemble, live electronics and two video screens, performed by contemporary music ensemble “Synaesthesis”.
The 45-min-long work Atomic B for ensemble, electronics and two video screens is connected to nuclear power issues and various histories that nuclear energy has accumulated since its beginning. The work takes its starting point at Visaginas – an “atomic” town built in 1975 as part of a newly-constructed power plant in the Lithuanian territory of the former USSR. The town was designed to host the engineers, scientists and military personnel working in the power plant, and therefore it was considered a strategic and high-security zone. Taking post-soviet urbanistics and ecology as its starting point, the multimedia piece Atomic B explores the topic of nuclear power, unstable utopian ideas and their larger, societal impact.
The audio-visual piece composed by Andrius Arutiunian and developed together with Ensemble Synaesthesis, is based on two closely intertwined narratives. The work uses excerpts from a 1984 documentary film by G. Skvarnačius about the construction of the town of Visaginas and its nuclear power plant. This footage, using a typical soviet documentary style, documents the construction and the daily life of the town and its new inhabitants. While the film has a strong political agenda to present the effects of urbanisation and nuclear power in positive light, a certain uneasiness emerges from the cinematic aesthetics and various unnerving camera angles used.
In Atomic B this footage is reconstructed and recomposed, exposing its visual qualities and focusing on the camera movement as well as peripheral details and shots. The recomposed footage is juxtaposed with the text material constructed from various found texts, such as retold memories of various “atomic cities” inhabitants, shuffled with excerpts from texts on utopian cities and their architecture.
Atomic B was commissioned by Ensemble Synaesthesis, and its production was supported by the Council for Culture (Lithuania) and Fonds Podiumkunsten (the Netherlands). The piece was premiered at the Melos-Ethos festival in Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2017. In 2018 Andrius Arutiunian received the Lithuanian Composers Union’s “Young Artist” Award for Atomic B.
Tickets and discounts: tickets cost 10 EUR (5 EUR concessions – schoolchildren, students, seniors). Tickets can be purchased on the door and at “Tiketa” sales points in person and online.
Andrius Arutiunian (composer)
Karolis Variakojis (conductor, director)
Marta Finkelštein (pianist, director)
Artūras Kažimėkas (clarinets)
Arminas Bižys (saxophone)
Andrius Rekašius (percussion)
Pranas Kentra (el. guitar)
Donatas Butkevičius (double bass)
Greta Unguvaitytė (design)
Gintarė Šiaulytė (management)