“Change All the Buttons”, 2015, interdisciplinary art project
By Kristina Inčiūraitė, in collaboration with the Vilnius University women’s choir Virgo (duration: 50 min.)
Choir conductor: Rasa Gelgotienė
Sound mastering: Alius Bareckas
“Change All the Buttons”, an experimental film, duration: 32 min. (within the program)
Video reportage, October, 2015
Kristina Inčiūraitė presents the interdisciplinary art project “Change All the Buttons” (2015), where she visually and acoustically attempts to rethink a daily routine by choosing repetitive motifs and accentuating senses of various temporalities.
In different spots in the Vilnius University Planetarium the women’s choir Virgo creates a certain rhythm during the performance of a musical composition. However, the rhythm is not homogeneous, as choir members all together and separately perform different repetitive actions during the event. Erica Fischer-Lichte, German performance scholar and author of the book “The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics” (English version, 2008), writes that “rhythm de-hierarchizes the elements, and makes them appear in isolation. It establishes a separate temporal structure for each one, which differs perceptibility from each other. In this sense, the spectators experience different temporalities simultaneously.”
In this project attention is focused on the repetition of action integrated into the carousel of daily activities. The choir selects and performs one of the most popular and most often rehearsed musical compositions taken from their own repertoire. But the composition is performed many times in an unusual way: mostly focusing on breaths (these are pauses between parts of musical composition) – what performers usually do imperceptibly, and claps – what spectators express during or after a show. The musical experiments of the choir are integrated into the context of Kristina Inčiūraitė’s experimental film “Change All the Buttons”.
This film reflects a well-known feminist film “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975) by Belgian director Chantal Akerman, which reveals women’s daily routine. “Change All the Buttons”, the salesgirl says to a woman who is desperately trying to buy identical missing button for a man’s jacket. It is a film about the pending change that dramatically shows up in the last shots of Akerman’s film.
Kristina Inčiūraitė collected items for her film in her parents’ house. The interior design of this house is from the same period as in Akerman’s film. The greatest amount of attention is paid to buttons collected by the artist’s parents; one after another they are displayed on plates as if to portray a day, a week, a year or a decade that passed away. A few dialogues from Akerman’s film are inserted into Inčiūraitė’s film. These dialogues derive from the characters’ routinized daily life. Inčiūraitė emphasizes dialogues by repeating them over and over again. But the recurring dialogues are combined with each other in a similar manner as the musical actions randomly performed by choir members. In this case, both the repeated dialogue and its meaning change. By repeating motifs many times, Inčiūraitė seeks to produce differences and, finally, inverts the dialogue into senseless flow of thoughts.
The film “Change All the Buttons” screened during the singers’ breathing experiments. According to Inčiūraitė’s original idea, the singers had to breathe in loudly during pauses in the performed work. They did not breathe in synchronically, i.e. they breathed individually, each to their own rhythm. Yet during the presentation of the project, artist noticed that during the more dynamic episodes of the film, the girls’ breathing became more rapid: the film’s visuality determined their decision to breathe in at shorter intervals, despite the regularity of intervals in the musical work they were performing. Thus, the girls wove their breathing organically into the film’s texture. Akerman once commented on the editing of her silent film “Hotel Monterey” (1972): “I was breathing, and then at one point I understood it was time to cut. It was my breathing that decided the length of my shots.” A similar happening took place in the project under discussion: the constructed rhythmic structure (editing) of my film determined the breathing frequency of the members of the choir.
Photographs by Evgenia Levin