renewal, 2006


“Renewal”, 2006, single-channel video, 9 min
The action of the video “Renewal” is set on the premises of the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius – the front entrance, the wall of the CAC decorated with graffiti, the summer terrace of the CAC café, and the adjacent Town Hall Square under reconstruction. The footage is a backdrop to the voiceover by Ala Kasiuleviciene, a long-term front-of-house employee who worked in the building since it was the soviet Arts Exhibition Palace and stayed through the change into the Contemporary Art Centre. In 2006 she had to leave her job taking her huge work experience with her. Ala reflects on the changes of values, art and the spectators, whom she used to encounter everyday for all those years. Ala is also remembered, in voiceover, by taxi driver Anatoly, who used to take her to work every day.


It is not only Ala’s memories of the CAC that are important in the video. The construction works on the public space of the Town Hall square illustrate the dynamics of contemporary life and the transformation of civil society in the face of economic and democratic change. The taxi driver Anatoly reflects that the most important thing today is good health; as only the strongest and most active can adapt themselves to the changing competitive situation. Those that can’t adapt are left behind in the wake of change and experience all the negative affects associated with it. Meanwhile, the lyrical music coming from Anatoly’s taxi slow the hurrying passers-by. Slow-motion frames add weight to the characters’ thoughts: “If you don’t think, then you don’t have what to say, right?” is Ala’s phrase about a critical spectator who refuses to accept art’s newness.