“Under the Same Sky”, 2022, an audio-visual installation
the experimental film: 13 min; the velvet cushions (6 pieces), a plastic vinyl membrane, aluminium profiles
In collaboration with Eva McMullan-Glossop and University College Cork Choir, commissioned by The Glucksman (curator Chris Clarke), in partnership with Cork Midsummer Festival, Ireland
“It is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him.” No surprise that this sentence said about 400 years ago belongs to Oliver Cromwell, but it accurately reveals the characteristic of the Burren National Park – not an accommodating place for humans. Due to specific geological features, the bleak and treeless land looks more like the surface of the moon; the impressive limestone pavements were formed around 340 million years ago. The limestone erodes horizontally and vertically, with rainwater forming a distinctive pattern with cracks, and underneath the limestone pavements, huge caves flood when it rains. This unique multi-layered landscape is a hidden realm of wild nature. There are various species of flora with simultaneous occurrence of Mediterranean, Alpine and Arctic species, as well as a rich faunal community. Inčiūraitė has chosen this location because of its contradiction and ambivalence – something that looks poor and deserted but, on closer inspection, surprisingly rich and diverse.
The Burren’s landscape is very ascetic and reminiscent of no man’s land; the poor visual aspect escalates the focus more on the acoustics. Therefore, Inčiūraitė asked the following questions to her musical collaborators, University College Cork Choir, who created the film’s soundtrack: Can biodiversity be sustained in our individual and collective memory? Can we re-construct various sounds of Irish wild nature based on observations and imagination? Can we be less anthropocentric and imagine communities that are not shaped by human superiority?
The acoustic or verbal space becomes the conceptual pivot in Inčiūraitė’s films to reflect socio-cultural and environmental issues and focus on our memory. So, the ascetic landscape of the Burren reveals the beauty of the soundscape by disclosing the hidden treasures of our (sub)-consciousness, which somehow relates to the hidden plants inside the Burren’s limestone cracks.
The shape of the project brings a distant reference to the altar if not for praying, then for meditation with gods and sounds derived from nature. Through the thin black platform and cushions with embroidered contours of the bats, the artist tries to extend that specific sense of uncertainty of the here-and-now. The shiny black surface doubles the film image and accentuates a more surreal, unworldly atmosphere. Meanwhile, the bats from the darkest corners of the film’s cave mysteriously pop up on cushions. At first glance, they look like flying mammals, but actually, they are depicted as swimming bats. It is atypical for them to be in the water; however, they swim when they really need to, i.e., when they accidentally fall in. It’s a stressful situation for them. The bat is still not drowning but in a state of frustration. Again, there is an uncanny uncertainty.
Photographs by Kristina Inčiūraitė