“Under the Skin”, 2016, an experimental music and contemporary art project, 2016
duration of the project: 60 min.
Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (voice and electronics), duration: 48 min.
the male-voice sections of the Gaudeamus and Pro musica choirs of Vilnius University, with the soloists Modestas Jankūnas and Ignas Garla, duration: 12 min.
Kristina Inčiūraitė (initiator and author of the visual part), duration: 38 min.
Sound director: Alius Bareckas
Choirmaster: Rasa Gelgotienė
Video documentation, November, 2016
The choir and soloists perform the composition “Megapneumies” (1963) by the famous avant-garde artist Gil Joseph Wolman in an improvised way, and Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje expands the energetically charged space with her musical experiments. Kristina Inčiūraitė provides a visual narrative in the form of a video projection to supplement the musical part of the project.
This project initiated by Kristina Inčiūraitė is an indirect response to Jonathan Glazer’s film “Under the Skin” (2013). The main character in the film creates tension by seducing men whom she encounters and making them disappear. When they follow their seducer, the men are submerged in a sticky liquid, which “digests” them, probably for the sole purpose of allowing this extra-terrestrial being, hidden under the mask of a pale-faced young woman, to exist. There is nothing more under her skin than a black unidentifiable mass.
The members of the choir are like the aforementioned seduced men who disappear in the darkness. Their voices echo the notion of the “body without organs” (Gilles Deleuze) that leads towards becoming imperceptible, which means the process of the dissolution of the subject into a cloud of affects …
Maja S.K. Ratkje during her performance conveys the intense transformations of human identities provoked by the conflict between the past and the present, the challenges of geopolitics and globalisation, and the real and the virtual worlds, which are taking place today. This frightening uncertainty is a kind of liminal state, pushing the individual out of his or her comfort zone, into an experimental one.
In the experimental film by Kristina Inčiūraite, the scary uncertainty is expressed at remote locations with the skin-burning Sosnowsky’s hogweed (Heracleum sosnowskyi), which is widespread in Eastern Europe. Abandoned places have also been filmed in northwest Latvia. These are the decaying fortifications of a naval port that have survived since Imperial Russian times in the northern part of Liepaja, and the surroundings of the Irbene radio telescope, with a diameter of 32 metres, which is a relic from Soviet times. The abandoned windows of the buildings are like black eyeholes broadcasting emptiness, the kaleidoscopic reduction of the radio telescope leading towards disappearance. Long shots of the treatment of human skin invaded by a tumour transforming the body. These visual motifs from the film show the state of the unknown.