In her presentation, Shourideh C. Molavi discusses the prevalence of tear gas globally, leaning on an investigation of the business of Warren B. Kanders, the vice-chair of the board of trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and CEO of the Safariland Group – one of the world's major manufacturers of so-called 'less-lethal' munitions.
Whereas the export of military equipment from the United States is a matter of public record, the sale and export of tear gas are not. Frequently used around the world to disperse groups during warfare or at public demonstrations, tear gas is a lucrative industry with major consequences for the civilian population affected. Recently it was used to control a Black Lives Matter protest in Stockholm during the current pandemic, despite the Public Health Agency's recommendation to the police not to use it.
In collaboration with people on the ground in war-torn areas, such as Palestine, they got hold of images of Kanders' Triple-Chaser's canisters, in order to train computers to recognize these weapons. Teaching a computer vision classifier to identify a particular object usually requires thousands of images of that object. And pictures of the munitions like the Triple-Chaser are relatively rare. To fill the gap, Forensic Architecture constructed a digital model of the Triple-Chaser and created a set of 'synthetic' images by placing the model against bold, patterned backgrounds, and within photorealistic digital environments. In this way, 'fake' images helped them to search for real ones.
Produced by BAC with support from the Swedish Arts Council, Örebro konsthall, Film Gotland and Film Örebro.
The programme is an extension of the multifaceted Kipras Dubauskas’ video installation Daynighting which is the most recent project curated by Ula Tornau and which recently was spreading in and over the venue and the rooftop of the Contemporary Art Centre building in Vilnius. The screening in IASPIS includes two films by Kipras Dubauskas and one by his colleague with whom he has been collaborating at different points of his career, the artist whose practice touches upon the subjects and perspectives explored in Kipras’ works.
Kipras Dubauskas’ work is characterised by an interest in the underground both geographically and urbanistically, as well as institutionally and politically. The artist explores neglected urban spaces and routes, such as underground tunnels of urban infrastructures that connect different parts of the city, or trails only known to specific groups or locals, or otherwise forgotten. In his practice, Dubauskas organises walks around these places, capturing film footage, which is later incorporated into his installations to create semi-fictional narratives and experiences. Underground territories are parallel urban spaces, which in the artist’s work turn into the unique poetics of institutional and social critique. Since 2010 Dubauskas has been particularly interested in the medium and history of the analogue cinema, integrating his films into the specific architectural and sculptural environments he creates. Diverse ways of collaboration and placemaking are important artistic strategies Kipras uses, often resulting in temporary or more permanent foundation and activation of specific communities.
Kipras Dubauskas (b. 1988) lives and works in Vilnius. He studied Installation at the Royal Academy of Ghent and Sculpture at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. The artist’s works have been presented in solo exhibitions at the CAC Vilnius (2020), POST Gallery in Kaunas (2019) and the Ex Elettrofonica Gallery in Rome (2018); and in the recent group exhibitions Waiting for Another Coming in Vilnius and Warsaw (2018),the 12th Baltic Triennial (2015), and Words aren’t the thing at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius (2015); he regularly participates in film festivals, self-organised events in public spaces, and in exhibitions by other artists. Kipras Dubauskas is the founder of the “Spongé” analogue film laboratory collective.
Eglė Razumaitė (b. 1993) is an artist based in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2016 she finished philosophy studies at Vilnius University, and in 2017 was a part of the Rupert art center alternative education programme. In 2019 she co-founded analog film studio Spongé.
Notes from Underground, 2019
Eglė Razumaitė (b. 1993)
Through a protagonist’s journey of self-discovery - two cities and the histories of their respective nations becomes contiguous. Paris and Vilnius explore the topic of social and territorial periphery. The film begins by addressing questions that remain central to urban planning and everyday life; how does the city develop, what are the dynamics of its planning, can we speak about certain laws that occur, how do territorial periphery correlate with social separation and what are the historical conditions behind such situations? By continuing the work on philosophical connection to the city, the artist follows post-modern french philosophy tradition and analyses the conditions in which suburbs around Paris have been formed, consistently seeking to juxtapose against the so called underground-Vilnius. The relationship between top and bottom, centre and periphery is the propulsion. The artist gently touches upon themes concerning post-colonial France and post-soviet Lithuania - the crisis of constructing national identity in Afro-French and Lithuanian-Russian communities. The film begins with an allegory of Djex and his friend, who discover a journey to find the source of indigo. Indigo as such, has no material content, but it refers to blue mood, the state of melancholy and even contains links to the blues music. Second character - the underground man in Vilnius, is based on F. Dostoevsky’s novel Notes from the Underground’ narrator’s persona, who has contradictory personality and constant desire for pain and unhappiness. The man appears at the underground hideout from where the delusion of self-assessment starts. The film is semi-documental, Djex Kolossal is a rapper from one of the harshest areas in Paris – Grigny, the unnamed character in Vilnius is based on multiple characters the artist met during her research at Lukiškių prison.