Installation TOURIST’S DELIGHT. 2017. Cans found in the Caucasus Mountains, cotton. Cross-stitch, drilling. Photos by Modestas Ežerskis. ARTWORK IS FOR SALEVideo

Tourist’s Delight (is the name of pork or beef preserves for travellers, popular in the post-Soviet region)

            Tourist’s Delight is Severija’s small entomological laboratory containing spectacular butterflies which are themselves a result of the butterfly effect. In chaos theory, this effect refers to extraordinary sensitivity of a dynamic system, when a minuscule change (metaphorically speaking, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings) can, in long-term chain of events, contribute to large-scale differences in the overall state of a complex system (such as cause a tornado). Such complex systems include not only elaborate geological or climatic processes, but also the human mind and the emergence of ideas – i. e., the chaotic informational microcosm.

            Many years ago, unidentified tourists travelling in the Georgian mountain region of Tusheti finished their lunch by flattening the preserve tin cans with a stone and threw them away. This ordinary, minor act nevertheless became an involuntary trace, a disturbance of the initial conditions. The thing is, many years later a group of hikers on the same trail included the Lithuanian artist, who experienced an inspirational discharge of ideas when she saw the absolutely insignificant, useless rusted tin can lying about. Sure, the necessary prerequisite for this extraordinary observation was the artist’s trademark aesthetisiced approach to all kinds of found rusty metal scraps. Furthermore, the mountains provide ripe ground for various visions, e. g. when a traveller feels like a mere ant before the giant, monumental objects which have been there for millions of years, or when he or she destroys a pyramid in the morning after hatching from the cocoon of the sleeping bag, realizing in a stark illumination that the aesthetic delight served by the overwhelming natural sights is a basic need just like nourishing food. Somewhat later the initial ideas born in the mountains had to pass various stages (as does almost any artwork), much like the stages of a butterfly’s development. Sometimes these stages were accompanied by feverish symptoms like tremors, anger, nausea, and loss of appetite.

            Here it is in front of you, then – Tourist’s Delight, a dish for quelling aesthetic hunger. It is the artist’s research in the natural sciences of sorts, or, to be more precise, in the natural arts. Severija studies nature in a non-intrusive way. The artist plays around with the childish curiosity impulse of grabbing even the most fragile living creature, let alone contemporary civilization’s distinctively dissecting technocratic grasp on the world, dissecting, classifying, and pinning her own creation in entomological boxes. A creation assembled from coloured threads and micro cross-stitches, like cut DNA segments or pixels, ranging from a dung-beetle to an admiral or even a monarch. The same monarch butterfly, whose unparalleled, 7,000 kilometers-long or even trans-Atlantic migration the humankind has long surpassed in distance, flamboyance, and, surely, impact on ecosystems.

            At the same time it represents the author’s attempt at recording the travel experiences in metal – a temporary, decaying material, which is still much less ephemeral that the life of a butterfly or our memory. In an ambivalent process, our memory rusts as we keep it, with all the ensuing meanings and meaninglessness of the Zenonian aporia and paradoxes of being here and now simultaneously with inexorable change. These holey tin lids serve the author as tunnels, wormholes capable of bringing back impressions from years ago. They are old rusty records playing back the travel reminiscences to the author herself and to you. Bon appétit.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tomas Kriaunevičius