SILENT TEMPLES is an audiovisual installation, which comprises an 80 minute video film and a 5.1 surround soundtrack. This project is a collaboration between myself and my friend and colleague multimedia artist Vilius Jokubaitis. Vilius currently lives in Glasgow UK and teaches sound engineering at the SAE Glasgow Institute. Vilius created SILENT TEMPLES soundtrack, whereas I created the video film.
Silent temples are also nine historical sites located in river Minija valley between Macuičiai and Kvietiniai villages, Klaipėda region, western Lithuania. These sites are a big part of the Curonian heritage. Curonians are the Baltic tribe that used to inhabit this area from the 5th to the 16th centuries. Me and Vilius share a deep spiritual connection to these nine sites that goes back to our childhood. This connection stayed strong even during years living abroad. In 2018 both of us together visited these nine places and had some wonderful experiences which we then epitomised into SILENT TEMPLES.
SILENT TEMPLES combines a handful of concepts:
- Psychogeography, a term proposed by the post-modern philosopher Guy Debord in 1955. It describes a study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. The practice of psychogeography is a comparison of experiences gained through a direct contact with the area of exploration to available historical information about that area.
- Zen-buddhist understanding of consciousness. Both me and Vilius share a long-term interest in Zen philosophy and practice of meditation. We used meditation as a method for our psychogeographical explorations at the aforementioned nine sites.
- Sigils – graphic signs that aid meditation and help to achieve certain changes within the consciousness of the practitioner. This practice dates back to medieval times and has been revived by the British artist Austin Osman Spare in the first decade of the 20th century. After that it got adopted by the surrealist artists such as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and others. Carl Gustav Jung looked into sigil practice to find that sigils have a strong relation to human unconscious. In fact they are symbols that the unconscious is using to communicate with us. Knowledge about Sigil practice inspired me to take a fresh look at the ancient Baltic signs. BALTIC SIGILS are symbolic sign compositions which were born through practical experimentation attempting to establish an intuitive contact with this ancient sign language devised by our ancestors. Shapes that were drawn during meditation sessions at the aforementioned nine places then were analysed by comparing them to ethnological and semiotical explanations of ancient Baltic symbolism. The result of this experiment – sixteen sigils that express various concepts related to cosmology and states of consciousness. These sixteen signs have become the core element of the SILENT TEMPLES video film. They have also become an introductory set of sixteen postcards, which can be purchased while visiting the installation, or online:
SILENT TEMPLES video film consists of 17 animated photomontages, which composed from photographs taken at the aforementioned nine places. Cyclical passage of seasons and is felt in the film. The soundtrack is composed of field recordings also made at the same nine places at different times of day, different seasons etc. The Sigils emerge on screen at critical moments, accompanied by 3D sonic structures, designed by Vilius. The viewer experiences this as a subtle shift of states, similar to the sensations experienced while meditating. This way, by using contemporary technologies, we are attempting to take the viewer to similar states of consciousness that we experienced while meditating at the aforementioned nine places, and which became the source for the BALTIC SIGILS.
Contemporary art project SILENT TEMPLES is sponsored by Klaipėda City Municipality.
Audio-visual installation SILENT TEMPLES is currently touring Lithuania:
- 2020.06.04 – 2020.07.11 – Klaipėda Museum of History of Lithuania Minor;
- 2020.07.14 – 2020.08.07 – Palanga Amber Museum;
- 2020.08.08 – Kartena town festival;
- 2020.08.14 – 2020.08.16 – Kokopelli festival at the Vinetu Village, Kretinga district;
- 2020.08.27 – 2020.08.31 – Mėnuo Juodaragis festival, Zarasai district;