Abandoned Soviet nuclear rocket launch bases form the subject of this film. There is a base like this here in Lithuania. It was closed down back in 1977, but the underground catacomb structure is still impressive by its scale and scope. I have found a few people who did serve in such a base and who provided me with all technical and particular information on the way it was functioning. My basic idea is to create a film in which the scenario would be a shot of such a rocket from the site in Lithuania. Fortunately, such a thing never happened during the period of Cold War, but within new political turn of confrontation between West and East (including Russia), the horror – which we thought was gone – of possible nuclear strategical weapon confrontation is rising from the past.
The other source of inspiration for this theme is the outstanding film by Peter Watkins “The War Game”. I do not want to go on commenting this film, but the fact that such a film appeared in 1965 shows individual and collective concern of the danger of nuclear weapon competition back in the 60’s in the UK. Unfortunately, such a concern has never sprung out in the former East. I am afraid there is much less will to understand the deadly potential of the weapons of mass destruction, which are still available.
My basic scenario for this work is to (re)create a shot of R-14 type rocket from the site. I am not using an animation or 3D technologies to illustrate such an act. It is still more about filming this quite large territory of nature (with the remains of the base) as well as the structure of the catacombs with the intention to convey a psychological perception of consternation of such a possible act and its outcome.
In addition I am using some extra found footage from the 70’s, filmed around in Lithuania (actually the area is very beautiful, it is one of a few national parks of the country with a rich fauna). There are also some unique B&W photo material of the R-14 complex ready to attack, taken during practical training at some identical site, used for the film. To recreate “launching”, I used very modest means of film collage (more like a suggestion) including the B&W photo shots and a soundtrack of commands in Russian. I actually met a Russian officer who still remember them by heart (Deimantas Narkevicius). —gbagency.fr
Deimantas Narkevičius is an artist and filmmaker born in 1964 in Utena, currently based in Vilnius. He graduated sculpture at Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts and spent a year in London in 1992/93, which affected his later interest in site-specific art and concern with the concept of place in a broader discursive sense.
Since the late Nineties he mostly works in film and video, experimenting with the film structure and thematizing the weight of subjective memories and personal revisions of the History. As the artist has himself stated a number of times, his films in a certain way are extended sculptures, not only closely adjusted to the physical sites of their installation, but also thematically departing from very specific personal circumstances or experiences. Nevertheless, working in different film formats, often inserting fragments of other media – drawing, found photograph and footage into his films, Narkevičius expands temporal and spatial boundaries of his narratives. With… read more