Audiovisual urban birdwatching tour
15, 16, 17, 18, 19 April 2015, 7:15 pm
Departure from the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre (Gynėjų g. 14, Vilnius)
Director, performer and video artist Liz Dunn
Composer and sound artist Lawrence English
Dramaturg Lara Thoms
Field guide author Catherine Ryan
Costume designer Alia Parker
Field guide designer Rebecca McCauley
Producer Alison Halit (Aphids)
"Flyway" is a performative excursion that involves the public in the majestic and enchanting bird migration. Paying much attention to every new locality where the project is created, "Flyway" explores the ecological community of birds, people and locations of this space. According to the creators, it is important to realise that the issues of migration and climate change that are considered global are always also local problems.
The audiovisual journey "Flyway" gets deep in contemporary philosophical and ecological thinking and the perception of the changing relationship between us and nature, us and others. This is a subtle line between being oneself and somebody else. They are choices that eliminate the distance between here and there. They are collective and personal myths that we create in order to understand our place in this world and could choose the direction of our further movement.
The audiovisual experience gained during the "Flyway" journey touches the spheres of the real and virtual worlds. Part of the action takes place here and now, the other part was made beforehand. It is based on the indirect experience of humankind in the wild, while more and more people enjoy urban life, and encounter natural species that do not exist in the urban environment, only on the screen.
The "Flyway" creates a chance to cross our geographical, metaphysical and human boundaries as well approach the formation of something else: a bird, a flock, the air, a city, you, me.
In 2012 the "Flyway" was nominated for the Green Room Award for outstanding artistic production (Creative Agency for Audiences). The same year it won an award at the international contest Music Theatre NOW; in 2013 was awarded the Operadagen Rotterdam Festival prize. In 2014 the project "Flyway" was presented at the Operadagen Rotterdam Festival (the Netherlands) and at the international theatre festival Varna Summer (Bulgaria).
In Aphids' projects, we are interested in challenging the hierarchies of spectatorship. The public, art and artists become entangled as strange contexts allow for multiple purposes and interpretations. As Flyway is recreated in new locations, with new birds, birders and audiences, the work inevitably elicits readings that reflect distinct local contexts. It's this continual shifting of perspectives and the possibility for the ordinary and the spectacular to coexist that Aphids' projects revel in.
Lara Thoms, dramaturg
To compose the soundtrack for Flyway, I was interested to merge two discrete sound worlds - that which the birds found themselves in (including the birds themselves) and a ‘musical' space that utilised differing compositional elements to bring into focus the imagined challenges and reliefs that must occupy such a pilgrimage. To explore the world surrounding the birds, I applied a relational listening technique that married the two sets of ears all field recorders use - that of the organic ear and the prosthetic ear (of the microphone). It's in the space between these two ears that the field recording is formed, it represents to the audience a chance to listen to a listener's listening. This approach is critical for field recording, where there is only ever one chance to capture a moment in time from a given perspective (after all the natural world is in a constant chaotic flux). The recordings act as the final output from a series of creative, technical and aesthetic choices that are made by the field recorder in the lead up to the moment of recording. Once the record button is pressed, the work completes itself with each passing second until it is stopped.
Lawrence English, composer
90' (no intermission).
Instructions for spectators
"Flyway" is a ninety-minute long work that takes place in the open; therefore people should wear warm clothes and, if need be, be protected from the rain. The project starts and ends in different places. Therefore, it will not be possible to leave your things in the cloakroom; you have to carry them along.
The spectators will be given headphones and binoculars so that the people get involved in the audio landscape and be led through the town where they will encounter the live, changing, and cinematographic environment.
Unfortunately the project is not suitable for the physically challenged. About two and a half kilometres will be covered during the event, moving at a comfortable tempo.
Those who are late will not be able to join the group that has already left.
19 May 2012, Next Wave Festival (Melbourne, Australia).
"Flyway" was developed through the Next Wave Kickstart programme, Next Wave Festival.
The project was implemented in Vilnius with the help of the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Aphids is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
Special thanks to Marius Karlonas for his video material contributions
A meeting with Liz Dunn, the author of the "Flyway", will be held on 20 April 2015, 2:00 pm at the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre, before Liz leaves for Australia. Discussion will be moderated by the theatre critic Vlada Kalpokaitė and musicologist Veronika Janatjeva.
€10 (available at TIKETA