Audiovisual poetry band “AVaspo” together with dramaturge Gabrielė Labanauskaitė, theatre director Saulė Norkutė and a new creative team raised the question of contemporary understanding of gender which will transform into a toxoplasmotic performance and presented it the 15th and 17th of October in Kirtimai culture centre.
The real Gondii syndrome is a toxoplasmic virus, which causes an inflammation, disturbance of the consciousness, orientation and behavioral changes. The syndrome in “AVaspo” musical performance is a diagnostic algorithm, which replicates in each one of us and has specific causes and unpredictable consequences. Not always people actually notice when they have an illness and even when the illness is identified, not always they want to cure it. Not always we fight the stereotypes that surround and limit us or question the hierarchical rules that are cast upon us from above of how we should understand the world we live in every day.
“During the day’ is a poetry movie based on a song of audiovisual poetry group AVaspo. It’s about the daily actions we take every day and changing modes. During the day many times we meet people, we feel glad, discouraged , we want to be nice to each other , fighting fatigue, dragons, and demons routine . Sometimes the day kaleidoscope is infinitely large, sometimes restricted by daily work habits and dusty schedule. “During the day” combines different parallel ongoing storyboard which together have little in common. In this way, we want to show the mechanism of human activities , in which each character is a certain screw, an important process in the overall movement , but directly influences the other screw . Line of the poem “In the day we love to be filled by algorithms” expresses that really is not all we want and we are able to solve. Rush and employment math does not allow for longer each other to a halt.
This enhances the sense of alienation of different clips of the selected area. City Life , succinctly embodied in the Vilnius and London skyline speaks of bridges district , market and metro life. Although the forest symbolizes the nostalgic longing for nature, natural rhythms and relaxing, but eventually becomes a kind of labyrinth, in which we try to find a way out of the current situation. But isn’t the city is the new jungle ? And if so, then what’s the difference where we get lost? You might not need to change the way a pilgrim and turning into a military robot, waking up many times daily fight with myself
Text and voice: Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena (AVaspo)
Music: Vladas Dieninis (AVaspo)
Directors: Justinas Beinorius ir Gabrielė Labanauskaitė-Diena
Camera: Justinas Beinorius, Joh Sena, Mantas Šalčius
We are pleased to commemorate the six years anniversary of the project by sharing a special gift with you. We have compiled a mix for the interdisciplinary internet journal Secret Thirteen. It’s a contemplative and profound audio selection influenced by the harmony of art, visual fragments, texts, noise and silence that surrounds and stimulates AVaspo’s members everyday.
It has been just a short while since the birth of the third album by Avaspo bathed in the melting snow rivers of March. One could symbolically call The Ocean is Bleeding a reincarnation of the previous album No Ocean, but only partially – due to the similarity of the name and, of course, the lingering themes of human existence and instinctive world view in the creative works of Gabrielė Labanauskaitė. And if we go back to the second album Niagara a surprising wide spectrum of musical forms opens up in front of us, which is a very important aspect trying to appraise the oeuvre of a performer. Nobody can deny that this quality is innate, dominant and essential for AVaspo.
The debut of AVaspo was back in 2009, when the band released their album No Ocean. In it the listener could notice a rather strong, dark, trip-hop style instrumentation, sometimes complemented with noise effects or (for instance in the song „Post card to Alaska“) the synthesis of avant-garde poetry, electronic music and grotesque trills of keyboard. The second release Niagara from the very first sounds shines as a snake, which has just shed its skin – crisp reefs of electric guitar, the dialogue of synthesizers creates the atmosphere of space-rock and the vocals are left unmodified unified with natural instrumental parts. Niagara even now stands out in the discography of AVaspo, due to the fact that the new creation The Ocean is Bleeding is returning to colder, minimalistic forms of electronics which are complemented by the arctic illustrations by Dovilė Puzinaitė on the album cover.
Starting with the concept for The Ocean is Bleeding, the vocalist and text author G.Labanauskaitė has as well mentioned to the press that nature and its elements are her inspiration and one of the main themes both in the new album and in the whole musical self-expression. In the first song „If you‘re walking backwards“the fading evening windows in the urban jungle of the city become the metaphor of sad human eyes (which is amplified by the sounds of tribal electronics) and walking backwards (the incorrect walking back as a perverted human relation with nature) leads North, where the polar bears watch television like in a ghastly surrealistic painting.
A similar message is encoded in the song „Bison“ – while hundreds of bison are running by the windows later on to be changed by giraffes and dinosaurs, the rumbling of their steps travels miles, but the spaced-out man just drinks his tea in the sitting room and turns up the radio, not hearing „the things that really matter“. Here the modern everyday life of a human being intersects and is hardly compatible with the frail nature. Nature itself is unbelievable and spectacular, but modern day human is still more mesmerized by technology and invention, which boosts his ego and creates the illusion of being the master of the universe while at the same time he is completely helpless faced with the mighty elements. „Soul tourism“expresses a though that we travel the world not by trains or airplanes, but by our thoughts and inner energy. It is possible that this kind of relation between human beings and the nature is what the world lacks the most – one must not bind himself in a set of ecological rules and requirements, but experience the nature emphatically.
With every album AVaspo was different – some members left, others joined. This snake is meant to constantly shed its skin. Most of the listeners, who heard the last album of AVaspo or went to a few recent performances will have to agree that the strands of electronic sound created by Gediminas Žygus (a.k.a. Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf), who joined the band a year ago, have grown strong and convincing. If the rhythmic composition and effects in the first album were gently labeled as trip-hop by the critics, then in The Ocean is Bleeding these structures vary from ambient murmurs („To nowhere“, „The Ocean is Bleeding“, „With a knife“) to pulsing chill wave loops and even dark lurid witch house synthesizers („Soul tourism“, „Bison“).
Some music performers are valued by a specific progress or regress they experience in their careers, some – by the moods and ideas captured in their recordings. AVaspo are unique and can not be measured just by one scale – technically the collective remains strong, the moods (ideas) are expressed through the poetry of G. Labanauskaitė, which, as have been mentioned before, was always stable, loyal to the same values and ideals. So what would be the most appropriate criteria to evaluate AVaspo? The element of surprise, experiment, game? Could be. After all a „snake bite is unpredictable“.
Interviewer: Goda Raibytė | DIENA.lt Translation: Nida Šereikaitė
The first performance, where was that? What was the feeling? What was expected from the debut and what did You gain from it?
Back in those days AVaspo was not a band, it was a project in Gabrielė‘s mind. By uniting different sound (Aivaras Ruzgas, Antanas Dombrovskis, Vladas Dieninis) and video artists (Aurelija Maknytė, Virginija Apšegaitė, Virginijus Malčius), I imagined this project only as a non-recurring event with the goal of expressing poetry through a new symbiosis of sound and visual. Speaking otherwise, I wanted to publish Nėra okeano (No Ocean) as poetry CD/DVD instead of the usual book format. With the sponsorship of Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and together with the publisher Kitos knygos it was possible to slowly make it all a reality – by uniting different workgroups, recording and perfecting the separate tracks, filming, editing and etc. At that time we were joined by guitarist Pavelas Kostiukovas, who stayed with us for quite some time even after. Because even the printed cover art for Nėra okeano was assembled by hand, the whole production lasted about a year.
Each December, when we are one step closer to a new life, or rather, one step closer to cross the verge of the New Year, an existential unease dawns on us. Who are we? Where are we going? Are we moving towards the direction we so yearned to go? And finally, do we really need to set a direction for ourselves?
So many things had happened during the last five years: while being just three of us, we gained momentum; we also had pinnacle stages, when the chemistry of sound, contrived by our musicians, reached crescendo; there was also an upshot from the last year, which was a testament – a testament either of the end, or of the outcry to phoenix for help, so we could rise as he did from the ashes. Phoenix did come, and, very naturally for AVaspo, brought not only new musical direction, but also a different outlook towards the harmony of music and poetry.
Having observed our concert guests and internet friends, we can tell that a part of them are changing in accordance with our musical style. Some members of our old audiences remain the same – they travel with us in the maze we journey through. I believe our lungs share the same air, together we inhale the oxygen of constant search and discovery. It is the same smell which cannot be mistaken for anything else, just this band. Not because we are better. Because we are different.
Although the end of the year has not yet arrived, Avaspo is already confident to state that their plans are fulfilled. Fresh line-up, renewed repertoire, many concerts in Lithuania, a tour in Iceland, two new music videos and a third album on the way.
The head of the group, a playwright and poet, one of the organizers of the interdisciplinary festival “Tarp”, Gabrielė Labanauskaitė speaks about works already finished and plans for the future.
A rare and unique combination of performance, concert and art installation was presented during the “Culture Night 2011” event.
“A window of solitude shows silent cinema” – this one line from a poem by Gabrielė Labanauskaitė, writer for “Avaspo“, became an axle for a collaboration venture, connecting audiovisual poetry band and two French visual artists Nicolas Perge and Raphael Dupont.
“De Solitude/Vienatvė” draws a dotted dramaturgic line, where strokes of poetry, musical feelings, performativity and visual stories meet.