A Million Lines

Mrs. Miller – the protagonist of “Details,” a short story by an English writer, China Miéville – suffers from a peculiar affliction: she is tormented by compulsive visions. In every line, crack and crease in her surroundings she cannot but see strange and frightening creatures that seek to take control over our world. Trapped in the world of details, “a million little bloody edges, a million lines,” that constantly pull her imagination in one and the same direction, Mrs. Miller never leaves her house. The world beyond those walls is an unbearable sight, a massive portal, through which the other realm invades her world. Fearful of the multiplying visions, she attempts to stop the emergence of more cracks and paints all the walls of her house white. Despite tens of visions she experiences, her story can be read as a warning about the limitations of imagination controlled by external forces.

The realm of the Imaginary – a realm that actively intervenes into “reality” and modifies it – is a subject of inquiry of Lithuanian philosopher Kristupas Sabolius. He points to the dual nature of imagination: on the one hand, it expands the scope of human freedom, allowing us to see new possibilities and means of their realisation, on the other, however, there is a risk of it becoming the subject of control. The latter aspect is often a result of the work of the so-called “dream factories” – the industries of advertising, entertainment, and even culture, which “synchronise identities not by what we are but by what we dream.” In his texts, Sabolius analyses such forms of imagination that expose its potential as a critique of these mechanisms.

These two forms of narrative on imagination – the literary (Miéville) and the philosophical (Sabolius) – meet in the space of “A Million Lines,” exhibition presented at the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art in Krakow. Organised in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) of Vilnius, the exhibition is a part of the XII Baltic Triennial that has been scattered across a couple of years in several countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland). The guiding principle of the Triennial is an idea picked up from an interview with the artist David Bernstein: “what is an artwork today can be something else tomorrow.” In the Krakow exhibition, this journey towards “something else,” a vast field of yet unknown and unnamed possibilities, is explored with the help of a single conceptual hinge – the idea of imagination.

These themes will be explored by over 30 contributors, in particular artists from Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands, and the United States: Wojciech Bąkowski, Nick Bastis and Darius Mikšys, David Bernstein and Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson, Māris Bišofs, Brud, Magda Buczek, Marek Chlanda, Beth Collar, Valentina Desideri and Céline Condorelli, Dina Danish, Kipras Dubauskas, Michał Gayer, gerlach en koop, Antanas Gerlikas, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Laura Kaminskaitė, Erki Kasemets, Yazan Khalili, Mikko Kuorinki, Žilvinas Landzbergas, Marcos Lutyens, Robertas Narkus, Rosalind Nashashibi, Bianka Rolando, Viktorija Rybakova, Algirdas Šeškus, Jay Tan, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas.

Related events will be organised with participation of Post Brothers and Kristupas Sabolius.
A book by Kristupas Sabolius, the first major translation of his work into both Polish and English, will be published on the occasion of the exhibition.

“A Million Lines” is organised by Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art with Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius within the framework of the XII Baltic Triennial and the “Lithuania in Krakow: Season of Culture 2015”, and is supported by Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Frame Visual Art Finland and the Mondriaan Foundation.

Organizer: Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
Co-organizers: Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) Vilnius, Litwa w Krakowie
Partners: Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia, “kim?” Contemporary Art Centre Riga, Lithuanian Culture Institute
With the financial support of: Frame Visual Art Finland, Mondriaan Fundation, Litewskie Ministerstwo Kultury
Gallery Media Patronage: Fragile. Pismo kulturalne, Le Monde Diplomatique, Local Life, Off Radio Kraków, O.pl, Radio Kraków
Exhibition Media Patronage: Szum, The Balitc Notebooks of Anthony Blunt, Usta, Weranda Weekend

photos: Justyna Gryglewicz