The exhibition showcases video works that introspect the Anthropocene, the current geological epoch in which human activity makes a significant impact on the planet's ecosystems. In the recent years, this term has received much attention from fields of politics, geography and environmental studies, and arts. Škarnulytė's works offer an interpretation that is simultaneously personal and common, fictional and documentary.
The artist finds her film subjects in personal stories, specific geographical locations, mythical characters, scientific knowledge production, political and economic projects. Quite often, the final work offers a hybrid of two or more, disclosing a fraction of multiple connections of a larger object, a hyper-object. Environment is perceived as borderless, contagious and tentacular event rather than a fixed idea or a steady object. Her moving image creates moments of transgression wherein deep time, physical perception and environmental havoc are interlaced together by a poetic, aesthetical approach.
Many of Škarnulytė’s projects begin as acts of displacement in which geography plays a significant role. The artist chooses to travel to remote locations in order to disclose various interplays of natural and artificial processes like eerie mining activity or sedating deconstruction of a nuclear plant. As a camerawoman, she places herself in the midst of transformations or ongoing flux, taking up a role of a performer and an active agent.
The exhibition at Decad showcases two video works that create an antagonism between visual differences and conceptual linkages. The first work, an abstract video loop, depicts a slow labour. A group of people and machines tear away blocks of concrete and steel, turning an industrial hall into a pile of rubbish. Arduous effort is required to demolish a nuclear plant and to discard its contaminated remains. An anchored camera view overlooking the process projects new, artificial units of deep time, discordant with accelerated industrial cycles.
Aldona (2015), a thirteen-minute video work originally shot on 16mm film, tells the story of an individual, an elderly woman living in the countryside who has been physically affected by the disaster at Chernobyl's nuclear plant in 1986. The documented character has lost her sight following the ecological catastrophe as the cloud of gaseous radioactive waste floated above the country, crossing territories of almost the whole of Europe and reaching as far as Canada. In the film, the protagonist pays a visit to Grūtas Park and its infamous collection of derelict communist sculptures, commemorative ruins for Soviet political elites. Without her visual sight, Aldona tries to recognise these monuments through touch, as making a performative gesture that acknowledges entangled personal, political and ecological histories.