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15.
05

VIEWPOINT

Klaipėdos dramos teatras

Studio

05.15–06.12

Open to the public for 1 hour before and after festival events

Audio-visual installation

Adomas Zubė

In the 19th century, according to a strict arboricultural plan, the dunes of the Curonian Spit were planted with mountain pines, intended to help contain the sand that was covering the villages of local inhabitants as well as flowing into the entrance to the Klaipėda port. This extensive project created a new view of the spit, densely covered with forest. After more than a hundred years, the vast tracts of mountain pines, having outgrown their natural lifespan and become toughened, have turned as flammable as gunpowder.

Human-induced fires have burned through significant areas of mountain pine forests in the Curonian Spit multiple times. Each of these fires created charred clearings in the forest, which both the public and foresters were eager to replant. However, according to biologists studying the Curonian Spit, by burning parts of the mountain pine forest the fire has also opened up space for greater biodiversity to develop naturally where previously only mountain pines had dominated. This also has created habitats for endangered birds.

Fire is commonly perceived as a destructive force. Uncontrolled wildfires, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change, destroy a great deal of valuable vegetation and natural habitats. However, according to environmental historian Stephen J. Pyne, we have too much of the wrong kind and too little of the right kind of fire. Fire, even in cases like this, acts as a natural forester, destroying cultural landscapes but creating space for natural ones to thrive.

Sound journalist and artist Adomas Zubė, in collaboration with the Nida folk dance group “Kalnapušė”, continues the research that began in the “Neringa Forest Architecture” residency organized by the Nida Art Colony, and presents a sound-based memory room, a space telling the story of the 2014 mountain pine forest fire in the Curonian Spit. Conversations with those who fought the fire, along with voices, dance, a harmonium, and field recordings from the burn site, are woven into a chorus that narrates the natural and human loss.

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