“Villa Lituania” is a multimedia set up that revolves across the historical past of the constructing of the identical identify (inbuilt Rome at By way of Nomentana 116 by architects Pio and Marcello Piacentini in 1912). Internet hosting the Lithuanian Embassy from 1937 to 1940, it was seized by the Soviet Union and have become the image of the final territory occupied. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, it was used because the seat of the Consular Workplace of the Russian Embassy in Italy, a operate it nonetheless serves at the moment. Now Villa Lituania continues to exist as a container of collective and private tales, and it gives a place to begin for analyzing the story of liberation from international occupation by way of artwork and the connection between people and animals as a possible technique of escape from battle and its sedimentations.

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas strategy the complexity of the constructing’s prolonged position in diplomacy from an inventive perspective, each trying to find historic reality in unpublished archival footage and interviewing witnesses, but in addition imagining actions that may present types of repairing relations between the 2 nations. Amongst these, one driving pressure behind the venture attracts on the custom of service pigeons, which have been used so long as 3,000 years in the past by the Egyptians and Persians but in addition within the twentieth century’s two world wars as an answer to sabotaged telecommunication networks. Service pigeons have been genealogically chosen by people to additional refine their innate potential to journey lengthy distances and return residence. Distances over 1,800 km have been recorded throughout pigeon races, and the story of how the pigeon Paddy relayed info to the British concerning the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944 after escaping assaults by German hawks skilled to intercept pigeons has gone down in historical past. The connection between people and birds turns into each a metaphor for peaceable coexistence at Villa Lituania and an expression of an oppressed individuals’s proper to return residence embodied within the primal intuition that animates the unbelievable efforts these pigeons make.
Evoking this potential in 2007, the artists proposed establishing a pigeon loft within the Russian Consulate’s backyard that will obtain birds bringing messages of peace from the Lithuanian Pavilion on the Venice Biennial grounds. When the Villa Lituania web site was rejected as a vacation spot, the Lithuanian-born Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas—constructing the brand new “La Nuvola” Conference Middle on the time—enthusiastically welcomed the artists’ thought, suggesting that the pigeons’ return loft could be hosted in Rome’s EUR district close by. Regardless of assist from quite a few establishments together with Rome’s ninth Municipality and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Actions’ Directorate-Common for Structure and Up to date Artwork on the time, not even the latter resolution was adopted. After conferring with many service pigeon trainers in Italy, Lithuania, and Poland, in a symbolic gesture, Urbonas launched in Venice 1,000 birds on the day that the Lithuanian Pavilion opened in Venice, all of which flew again to their locations of launch the next month. No pigeon loft will ever be erected in Rome, however the set up on the Museum of Civilizations gives a replica of 1 within the guise of Villa Lituania round which 9 movies made throughout the course of will probably be projected from 5 areas for instance the intertwining tales of an affair that’s seemingly motionless in its historic context however really extraordinarily present as a substitute in imagining artwork as a instrument that may rewrite narratives and alter factors of view even years and years later with sudden dislocations in area and time.

These movies are woven with the numerous tales and testimonies the artists gathered fastidiously, such because the childhood reminiscences of Kazys Lozoraitis (son of Stasys Lozoraitis Sr.) on the villa and the investigations of journalist Saulius Kubilius on the erasure of the inscriptions praising Lithuania’s liberation from Soviet occupation prior his 1989 go to to Rome of Mikhail Gorbachev, then the President of the USSR. Working round Villa Lituania’s tales additionally offered Urbonas the chance to analyze a historical past of protest, observing the evolution of its types and the diploma of repression and self-censorship exercised over it. Working with Villa Lituania and its tales additionally offered Urbonas with the chance to analyze a protest motion: how its types advanced with the diploma of repression and self-censorship exercised over it. If the well being of a democracy will also be assessed by the liberty it permits within the challenges posed to its governing energy, then lots of the set up’s movies could also be seen as being essentially necessary and well timed workout routines in maintaining the participation of residents and organizations in public life vital and alive.

The “Villa Lituania” set up by the artists Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas brings witness to the artwork’s energy of diplomacy in mediating complicated conflicts and legacies, right here, by the creation of an interspecies embassy that provides an artist’s speculation of cultural reparation. The exhibition itself embodies the homecoming spirit innate to service pigeons, lastly bringing the pigeon loft imagined by the artists to Rome, simply footsteps from “La Nuvola” Conference Corridor and some kilometers from the place Villa Lituania nonetheless stands at By way of Nomentana 116.

Curated by
Matteo Lucchetti

at Museo delle Civiltà, Rome
till February 4, 2024



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