"The futurologist Stanisław Lem predicted that technological development would increasingly dominate human relations. Artificial (machine) intelligence would even go so far as to attempt to substitute feelings inherent to human beings. “It will not,” Lem stated in one of his late interviews. He knew that true artificial intelligence could not be created; better and better imitations would appear instead. The electronic device called the computer already pretends to have intelligence, and is even able to be a conscious conversation partner for human beings, but that is neither deception nor substitution, but imitation. Materialized psychical projections based on an individual’s memory appear in Lem’s space drama Solaris. The astronaut Kris Kelvin is visited by a woman who is outwardly identical to his dead wife. Legendary Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, who interpreted the novel quite freely, filmed the story in 1972. In his film, Tarkovsky added a family element, so that the astronaut visits his father and his family house before going to space. Additionally, quite a long part of the film version takes place on earth, both the astronaut’s departure from it and return at the end of the film when he goes back to his father’s house. The way the film is constructed, or more precisely, composed, the frames of nature scenes have a quite symbolic meaning, and are visually connected to the paintings of Renaissance or Romantic masters. To me it seemed that Tarkovsky was less critical than Lem of the increasing impact of the electronic media (or media in general) on human relations.
In my short film, Revisiting Solaris, the actor Donatas Banionis appears in his role as Kris Kelvin again more than forty years after Andrei Tarkovskys Solaris was made. Revisiting Solaris is based on the last chapter of Lem’s book, the part that had been left out of Tarkovsky’s version. In this last chapter, Kelvin reflects on his brief visit on the “soil” of the planet Solaris shortly before his return from the space mission. As material to visualise the landscape of Solaris, I used a series of photographs made by the Lithuanian symbolist painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis in 1905 in Anapa. Čiurlionis’ works are marked by an original conception of space, producing the impression of an infinite expanse and limitless time. The pictures thus take on a quality of cosmic vision and deep inner concentration. I found it very interesting that in 1971 Andrei Tarkovsky filmed the same surface of the Black Sea in Crimea to represent the landscape of the mysterious ocean.
Deimantas Narkevičius’ film and video works are informed by the artist’s preoccupation with Lithuania’s history, past and present, and the experience of communist rule, and are shaped, both formally and substantially by the utopias propounded in the ideologies of the vanished Soviet era. At second glance, though, his works appear engaged in a general and intense exploration of our contemporary, subjective treatment of histories. Human memory appears to have its own particular way of connecting memories of experiences in life and imagined events. To create access to and reflection on the diverse historical and social levels, Narkevičius applies a variety of narrative elements and film techniques, integrating constructivist and conceptualist strategies. Through his training as a sculptor, he sees his works as digital plastic forms defining specific places and structures.
At Rohkunstbau, Deimantas Narkevičius is showing his short film “Revisiting Solaris” – a personal homage both to Stanislaw Lem’s famous science fiction novel and Andrei Tarkowsky’s renowned film of the book. Narkevičius has also borrowed from the works of the symbolic Lithuanian painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis to create his vision of the landscape on Solaris. In his work, Narkevičius critically examines the concept of artificial intelligence, investigating what it implies for the world of human relations and emotions. Solaris, that strange, manipulative planet, represents Atlantis just as much as it does an imaginary world that holds a mirror to lived reality.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2008 The Unanimous Life, Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
2008 The Dud Effect, Barbara Weiss Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2006 Screening, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2004 Films screening, Tate Modern, London, UK
2001 Lithuanian Pavilion, (49.) Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Selected Group Exhibitions
2008 Art Focus 2008, International Biennale of Contemporary Art (curators Bernard Blistène & Ami Barak), Jerusalem, Israel
2008 The Vincent Award 2008, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2007 Deimantas Narkevicius and Július Koller, Art Premiere, gb agency, Art 38 Basel, Switzerland
2006 The Last Chapter-Trace Route: Remapping Global Cities, (6.) Gwangju Biennale, South Korea
2005 Black Market Worlds, (9.) Baltic Triennial of International Art, CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania
2004 Focus on D. Narkevicius, (33.) International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands