Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas were born in Lithuania. They were both educated at Vilnius Art Academy, gaining MAs in visual arts in 1994. In 1997 they were co-founders of the JUTEMPUS interdisciplinary art program – a model for social and artistic practice interested in designing organisational structures that question the relativity of freedom. In 2000 they co-founded VILMA – Vilnius Interdisciplinary Lab for Media. They have been awarded a number of high level grants and residency awards to pursue their investigations into old and new media practice. They live and work in Vilnius and also spend time working in Stuttgart where they are connected with Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. Their work was shown at Documenta 11 in Kassel in 2002.
(The Transaction Project will be in display during Verbindingen/Jonctions 7)
Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, both seduced by the flexibility of heterogeneous practice, are committed to study the transformation of Lithuanian society into a capitalist society. They started by introducing a self-organised platform that works with the mechanisms of the psyche as it goes through a transitional period of change.
Since 1997 they run JUTEMPUS interdisciplinary art programs - a model for social and artistic practice with an interest in designing organisational structures that question the relativity of freedom. They develop program as the production space with the objective of building frameworks for new and old media practices and facilitating a creative discussion within a critical discourse.
Continuing their investigation into different modes of production, during 1998-99 they elaborated tvvv.plotas, realised as a collaborative strategy of infiltration into the National TV channel. Merging tools of broadcast, chat, and live discussion, tvvv.plotas charts out the territory of articulation of contemporary artistic practice between east and west.
With an emphasis on the collaborative model they developed the TRANSACTION project, launched in 2000 on the invitation of Witte de With, Rotterdam, as a framework to trace the script of life through the history of media. Techniques of collaboration, discussion, packaging of information and dissemination of it through media channels and systems of signs are used for an investigation into gendered space. The methodology comes from transactional psychoanalysis which suggests a structure based on a drama triangle between three roles of victim, persecutor and defender. The model of three-way dialogue between women, psychiatrists and film archive facilitates a paradigm for script analysis; it maps out the invisible territory of despatches, becoming a kind of ‘unpacking’ of closed off memories and voices. Through the shared recollections of media project builds a pathway to navigate from the past to the present during further developments and sessions at Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart 2000, IASPIS Stockholm 2001, Ludwig Museum Budapest 2002, Sprengels Museum Hannover, 2002, Manifesta 4, Frankfurt.
Invited to participate in Documenta 11, TRANSACTION develops ‘Voice Archive’, reflecting the social construction and metaphysical qualities of the voice of Lithuanian women, featured through a set of samples ranging from speech and narrative to chanting and songs.
Provoked by the notion of ‘the absence of women’s voice’, Nomeda & Gediminas develop ‘Ruta Remake’ project, launched at Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart 2002 and further continued at KunstnernesHus Oslo 2003 and Secession Viena 2003. Ruta Remake is suggested as a mapping device to redraw a traditional pattern concerning identity politics in Lithuania today. It seeks out representations that do not revert to securities offered by nationalist types, but are linked to creating identities in the search for shaping new options. These are suggested as a play between forms, from the remnants of 'Homo Sovieticus' to the Modern Capitalistic Model.