On Networks

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Photo by Austėja Masliukaitė

by Austėja Masliukaitė

“Just like photography doesn’t give you reality, science does not give you reality either – you have to have certain knowledge to read things you encounter” said professor Jonkus as we sat in a white box auditorium at the Nida Art Colony. Could there be a better setting to dwell upon the uncertainty of our reality and – even more so – of our future as a species than on an ever-shifting stroke of sand the Curonian spit is?
Unbounded by any particular scientific precision, every participant of our Trans-sensor networks residency set out to create their own understanding of what had been suggested as the theoretical basis. Posthuman aesthetics introduced by Mindaugas Gapševičius was followed by his workshop of detecting micellium – an all-connecting network of fungi – underneath the mossy surface of the local forest. This correlated beautifully with Alvydas Lukys’ lecture on defining frontiers of media, where he took the notion of a network to that which connects all living things – the biological kingdom of plants in particular. Dalius Jonkus’ take on confrontation between correlationism versus speculative realism provided one with a gust of a natural philosophical confusion towards choosing how to think of the existing things – a paradoxical question once you start doubting what you see, hear and experience in general. Weren’t we all, however, there and then to do exactly that – question and reflect?

Reflections were varying just as the crowd we were – younger and older, from as far as Israel to Italy, Germany, the UK to Lithuania, and sometimes probably farther in our heads than one could express. Hence, in the final moments there were not only the objects, the visuals, the performances, but a clear temporary network that we all involved ourselves into. In other words, parallel to the philosophizing and conceptualizing, we were the proof of how any network – in this case a social and an artistic one – can and cannot work.