Perkūnas [Thunder]

Perkūnas [the Lithuanian name for (the God of) Thunder] is a large structure built of ventilation ducts. A ventilation fan, installed outside the gallery, passes air through the duct, producing noise. A microprocessor monitors the space for active Wi-Fi-enabled electronic gadgets and controls the amount of air flowing through the duct and hence, the amount of noise in the room. If there are no gadgets present or if Wi-Fi is disabled, the duct makes little or no sound. With a couple of gadgets, it will make a louder sound. The more gadgets, the more sound. Our ability to communicate verbally is directly affected by the amount of gadgets. If we leave our gadgets behind or turn them off, Perkūnas will stay quiet, although it also reacts to the electromagnetic weather produced by stray signals in other parts of the museum, a nearby Korean restaurant, and the street outside.

Perkūnas is neither art nor architecture. Like Aleksandra Kašuba’s curved surfaces and Valdas Ozarinskas’ installations, it occupies another conceptual space. Like Vladas Urbanavičius’s “Krantinės arka (Arch on the Quay),” it occupies a position between infrastructure and art. Nor is this a work of new media. There are no screens to look at, there is no interface to play with. Invoking the name of Perkūnas suggests an affinity with magic; in a world of technology, we once again believe things have spirits and we devote our lives to worshipping them.