interdisciplinary art programmes
May 20th, 1997

Ground Control

Ground Control. Technology and Utopia: a book, website and exhibition; exchange between British and Lithuanian artists, a collaboration between Beaconsfield, London and jutempus, Vilnius / 1995 – 1997

Ground Control to Major Tom;
your circuits dead there’s
something wrong
Can you hear me Major Tom?
Can you hear me Major Tom?
Can you….
РDavid Bowie,  Space Oddity

“It might be worth our while to stay… We’re unlikely¬† learn anything about it but about ourselves…”
– Stanislaw Lem, Solaris

Ground Control is the working title of what has become on ongoing communication between artists in Britain and Lithuania. It is also the name of contemporary art exhibitions in London and Vilnius, a book and a web site.

Communication between Beacosfield in London and jutempus in Vilnius was first established in 1994 and over the ensuing period has involved international travel and negotiations with many and various agencies and people. The original individuals instrumental in putting the two artist-initiated organisations in contact, have since moved on, leaving their mark on the character of this happening which will physically take place over four weeks in Lithuania and Britain, infinitely mutate over time throughout the awesome mechanism of the World Wide Web. having opened up a dialogue, it became apparent that the convential exhibition formula might be inadequate to fully address the cultural context in which contemporary artists in Lithuania and Britain are working. Ground Control, was at one point, the subject of a bid to the European Union which proposed to equip and consolidate the physical and organisational structure of jutempus as the first independen arts initiative in Lithuania, using the exhibition project as its vehicle. The project, though ultimately unsuccessful, was short-listed. However the topicality of developing global communications networks, the historical significance of the opening up of Eastern Europe, the ease of international
travel together with concerns within contemporary art practice about interactivity survived as a potent cocktail for an art project. Furthermore the notion of opening a window between east and west Europe using visual artists as envoys for audiences in their respective countries remained the concept upon which Ground Control developed.
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