‘Assembling a Nuclear Lithuania’ Exhibit at the Architectural Association, London, UK

March 1-25, 2018: Egle Rindzeviciute designed an object ‘Assembling a Nuclear Lithuania‘ in co-operation with a British-Lithuanian architect Jonas Zukauskas. ‘Assembling a Nuclear Lithuania’ is a pilot exhibit that engages with significant aspects of the assembling a nuclear Lithuania, but does not claim to propose an exhaustive narrative leaving both the past and the future open. Its conical shape is inspired by a space-time model where time does not flow in a linear fashion, but curves. The cone seeks to capture the complex multiplicity of actorial spaces and times in the making of the nuclear industry, politics and society in Lithuania, as the country shifted from communist to liberal democratic government.

The themes presented in the pilot do not follow a single chronology or disciplinary view: both the development and decommissioning of the nuclear industry are constructive processes, in which new relations of meaning are formed. The power of these relations can only be examined from multiple disciplinary positions, combining the history of science and technology, heritage and cultural studies, political and economic histories, and anthropology. No single approach is hegemonic: the power of the atom cannot be captured by only one type of expert.

The semi-transparent structure of the pilot exhibit hints at the difficult politics of knowledge around nuclearity, where science and technology are intertwined with economic, political and security interests. In designing this object, we approached this lack of transparency as a resource, a milieu where multiple stories and images can overlap and coexist, contributing to the augmentation of a richer texture of knowledges and agencies that emerge in response to the uncertain atomic future.

‘Assembling a Nuclear Lithuania’ was specially produced for the exhibition The Baltic Material Assemblies, curated by Jonas Zukauskas and Jurga Daubaraite at the Architectural Association (AA) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London, the UK.

To mark the centenary of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian independence, The Baltic Material Assemblies presents architecture of the Baltic states, exploring the material, infrastructural and cultural connections that have persevered despite the political borders and conflict lines that have been laid throughout the region. The exhibition investigates futurity through its inscription into the region’s geology, infrastructure and architecture. Presented at the AA and RIBA, it reveals built space as a common ground for European unity.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the only former Soviet states to have become members of the European Union. An overwhelming majority of the energy networks, mining operations and urban layouts that were instruments of the soviet industrialisation of the Baltic states remain functional today. The reconfiguration or dismantling of this vast space demands a new relationship between society and its environment. The transformation of the Baltic states is incremental, synchronised, negotiated on many levels and in many cases only made possible through the support of other members of the EU.

Electricity grids, fossil fuel pipelines, nuclear assemblies, geological sections, minerals, landform buildings, insulation materials, and landscape photographs are assembled in this exhibition and outline the background to the new architectural commitments of the Baltic states.

For a full description of the text of ‘Assembling a Nuclear Lithuania’ please follow this link.