The chopping, The stirring, The occasion – Vytautas Bikauskas 7.12.2023 18.00

The chopping poster-12.23

The chopping, The stirring, The occasion
Food performance and sound art installation. (2023)
By Vytautas Bikauskas in collaboration with Bailey Polkinghorne
Dates: 8th-17th December
Opening Performance 7th. December 18.00

‘The chopping, the stirring, the occasion’ is a collaborative exhibition-performance that explores the intersection of food, installation, and sound art in Myymälä 2 kitchen. Through everyday routines, it reflects on the shifting modes of cooking, eating, and listening. The performance floats between the ritual of socialising around food making and the soundscape generated by communal cooking and data gathering within the kitchen space.

Vytautas Bikauskas explores the space of the kitchen as an emotionally charged environment that acts as a threshold of intimacy and trust – to ‘see the kitchen’ is to be allowed in and accepted. The main experience is a communal preparation of a traditional Lithuanian dish, a cold beetroot soup ‘šaltibarščiai’. In Lithuanian gastronomic culture, šaltibarščiai has always been enjoyed irrespective of class. It signifies comfort and evokes nostalgia, a dish that genuinely defines the gastronomic heritage of the country.

During the ‘šaltibarščiai‘ preparation and cooking, —which Vytautas values as a moment of camaraderie that brings people together— sounds produced by kitchen utensils, the rhythmic beat of slicing, chopping, clacking, stirring and people chatter are recorded. The collected data is then replayed on a loop as a perpetual, endless ritual of making and having food. Spoons set on stepper motors tap the cutting board, recreating a domestic rhythm of anticipation and care. The ‘šaltibarščiai‘ is served, trust, merriment, and hospitality pleasantries are exchanged.
In this context, the group meal wishes to reenact the meal alike the sacred communal activity it is, as evoked by Michael Polan: “The shared meal is no small thing. It is a foundation of shared life, the moment where our children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civilization: sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, and arguing without offending.” For the opening performance, Bailey Polkinghorne feeds back the meal as a soundscape – What’s left after it’s finished? As the loop repeats, the before and after of a meal becomes blurred, the kitchen turns mobile, and the invitation echoes.

The Team
Vytautas Bikauskas His work revolves around time, rituals, and labour. He explores the significance of daily actions and labour as a way of making sense. Mediums range from local wireless networks to spoons on motors, generative play scripts to speculative curriculums. He draws diagrams, performs rites, and makes soup. Vytautas graduated from Interaction Design at the Glasgow School of Art and is currently studying New Media at Aalto University, Helsinki.
Website: Instagram: @vytautasbikauskas

Bailey Polkinghorne He works with cassette tape loops, modular synthesisers and effects to create sound collages; old riffs and ideas become distorted memories of times past through the process of augmentation and degradation. A recent post-graduate of Aalto’s Sound in New Media programme, he now works as an AV technician at UniArts Theatre Academy, and as a sound technician for Helsinki Open Waves (Caisa), while wasting his spare time exploring forests and taking field recordings.
Website Instagram: @_b_e_l_c_h_e_n_o_k

– “The Chopping, The Stirring, The Occasion”, is curated by Ramiro Camelo as part of the programme Baltic Fellowship Network which aims to potentiate collaboration and facilitate artistic exchanges among artists, art institutions, exhibition spaces, from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.