Audio play

The audio performance Audiokaukas by Arturas Bumšteinas, a young Lithuanian composer (b. 1982) was inspired by books published by Eridanas Publishers in the Science Fiction Golden Series and the programme “Videokaukas” broadcast on Lithuanian TV in 1990.

The author of the performance devoted several years to reading the books from the series and watched the films demonstrated in the programme “Videokaukas”. He drew the inspiration for the script from more than a hundred books read and films watched.

The script of the Audiokaukas is a peculiar concentrate of fantasy literature in the form of a story combined using collage principle. It is an episode of several days and nights in the life of a young talented chef, Denisas. At the beginning, the protagonist’s everyday life is depicted in fragments, presenting his extrovert, hedonistic character (Denisas = Greek Dionysos). The defining moment in the story occurs when Denisas, cooking one of his dishes, suffers food poisoning caused by false morel (Lat. Gyromitra esculenta). However, the effects of poisoning do not manifest at once; they are gradually revealed to the listeners of the performance.

While reading a science fantasy book Denisas unexpectedly finds himself in the world described in the text and experiences the adventures depicted there. He is awakened from his hallucinatory trip by a telephone call. The anchor of a radio talk show invites Denisas to take part in it. He agrees and brings to the live broadcast a collage made up of extracts from a hundred science fiction books, which he introduces as his cookery book that he has being writing lately. He reads extracts from his “book” and is transferred again to the world of hallucinations, this time together with all listeners of the radio show. These “transportations to the fantasy world” are descriptions of various creatures and their interactions with the protagonist woven from small text extracts by the composer Arturas Bumšteinas. Denisas’ cookery book text touches upon the subject of consumerism and aggressive exploitation directed towards different forms of life.

Another character from Audiokaukas is an antagonist to Denisas. It is composer Apolonijus Polonskis whose voice over the radio accompanies the protagonist throughout the performance. Polonskis is an acousmatic creature without a physical body that flourishes in acoustic space; its voice is continually accompanied by chamber music allegedly written by Polonskis (Bumšteinas composed it according to the descriptions of sounds from the fantasy books).

Although the performance consists of two hallucinatory “trips”, one of which is vegetarian, the other – carnivorous – the play does not pursue any vegetarian-didactic goals. Rather, this is the first attempt in the history of music art to get audially acquainted with the topic of exoculinary.

You may use my recording in Audiokaukas, but we will not be friends any more.

Vytautas Tinteris, main character

Gyromitra esculenta – the brain and testes in one!

Author of script, composer, sound editor Arturas Bumšteinas

Listening to Audiokaukas was an enjoyable experience: comfortably seated in a bean bag chair in a darkened Black hall of the Arts Printing House, entirely submerged into sounds (creators used the surround stereo effect) and listen to surreal, phantasmagorical narrative – that was a true detachment from everyday life, a feast for imagination.

Paulina Nalivaikaitė, 7 meno dienos

Reducing the performance to a sonic experience in the dark A. Bumšteinas completely rejected imagery as a distraction that would hinder listening to the sounds he created. Having the audience seated in a closed hall he essentially forced them to listen to his piece from a to z, which he would not have been able to achieve if his piece were broadcasted on radio, for example. Hence, the author of the performance has fully implemented R. Wagner’s idea of total control over the piece, something many composers of the 20th and the 21st centuries have sought for, perceiving authorship as total control of both the performance and the perception of the piece. Therefore, the format chosen for Audiokaukas is logical – an audio collage produced by the composer himself, with not a single live, i.e. potentially not fully controllable performer.

Beata Baublinskienė,