Flower Is For Failure
2001


Flower Is For Failure video, 1 min 14 sec
Flower
Flower video (projection), continuous loop

No Entrance black-and-white photographs of flowerpots in windows in Bern

Bern Postcards black-and-white inkjet prints from film stills, 11x 14 cm

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During my childhood and and youth in Lithuania my only experience of Switzerland was from a famous 1970’s Russian World War II spy movie, part of which was set in Switzerland of 1945 - with its streets, churches, cafes, advertising boards, bears in the zoo - all filmed in a very particular documentary style, but in Eastern Europe (as I found out much later). The characters of the film became folk icons in the Soviet Union and are still living in contemporary folklore, in the form of anecdotes and catch phrases.
One character in the film is given instructions to go to Flower Street, to find house No. 9, and to go to an apartment on the first floor, but only if there is no flower in the window to the left of the front door, because a flower would be a sign of failure. Taken out of its context this extract becomes an autonomous message, an element characteristic to many fairy tales, a myth.

When I was invited for an artist residency in Switzerland, the first thing I thought of doing was finding those places I knew from the film, like Blumenstrasse (Flower Street) in Bern. I discovered that there was no Blumenstrasse in Bern, but almost every window had a flowerpot in it, which, under given conditions, is a “NO ENTRANCE” sign. So, in the end, there is nowhere to go. Total failure.

In this project I am juxtaposing my personal preconceptions with the physical location, investigating the relationship between ‘reality’ and fiction (fabrication) through different levels of representation of reality (feature film, tourist guide, postcards, my own photographs), and how its perception and interpretation depend on time, location, experience. (For those who have never been there - could it not be the real Switzerland in this film? Or, maybe, in 1945 it really looked like this?)
By constructing a narrative using parts and elements of already existing narratives I am exploring how familiar meaning can be changed through recontextualisation.
There is an important detail in the story of the film, with roses signifying failure instead of the usual passion or beauty.




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