Re-crafting the narrative of the city by unveiling its multi-layered identity
Visaginas is the youngest city in Lithuania, founded in 1975. It is a peculiar place in terms of history, urbanism, its multiethnic community, economy, and cultural life. It is known as a post-nuclear town. It was a former mono-industrial satellite settlement for the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. After the global success of the TV-series Chernobyl from HBO, Visaginas became a tourist attraction, opening-up for the outside world. Yet, it still faces a crisis of identity. The core format of the project are the stories collected, formulated, and communicated throughout the project. They relate to various cultural contexts and use different artistic expressions and aesthetics. They are placed in the context of underused public spaces in the city.
A critical issue in Visaginas is the question of identity. With the ongoing closure of the power plant representing a slow and steady decline, a sense of abandonment could easily dominate the city. The Soviet Union unified all nationalities for a common goal, the creation of a power plant. That unifying identity is now lost. The overall aim of the project is to foster a sense of community and intergenerational relationships.
Visaginas is a very compact and walkable city (9 square km) with many green and public spaces, all of which are underused. A secondary aim is to transform public places into cultural spaces via open-air galleries, community activities, and artistic interventions.
"Working together with people is quite unpredictable." What the organizers imagine does not always coincide with the participants' own interpretations. Therefore, in any activity there will always be certain corrections/ adjustments to the tasks, process, and results. Different creative task interpretations and factors such as the participants' time and energy, clearly influenced the outcome. Sometimes the outcomes are not manifested or completed. Nevertheless it is important to recognize that the community’s participation itself should be seen as a result."\
Bringing together first generations of residents with younger groups provided a a sense of shared history.