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Nov 9, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Active Visions

A conversation will follow the program with Emilija Škarnulytė & Mathilde Walker-Billaud

Doors 7:30p
Program 8:00p

352 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY

We’re honored to join Emilija Škarnulytė on her singular and immersive truth seeking voyages with a program of past and recent work here at UnionDocs.

From Škarnulytė’s intimate familial sojourn with Aldona—her grandmother—who lost vision likely as a result of the Chernobyl Power Plant explosion, to her stratigraphic geological exploration in the 2022 feature, Burial, that documents the now decommissioned Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania, to a stark poetic depiction of the intertwining of Cold War mythologies and radioactive waste explored via a gas leak in the Nord Stream explore via recent works. Škarnulytė’s practice intertwines documentary and fiction to explore the psychological influence that our environment and the most and often invisible global powers hold over us.

The Observer shared some of the resonances of Aldona and its harbingers in light of the current war in Ukraine, reminding us that “Lithuania was the first republic to break away from the Soviet Union, in March 1990, after annexation in 1940 and years of armed resistance against Soviet troops.” and notes how it addresses, “loss at large—of senses, identity, and history…it’s hard to dissociate these as Aldona’s blindness, disorientation, and bent-over body converge to resurrect the legacies of the USSR.”

These themes continue to thread through her recent feature Burial (2022) which poetically captures the shutting down of a sister nuclear power plant to Chernobyl in Škarnulytė’s home country of Lithuania and echoes throughout recent works too. You’ll be able to sneak a peek at these recent works too!

Emilija will join us for a thorough deep dive into her process and her thinking with our wonderful longtime co-collaborator and the Curator of Programs and Engagement at the American Folk Art Museum, Mathilde Walker-Billaud. 

Hope to see you there!



Film, 16 mm, 13 min, HD, 2013

In the spring of 1986, Aldona lost her vision and became permanently blind. The nerves in her eyes were poisoned. Doctors claimed that it was probably due to Chernobyl’s Nuclear Power Plant explosion. In the film we follow Aldona through a daily sojourn to Grutas Park, touching both the past and the present.


Film, 4K, 60 min, HD, 2022

Burial invites viewers for an immersive sensorial trip into the unique and vast Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in Lithuania, now undergoing a decommissioning process. Cold War energy structures impact recent geopolitical processes and leave planetary threats over long periods of time. The project takes a geological approach – it reads things that compose this flat landscape as a stack of stratigraphic layers. Burial is an intertwined section through the current entanglement of identities, spatial practices, infrastructures and geological resources.

Program Duration: 94 mins

Watch the conversation between Presenter1, Presenter2 and Presenter 3 on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.


Emilija Škarnulytė’s films consist of a series of politically active visions, in which she investigates human activity and invisible structures of larger systems of power. She explores questions of the beginning of the universe in relation to the geological ungrounding processes, invisible structures, geo-traumas and deep time. Through her films, Emilija looks at “truth-seeking voyages,” and examines the conceptual and technological methods that underpin them as well as the abstract, mythological language they produce.

Mathilde Walker-Billaud is a curator working across media and contexts, with a special interest in time-based art and discursive practices. She is currently Curator of Programs and Engagement at the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

Her curatorial research projects includes the 2020 exhibition “The World Is Gone, I Must Carry You” (with Susan Hiller, Sky Hopinka, Gala Porras-Kim, Krista Belle Stewart) at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, and the 2023 exhibition “Noise of the Flesh. Score for gina pane” (with Ohan Breiding, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Jota Mombaça, Patricia Allio & H Sanyas) at Frac des Pays de la Loire, Nantes.

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Nov 9, 2023
7:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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