In 2010 Liam Gillick and Anton Vidokle gathered together a group of artists and thinkers in a New York television studio. The discussion addressed a growing sense of unease among the participants about the role of cultural producers at the time. The resulting work was a film titled A Guiding Light – a title borrowed from one of the most popular American soap operas of the 1950s. Always intending to return to what they considered a potential series of works, thirteen years later the role of artists and thinkers has completely changed. Faced by geo-political calamities and a need for power shifts in the art context, Gillick and Vidokle have developed a new way to recharge the discussion that began in 2010.

A Guiding Light 2 is a performance in the form of a film shoot by Liam Gillick and Anton Vidokle. Drawn to the powerful political legacy of the Vilnius Television Tower the artists looked for a location that could represent its form and movement. The Lithuanian Railways Train Repair Depot in the centre of Vilnius has a turntable for moving trains from track to track – into and out of repair sheds. Whereas the Television tower has a rotating restaurant at the top, at the Train Repair Depot revolution takes place at the centre of the structure.

The work proposes a rethinking of the way music has been central to independence movements and colour revolutions in the last half century. In the centre of the railway turntable a cargo wagon will hold a small group of professional musicians. As they slowly rotate the audience will witness the artists shoot a film of a performance that is never resolved. Endlessly tuning up, the musicians will only occasionally find the right notes to reveal the first few bars of songs that powerfully symbolised the desire for autonomy. 

The endless revolution of the train turntable acting in place of the revolving tower restaurant will expose momentary flashes of recognition from the recent past and become a starting point for new discussions around the central role that emotionally affective cultural work plays in resisting forces of repression. The resulting film will include unseen footage that the artists shot in 2013 of discussions about the anxieties that artists and theorists harbour about their political and social roles.

Liam Gillick (b. 1964 in Aylesbury, England) is an artist based in New York. His work exposes the dysfunctional aspects of a modernist legacy in terms of abstraction and architecture when framed within a globalised, neo-liberal consensus, and extends into the structural rethinking of the exhibition as a form. Gillick’s work has been included in numerous important exhibitions including Documenta and the Venice, Berlin and Istanbul Biennales – representing Germany in 2009 in Venice. Solo museum exhibitions have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate Britain in London. Gillick’s work is held in many important public collections including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the last twenty five years Gillick has also been a prolific writer and critic of contemporary art – contributing to Artforum, October, Frieze and e-flux Journal. He is the author of a number of books including a volume of his selected critical writing. High profile public works include the British Government Home Office (Interior Ministry) building in London and the Lufthansa Headquarters in Frankfurt. Throughout this time Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner, Louise Lawler, Adam Pendleton, Hito Steyerl and the band New Order, in a series of concerts in Manchester, Turin and Vienna. 

Anton Vidokle (b. 1965 in Moscow) is an artist, filmmaker and a founding editor of e-flux Journal, based in New York and Berlin. Since 2012 Vidokle has been interested in Cosmism, a constellation of theories and projects – philosophical, artistic, scientific – informed by the writings of the philosopher Nikolai Fedorov (1829–1903). It brings together discourses of Marxism, Orthodox Christianity, Enlightenment, and Eastern philosophy while simultaneously involving conceptions of technological immortality, resurrection, and space travel, and speculations on how these might be materialised through artistic, social, and scientific means. To date, Vidokle has completed seven short films based on his research in the field. He also initiated the English translation and publication of historical texts as well as contemporary writing on this topic for e-flux Journal. Together with Arseny Zhilyaev, Vidokle started the Institute of the Cosmos, an online publication and an open archive of research on this subject. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. Vidokle’s films have been presented at museums, festivals, and events worldwide including Bergen Assembly, Shanghai Biennale, Berlinale International Film Festival, Forum Expanded in Berlin, Gwangju Biennale, Center Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern in London, Garage Museum in Moscow, Istanbul Biennial, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm, Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, TX, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Lincoln Center in New York, MMCA Seoul, the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art in Riga, and others.

Drums: Ignas Kasigauskas
Tuba: Simonas Kaupinis
Electric guitar: Dominykas Norkūnas
Saxophone: Danielius Pancerovas
Flute: Mėta Gabrielė Pelegrimaitė
Double bass: Gediminas Stepanavičius


Performance partners


Video by Vytautas Tinteris


Photos by Andrej Vasilenko