Vytautas Landsbegis – interview: Fluxus in Vilnius (2007)

Fluxus concert

[The pieces presented at Fluxus concert] were taken from La Monte Young’s An Anthology, designed by Jurgis [Mačiūnas], which he had sent to me. I took pieces that were more concepts than pieces themselves. Maybe I was right catching on to the idea that the score and the notation are less important than the inspiration. So I could give students some cards with a small score, suggesting that they did not have to play absolutely what was there, but look and do what they could. What they had to do was to produce some sounds, with a belief that that the sounds were important. I said to them: If you can, you may put in your own expression; you can try and experiment to get some sound. Most of them took up wind instruments for the first time. They could not play normal music, but they played something. And maybe it was a puzzle, not only for the listeners, but for the students themselves, too. What was the sense of it?


I asked students to bring various things: a frame for a picture, a big wooden trunk to make wood for the fireplace, and an ax. And then we painted that trunk red so it would be bloody and took this ax as if it was a place for executing students. They always used to say that the professors were killing them, like executors. So it was giving a reminder of student executions, which are now finished—they are well treated, they go away. And we took the piano for this performance only because everybody would expect somebody to play seriously, and I used the picture frame to make a picture with an accidental piece of paper from a newspaper in the corner. That was another puzzle: “What can it mean? OK, it’s up to you.” I could comment on the possible results for myself, whether somebody was going to consider and evaluate this puzzle, or maybe nobody would be interested in it—it was not my business. And here, it was a slogan—because the word Fluxus was not known, I made it into LUXUS with a very small f. There was one very big slogan on the wall, as was usual in communist times—very important slogans. It was a very stupid sentence from one of the student poems in a local newspaper. I took it as a quotation with his name as if it was Stalin or Lenin: “Things and people are moving like the pistons of an engine.”

Source: “Fluxus in Vilnius: An Interview with Vytautas Landsbergis” (by Petra Stegmann), in Fluxus East: Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe, ed. Petra Stegmann, (Berlin: Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, 2007), 74–76.