Alexander Filyuta: In your works you criticize the modern capitalist consumer society. On the other hand, your lyrical voice sounds to a certain extent ambiguous when you speak about “the fall of the Iron Curtain”. Does contemporary Lithuanian culture, especially literature, reflect today’s social problems more adequately, more accurately than it was in the times of the “Iron Curtain”?
Vaiva Grainyté: By mentioning my works, criticizing “modern capitalist consumer society”, you are probably referring to operas “Have a Good Day!” and “Sun and Sea” we have conceptually developed together with artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Lina Lapelytė. Both pieces are poetic, ironic and absent of straightforward critical tenor, which, if you want, can be seen as a kin tool to the Aesopian language, writers were using during the years of censorship, before the fall of the “Iron Curtain”.
My lyrical voice is observant, rather than emotional, so a certain degree of ambiguousness is always present. In regards to contemporary Lithuanian culture, its scene is very vibrant and diverse. Diversity had no chance to thrive under the regime of the Iron Curtain, so currently social issues are reflected more elaborately.
Alexander Filyuta: An earlier poem of yours you commented with the words that you don’t like “flags and protest”, but instead in your artistic work you are more interested “in details”. And that at the same time you’re finding these details “lying closer to God.” Do the details in your artistic work sum up to something qualitatively more meaningful with the help of God, so to speak?
Vaiva Grainyté: I guess it was not a poem, but somewhat of a comment, answering the question if my art is political, I was invited to share during my residency in Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2016. By it I meant that I rather remain an observer, than a protester. That is to say, instead of “flag” and loud, direct speaking, I would use subtle, metaphorical wording; not to mention, I would mix documentary with fiction, which allows to cultivate some new bacterial form, therefore I call “yogurt”.
And this image of “God” comes from another poem, which refers to the nonreligious, pantheistic notion of entangled cosmic existence. Focusing on details helps to “zoom in” and tell the story by making it more intimate and transmitive. While big topics (“zoom out” mode) are too anonymous and abstract. On that note, my lyrical voice would find its shelter, its God, in daily, mundane paradoxes, rather than cosmic or intellectual discourses.