Concrete Bunnies: a Text Without Line

Lacan says that the unconscious is structured like a language. If that is true, this language must resemble the audiopoetic and visual hum of Concrete Bunnies. This hum is a language and a text. Not the kind of text that can be squeezed into neatly ordered lines, however. This text can exist only in its natural form, which is seemingly chaotic at first glance yet obeys its own peculiar logic; even though it can fit into the shape of, say, a CD sometimes, it cannot really be permanently imprisoned in any physical medium. Likewise, the unconscious is not confined within our head, but rather freely travels in all directions without permission. While travelling, it collects impressions, which it later shares with us using weird words and images – much like Concrete Bunnies do.

Concrete Bunnies were born in 2005. They don’t rush to breed – while they do accept some fellow travellers (such as the adventurous violinist Lina Lapelytė, the emancipated soprano Skaidra Jančaitė, or the weathered bass player Gediminas Simniškis) in their performances if necessary, there always were and still are only three actual Bunnies – Tomas Slombas Butkus, Antanas Dombrovsky and Vadim Korotayev. There cannot be more or less of them; here’s why:

Concrete Bunnies are a classical psychoanalytical triad: superego, ego and id (remember another well-known triplet, the Marx brothers – Chico, Groucho and Harpo). Slombas obviously plays the role of the superego – being a poet and a publisher, he proclaims the Law of the universe of audiopoetic hum and ensures the continuity of this universe’s traditions, the essence of which is constant flux. Sometimes he does that with some odd musical utensil in his hands, so that the letter of the Law sounds more commanding. Yet it is his voice – just as forceful, overbearing and deceitful as the voice of conscience – that is most important here. Slombas’s voice utters (or, rather, howls, gargles, groans, whispers) all the strange and ambiguous truths of Concrete Bunnies’ poetic world, which promise absolute freedom.

On the contrary, Vadim Korotayev is the silent id, the mute source of the band’s psychic energy. It is not always easy to understand what he does and what he is responsible for in a performance; not that he himself is concerned with explaining that. Still, one intuitively understands that he performs some vital function: not unlike a shaman, he engages in some ritual acts that perhaps only he knows the meaning of, giving the whole audiopoetic stream a darker twist.

Meanwhile, Antanas Dombrovsky – the rational ego – provides the excesses of Slombas and Vadim with a structure and a foundation, so that they do not catapult themselves beyond the listener/viewer’s reach. He mainly works with “passionless” sound machines, which, paradoxically, are the most “humane”, earthly element here.

Perhaps Concrete Bunnies weren’t the first to discover the continent of audiovisual poetry, but they are one of its pioneers and main developers in Lithuania. They do not seek to merely play with words and sounds or, conversely, to communicate a clearly articulated message. One must read their text without lines with one’s whole body, rather than with one’s brain – after all, they, too, write it with their bodies and something that transcends it, seeking to “take oneself out of what’s been written / insert oneself into what is to come”. They do not create their text programmatically and consistently. Like the unconscious, they perhaps do not know the full extent of what they are saying themselves. But something – or someone – knows for them.

Yury Dobryakov
January, 2012