We were never that big, and we never had much freedom in our hearts. We live near the road that links the three Baltic states, so we had luck to be near the infamous “Baltic Way”. We didn’t have to go anywhere, everything was happening right there, at our home. The whole village went there to support the happening, and those who couldn’t, watched from their yard or their workplace. What was happening on the path of change, made it impossible not to notice.
I attended the Baltic Way with my husband and grandson, when I was 54 years old. My grandson was four. There is one very beautiful photograph: I am holding my grandson in my arms and behind us stands the family holding a flag. The flag is waving and my grandson is full of joy holding it. The impression was incredible. Our hearts were not just pumping but beating. Then the planes began to fly and to throw flowers on the road and the highway – how happy all of us were … it was not mere euphoria, it felt like a true and pure feeling. People’s aim was to help each other, to lift on another and to give way to each other. The mood was unbelievable. So many thousands of people went there, without a single incident. I saw a smile on everyone’s face and most importantly no one was mean, grumpy or frustrated. Only God knows why people were shining, but everyone was feeling good.
The strongest impression was left by the excitement of the people. In all the faces you could see a smile and a very special expression of kindness. The plane was very impressive, also the Lithuanian songs, but the most important thing were all our hearts beating and quivering…it seems that there was no evil anymore in life, only peace, kindness, sincerity, sensitivity and determination. People had forgotten about all the hardships, and poverty. In the eyes you could see the determination to pursue something noble, something beautiful. The cars were decorated, people dressed up in national colors, the flag could be seen all over, sometimes smaller sometimes bigger. Even small children, who were not yet able to grasp the true meaning, were holding small little flags in their hands and smiling. We were happy. Even as we stopped holding our hands everyone stayed and kept singing Lithuanian songs…
planes began to fly and to throw flowers on the road. Flowers in memory of those who died and were exiled.
The memorial provides a space to save the memories of people who took part in the Baltic Way. It serves as an archive for a fleeting but powerful moment in Baltic history and simultaneously serves as a space to relive and experience this grand gesture of unity for younger generations.
The volume is shaped in a restricting geometry, a reference to the rigid regime during Soviet times, however, the transparent material dissolves this corsage making way for a cloud of memories that shines through and ultimately dominates the shape and appearance of the memorial, just like the three Baltic people achieved through an act of ultimate solidarity and unity. It stands in contradiction to the solid and massive volume of the Museum of Occupation. The cloud, a reminiscence to the flowers thrown by the planes and a symbol for the millions that gathered on this day, is fed by memories, narrations and descriptions of individuals who witnessed this unique experience.
The memories can be uploaded independently or recorded directly in the pavilion, they are saved and archived in a server room in the lower level. From the servers, the memories are transmitted through cables passing through the hollow columns and are emitted simultaneously as a light code as well as a gentle sound. The memories merge into a cloud of murmurs but every single memory can be discerned upon approximation by a visitor.
The pavilion contains such an amount of light bulbs that the scale of this event can be intuitively understood, since even for those who were there on the 23rd of August, 1989, the horizon was the limit of visibility and comprehension.
The light bulbs define a landscape of memories that shapes and organizes the space into different areas while ensuring its continuity, unity and singularity.