Record large radio installation in Vilnius to mark the Baltic Way

Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 3
Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 3

A giant construction made up more than 2,000 old radios will sound in unison in Vilnius on the evening of 23 August. It has been set as the largest radio installation record by Lithuanian record registration agency “Factum”.

The unique performance named “One Wave” is a part of the commemorative events dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of the Baltic Way − the landmark rally in the Baltic states’ movement towards independence. On that day in 1989 two million people from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia formed a 650-kilometre human chain from Vilnius to Tallinn, Go Vilnius agency wrote in a press release.

Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 1
Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 1

The idea of the radio installation was elaborated jointly by the Lithuanian national broadcaster, LRT, and two young Lithuanian artists − Viačeslavas Mickevičius and Ieva Makauskaitė. In Mickevičius’ words, he always wondered how people could organise such massive events without any smart technologies.

“It appeared that the main role was played by the radio. Special radio broadcasts helped to coordinate the rally. This is how with this installation, we wanted to pay tribute to the radio and to express the vibe of unity among our people” said Mickevičius, who was five in 1989.

Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 2
Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 2

Initially, the radio installation was meant to be of 650 old radio sets – one per each kilometre of the Baltic Way. The artists reached out to people through the Lithuanian National Radio and TV asking to donate old radio sets and to bring them to local post offices and LRT headquarters.

Many people responded, and by the end of the day, they brought almost four times more radios than had been expected. The installation grew to 19 meters wide and 16 meters high construction – nearly a size of a typical 5-storey house. A team of high-altitude workers was employed to put up the giant structure and to attach all gadgets.

Baltic way radio installation Vilnius 4 Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT
Baltic way radio installation Vilnius 4 Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT

All connected and “attuned to same wave” the radios will play played a legendary trilingual song “The Baltics are Waking Up” composed by Boris Reznik, the author of Lithuanian text − Stasys Povilaitis.  In 1989 it became an anthem of the Baltic Way and one of the most popular songs of the Singing Revolution in the Baltics.

It is planned that after the performance in the Cathedral Square in Vilnius, the installation will be moved and permanently displayed in the Park of Europe open-air museum near the capital. 

On 23 August, all three Baltic States mark the 30th Anniversary of the 1989 peaceful demonstration, organised to draw the world’s attention to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed on 23 August 1939. During the rally, two million people formed a human chain stretching from Vilnius to Tallinn as a symbol of their solidarity and protest. 

Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 4
Baltic way radio installation Vilnius Photos by E. Blaževič/LRT 4

The Baltic Way became an example to other countries in the Central and Eastern Europe striving for independence. Lately, the Baltic Way has inspired the protesters in Hong Kong calling for a pro-democracy action in the form of the human chain across the city protesting against authoritarian rule. The organisers called it “The Hong Kong Way” and it will be held on the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way. 

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