Saulius, or Sal as his friends from London called him, was a Dj, a passionate vinyl collector aswell as one of the creative minds behind the last.fm internet radio project in its early beginnings. He was a universal restless character, a rebel, an anti-system, always part of collaborations and multiple creative projects, organizing parties and events, listening to music and gathering people. Born as Saulius Čemolonskas in 1964 in Kaunas, he escaped Soviet Lithuania with forged documents in 1989 and spent most of his life in London. Countless hours of his archive of music, sound and videos recorded on VHS, DV and 8mm cassettes encapsulates Saulius’ rebellious character, his playfulness and creativity aswell as his surroundings from times of turmoil and revolt in 1980’s Lithuania to the late 90’s London music scene to recent times and his own private past.
In this video, filmmaker Simona Žemaitytė who had known Saulius for almost a decade, uses his archive material to depict the story which could be called a universal human quest to escape or an attempt against the system (any, really). The longer we look beyond the ‘patina’ of time through the VHS and the DV (bringing images of long lost cities, both Kaunas and London) the more we understand that perhaps Sal was one of such persons that each of us had known once, anywhere, anytime in our lives. Saulius had passed away in 2017. His ashes are in his friend’s music studio in London.
Simona Žemaitytė (b. 1984) is a Lithuanian artist and filmmaker, living and working in London and Vilnius. It took Simona almost five years to find VHS tapes that Sal occasionally mentioned in their conversations after giving her a copy of his entire archive. She had filmed Sal performing with Terry Burrows and Laure Prouvost among others and made few projects based on his biography. She is currently editing a full feature on Sal and his life.
Simona’s own work was previously awarded at 15th Tallinn Print Triennial, also nominated at Sheffield Documentary film Festival. Previous exhibitions and shows include Kasa Gallery, Galata Perform (Istanbul); BAFTA, RichMix (London), CAC (Vilnius) and others.