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Video still, Attempting Obliteration with Benign Violence, performance, Memel Nord, Klaipeda, Schweinsrucken submarine storage base, Smiltynes, Klaipeda, Lithuania, May 2012

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The locations we have visited so far on the Abandoned Mysteries project are often "abandoned mysteries" at first glance – uncared for, left to rot and unmarked. Nature regrows and weather takes its toll.

Of course, these places are not, usually, completely "abandoned" – at least, not by the locals – youth come to play, to drink, to make out and to destroy; entrepreneurs scour them for valuable metal and objects to sell, survivalists live out their fantasies. At every site are constants: cock graffiti, broken glass bottles, recent bonfires.

Other locations are neither "abandoned" nor "mysteries". Local authorities have adopted their abandoned military sites in the name of heritage, attracting grants and developing facilities for tourists.

Should these wild, remote and redundant military sites become tamed and controlled for the purposes of better disseminating history?

During the first camp, on our visit to the Plokstyne Underground Missile Site it became clear that those sites that have been turned into official museum spaces are safer, more accessible and have historical information to hand. Official displays, roped-off areas and – always a killer – waxwork dummies in authentically re-created scenes. The memories in these spaces seem to have been smothered to death, a version of the history is confirmed and our questions are answered. The moment is preserved, but the site is no longer able to breathe.

In those locations that have been left to rot, can we say that they are still "authentic"? Does theft and damage take away from the site or add to its history? The museums intend that time should be frozen at a particular moment if we are to understand that moment properly. On the contrary though, in the deteriorating remains of, say the Taurage Overground Missile Site, 637 Taurage regiment, the whiffs of the past are all the stronger. We may not know the details of what happened in these spaces, but looking for the clues gives space for more questioning thoughts as to how these sites worked and what they may have witnessed. That copper was stolen is a central part of the history, and that offices were smashed tells us something of the temper of the post-Soviet moment. And was it hostile locals who vented their anger, or the Soviet soldiers who did irreparable damage before they left? Anecdote tells us it was both.

The most satisfying sights were those where the vanity and bombast of the political projects these unloved "indestructible" fortifications were built to defend, have proved hopelessly inadequate against sand, sea and trees. It is surely right and fitting that Hitler's bunkers at Liepaja and Memel Nord are finally descending into the sea. The Irbene radio satellite dish, built by the Soviets for surveillance and espionage, now adopted by Latvian astronomers researching alongside other European and Russian scientists, has been given a new, useful life. That the surrounding Soviet living and working quarters are still left to disintegrate suggests that the Latvian scientists have, rightly, got better things to do than to hang on to the past.

In making a benign explosion – the first in a series of benign explosions – we set out to eradicate the meanings that have been constructed around those memories. Better than to freeze those sites and the ideologies trapped within them is to allow them, quite naturally, to descend where they belong, into the sea and beneath the sand. Our benign explosions signify our desire to witness a moment in this process of disintegration.