Final Presentation at Artistic Research Forum, Zoom 17.03.2021 14:45
Script, Lecture Performance No.2
I’m now in my final year as an artistic research fellow and this is my final presentation. Shit, time flies. What have I done? I started in October 2018, in a different world from now. Travelling, moving around freely without worries. Not knowing what was yet to come: facemasks, hand sanitiser, social distancing, home office and endless zoom conferences (with terrible sound quality). Sci-fi has become real.
The title of the project has more and less been the same from the start, with minor adjustments, removing the ‘The’, then later adding the years ‘2018 – 2021’, only to remove them again. At the moment, the title of the project is Sound of Time – Tuning into the Norwegian Landscape and Post-Industrial Soundscape. I wanted the title to be open yet focusing on the sounding of changing times, past, present and a possible future. For me tuning into is not only about listening, but to be in dialogue with or to be on the same level as, to observe, to understand, to be part of. ‘Post-Industrial’ could be read in several way, but I was triggered by an article about neighbours complaining about the noise of the fans from thousands of computers mining for bitcoin in the old textile factory in Dale, outside Bergen. This is how current industry sounds and works, I thought about this and became very excited about the subject. Later I got to visit and record inside Kryptovault, the bitcoin mining farm. This is the sound of the ‘Post-Industrial’. Afterwards, production was moved to low-cost countries like China, India, Lithuania and so on. Later, I learned that ‘Post-industry’ also means abandoned industry, what was left. I think both aspects exist within my project. Things that were left to decay and things that are new and don’t really fit in, like wind turbines and seismic airguns for example.
What sounds has the pandemic revealed, what did it add, what was there before, but we didn’t actually hear them?
My project has been in various stages, from total belief to unsuccessful and mediocre. It has developed in expected and unexpected directions, there’s been moments of frustration, embodied collapse, numerous evenings with headaches, immersive relief and ecstatic joy.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours outside listening and recording, been on countless trips and field studies, not always intended to be included in my art project, but then something unexpected or surprising happens.
As in the previous presentation at Artistic Research Autumn Fora, I’ll be performing this lecture, as a lecture-performance, I’ve chosen this format in relation to the concept of ‘time’ and that sound only exists through our experience of time, this is a form I’m familiar with as an experimental musician and composer. The text is pre-written, and the performing of the text is both improvised and composed, like most of my music performances.
To select and choose what to share is really hard, because in a way all layers and processes in a research project are of importance. To edit, is something we artists are really good at, but to edit out parts of the process, the what and the why, the doubt, your failings and your own censorship, is a bad idea when sharing artistic research. To keep, verbalise and highlight this is the key to new insight and knowledge and your contribution to yourself and your field.
I will be sharing some of these moments with you through a rough log or diary if you like, consisting of field notes, reflections, stories, images, sketches, rejected ideas and so on.
I hope this scattered reflection will bring you a bit on the inside and give you an idea of how I think and how I work. It’s not a complete image (still half a year to go), but feel free to draw your own connections.
There will be no sound presented, except for my voice, I think Zoom does no justice to that, but I want you to imagine the sound of the places we’re visiting. Some of them only exist inside you. I will be drawing your attention to this and maybe you can note down some keywords and send them to me after the session is over.
Tromsø 15.10.2018 09:00
My first day as a research fellow at Kunstakademiet. I have a new office, an aquarium. Two glass walls and no window that can be opened. Later I bumped into a former student colleague of mine, Sabina Jacobsson. She worked with video scenography at Hålogaland Theatre. We drove to Sommarøy and walked along the beaches there.
Tromsø 23.10.2018 16:17
Earfield. This is the first time I noted down the expression Earfield. Later I’ve used it as a label for my workshops. I like the image it creates in my head. A field full of poppies, but flowers aren’t blowing in the wind, they are ears. I also bought a web-domain (earfield.org), but haven’t been able to use it so far.
Tromsø 28.10.2018 16:15
What are we listening to?
How do we listen to that?
What do we hear?
Oslo 04.11.2018 10:54 (Rejected idea #1)
Pipe room. An open-air room consisting of various pipes and an air pump, creating different resonance, tones and overtones.
Oslo 18.11.2018 11:41
Rules versus no rules
To visit and to revisit (a place)
To document the process in between field studies, meetings, recordings, results etc.
Ways of listening / listening methods
Ways of archiving / methods of archiving
To get away from the core of stress
Look at archives about gas/smoke/air/smell/light
Hunting for presence
So where do I start?
Amsterdam, The Netherlands 20.11.2018 13:00
The music is set to a very low volume, as if it was in another room. (whisper)
Tromsø 23.11.2018 20:00
Met a guy at Alfheim Swimming Hall, who told me that his father could recognize whose boat was arriving based on the sound of the boat alone. (Comment: Made me think how we locate through listening and sound)
Tromsø 13.12.2018 13.12
Getting dark before it gets bright! (Comments: Mørketid)
Oslo 26.12.2018 20.09
We are scientists of sound (Kool & the Gang)
Heimtun, Lyngen 06.01.2019 16:01 (Rejected idea #2)
To walk and record the sound along the border of Troms and Finnmark.
Heimtun, Lyngen 07.01.2019 23:37
Listening exercise (for the first Earfield Workshop)
Close your eyes
Listen to all the sounds around you
Try to separate them one by one
Shift between one source and all at the same time. Continue this until all the sounds are covered
Try to describe these sounds for yourself. How they sound, move, vibrate, the level etc
Do you like any of these sounds in particular? Why?
Write all this down after you have finished the listening session.
Oslo, 01.02.2019 15:36 (Rejected idea #03)
To record the bingo at Carl Berner (Comment: before it is shut down)
On the way to Bergen, 04.02.2019 06:27
Preparations for the interview with Arild at Kryptovault, Dale Fabrikker.
Tell us about Dale and the history of the factory?
Tell us a little about yourself and your role in the factory?
What has the textile factory meant to Dale?
How has the sound of Dale changed from it being a textile factory until today?
How was the sound of nature and wildlife before versus now?
How do you think the sound of the factory and the valley will be in the future, for example in 50 years from now?
On the way to Kirkenes, Barent Spektakel 14.02.2019 11:28
The planet is suffering and we’re benefitting from it
White man privilege
Heimtun, Lyngen 21.02.2019 14:21 (Auto-writing while recording)
The snot’s dripping from my nose, I think about when I was little. Feel like tasting, think it's wrong, but I’m tasting anyhow, it tastes salty. The water rises, plops and swirls. It slams in between. A tractor works in the distance. Sometimes a car’s passing, the sound changes the pitch, like a lowpass filter that changes frequency. I’m cold, have to stand completely still to not make any sound. I have to get longer cables, I think, but then I can’t follow the volume on the mics? The water rises and falls and then it rises again. My toes and fingers are cold, the snot’s dripping again.
Heimtun, Lyngen 23.02.2019 00:59
Ullsfjorden (Northern Sami: Moskavuotna)
Tromsø, 25.02.2019 23:27
Listening offers another point of view, an alternative perspective on how things are, producing new ideas on how they could be and how we could live in a sonic possible world and how we could include sounds invisible formlessness in a current realization and valuation of what we understand to be the actual world. Salomé Voegelin, Sonic Possible Worlds, 2014
Oslo, 13.05.2019 15:38
My body is shaking/vibrating, trying to cope with all the knowledge that’s been served over the last few days. What have I learned? Or more precisely, what have I learned about academia? Beside me stands a cup of fresh coffee, 80% coffee, 20% milk, the way I like it. Not too strong, still with a distinct taste. It makes me feel safe. What is art? What is Artistic Research? What is truth? These are all things we touched upon during those days up at Voksenåsen. We’re still in Oslo, still far away. Between the rich people and Nordmarka. All privileged white people, discussing, borrowing a language that is not ours. The coffee is still a bit too hot. I have to slurp it, in order not to get burned. Power-structures, we talked about power-structures within the Artistic Research Programme, hm that’s interesting? For some reason I find it hard to participate in the discussion. First of all, we’re sitting in a big room, far from each other. Some people manage to think out loud or simply like to hear their own voice. Others are quiet for two days. What do we do about that? I think discussions in smaller groups generally are more fruitful.
Heimtun, Lyngen, 07.01.2020 10:19
Listening is doing and undoing at the same time.
Heimtun, Lyngen, 09.01.2020 11:16
How can listening change our relationship to the landscape and environment around us? An interaction between the outer and the inner. Absence of greed. if mankind listened more to the landscape, we would not have faced the great challenge we’re facing now. We must choose whether we want the earth to be a diverse place for future generations. It is our choice. We need to change our everyday patterns and lifestyles.
Heimtun, Lyngen, 10.01.2020 11:45
Wind studies at my great grandmother’s farm.
Listening back to a recording when I wasn’t present, is interesting. Like it’s a bit secret. Maybe something spooky or accidental will appear. I can hear the water dripping and the constant humming from the mountains on the other side of the fjord. There are long phases of silence, or not so much really happens, suddenly the winds escalate through the whole building. Sometimes you can hear the boards squeak. Around 28 min there is a peak,
like something that falls. I’ve got a lot of wind sounds now, ha ha.
Later at night I can hear the snow ploughs. They sound like monsters
It’s nice listening to recordings that were made when I was sleeping (smiley face)
At 01:38 the dogs are howling, wonder what they’re howling at?
Oslo, Saturday 14.03.2020 09:30
Woke up at 08:00, but had to sleep a bit longer. Constantly reminded that we live in exceptional times, wondering when this surrealistic dream will be over. Made oatmeal for breakfast with sunflower seeds, coconut and linseed. Fed the birds outside, it was empty. Recorded sound for the first time (after lockdown) in Nydalen with the Geophóne. Was scary at first, then it became incredibly satisfying. Felt focused and present. My partner is in Zambia, doing a workshop. We talked on the phone. The Norwegian Government has decided to close the border. I asked her to come home. She bought a new ticket and will be back in Oslo on Tuesday. I asked my daughter to buy a bottle of white wine at Vinmonopolet (the wine monopoly). Made houmous and beetroot salad for dinner. We watched Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.
Looking back, this is almost exactly one year ago. Covid-19 has changed our lives and daily routines rapidly. Who would have thought we would still be in this one year later?
Oslo, 03.04.2020 11:41
Birds flapping over my head. The constant hiss and hum from the city. A young woman beside me is stretching out. Suddenly she coughs. I can hear hooded gulls (hettemåker) chanting. Someone is playing football. I can hear the ball bouncing. Birds flapping again. The wind blows into my ear. I should move on. I have a zoom meeting. I miss the sound of skateboards: One-foot Ollie, Ollie kickflip, Ollie backside 180.
Oslo Emergency Hospital, 10.04.2020 17:59
All the sounds become clear
The clock strikes
The boy with the Coca Cola bottle is screaming in the room next door
The tram that passes on the outside
Sound of the constant ventilation
Something’s roaming around outside
Someone’s talking, a door is slamming
A beep in the hallway
A mixture of a beep and a hum
From Oslo to Tromsø, 20.04.2020 06:48
More people on the airport express train than expected. Had to sit on the floor.
Five people wait by the gate to Tromsø. Everyone keeps their distance. More cabin crew on board than passengers. (Comments: My first flight since lockdown)
Tromsø, 23.04.2020 07:09
Hoped it would be even quieter. A beautiful symphony of waves crashing, whispering sea, a euphoric oystercatcher (tjeld), the melancholic sound of the Eurasian curlew (Storspove) and a pair of dabbling ducks.
Flight 06:00 Widerøe to Vadsø
Flight 07:07 Widerøe to Båtsfjord (Comments: Tracked on Flight Radar)
Tromsø, 25.04.2020 07:11
I met the newspaper delivery on the way. Could see traces of someone who had cycled home from a party. There was fresh snow, like a thin layer of powdered sugar. An otter was swimming, it dives and comes to the surface in semicircles. An engine roar is heard in the distance. The endless hum of the sea lies like a lid over the horizon. A pair of oystercatchers come flying, one of them sings with an alarming voice. A seagull comes close from behind, I'm hiding behind a rock ridge. At 06:00, several cars are heard. A red-breasted merganser (siland) female. A grey heron. Two more herons. A pair of common mergansers (laksand). Back home again at 07:04. Some people were out walking, I met a couple on the way. Wondering when it is optimally quiet? Maybe between 04:00 – 06:00. I have to change my circadian rhythm, go to bed early, get up early and go to bed again.
Oslo 29.08.2020 00:28 (Rejected idea #04)
Piss off. A survey of public toilets / urinals in Norway through images and sound.
Architecture, history and acoustics.
Ulvøya, Lofoten 26.10.2020 13:36
Choose a location
Place the microphones, three types (geophone, dpa, hydrophone or contact microphone)
Record for 10 minutes
Bergen, 05.09.2020 kl 15:17
Today I learned that the Northern Sami word for a year of crisis is Goavvejahki (Repeat).
Tromsø, 10.09.2020 11:34
Tacit knowledge is tacit knowledge.
Tromsø, 15.10.2020 13:02
The diku-animal is asking
Can you elaborate a bit more on the ethnographical aspect of your project?
What are your research questions?
Can you explain a bit more about the ethical aspect of your project?
What are your methods?
Can you talk a bit more about your choice of tools?
Oslo, 09.12.2020 10:57
Five beeps on my induction hob to make coffee. One to turn it off.
Oslo, 14.12.2020 00:11
We are losing a form of national identity linked to the landscape, with all that entails of memories and diversity.Dag O. Hessen, Landskap i endring.
Oslo 21.12.2020 11:25
In December, by chance I came across two cassettes with the sounds of birdsong from northern Norway that were for sale on Finn.no. The cassettes were published by the then Tromsø Museum and the University of Tromsø in the early 80s. I bought both cassettes. The guy who sold them had received them from his sister many years ago, as a gift.
This aroused my interest in finding out more about these cassettes, who had made the audio recordings and what was the idea behind the project? I started searching for more information, something was written on the cassette cover, but there was very sparse information about the release online. Almost nothing.
I contacted various people associated with Tromsø Museum, or the University Museum as it is called today. In the end I was forwarded to Karl-Birger Strann, Arne Nilssen and Leon Johansson, who produced the tapes.
I didn’t know then that there was one more tape. The last of the three cassettes consists of birds in different landscapes and environments. I’m still thrilled by these findings.
The tapes, a publication and some of the recording equipment that they used will be part of my final artistic presentation and will serve as a link to where we are (in Tromsø and the Arctic) and as a part of our audible past.
Oslo, 06.01.2021 09:59
I started to listen to my own field recording at home. Listening to different environments and sound worlds. It tricks my brain into thinking I’m in another environment, a big apartment without walls, inside and outside blends together. There are no sharp edges, only organic curves. I’m not sure that I even exist in this anymore. I’m just a dust particle, floating freely around.
Oslo, 11.01.2021 12:58
To be able to unmask my own project (for myself)
Why am I collecting these objects?
How can I relate these objects to my recordings? What unifies them?
The inability to travel and to finalize my fieldwork has made an interesting intellectual shift in my project.
I’ve been forced to record and listen where I am. This has led to many hours of recordings from our balcony in Oslo.
Bygdøy, Oslo 10.03.2021 16:68 (Auto-writing, while recording)
En sel knuffer seg opp på en holme
Stokkender kretser rundt i sirkler
Vestkantfruer som snakker om Norefjell
En smal (oransje) måne (som et smil)
Kan høre motorveien
Lyden av Nesoddenferga. Vannploging. En konstant tone
Når menneskene forlater stranda kommer dyrene
Covid har ført til at flere vil være ute i naturen, uten det betyr at de er nærmere naturen
En stor bølge er på vei. Er redd for at den vil ramme utstyret. Det gikk bra
Endene samles. De småprater
En ung dame som roper hun er kald på fitta
En fugl? Skriker til. Trolig en and. Kjenner ikke igjen lyden
Bølgene som smatter i strandkanten
Hva kan vi lære av dyrenes forhold til naturen?
Danskebåten? Nei, tror det var en politibåt