When the Landscape is Becoming
The voids of the Sørøya region have gone through several stages of landscape transformation, from spaces existing in themselves to public spaces whose significance transformed the memory dynamics of the landscape in the question of social memory and forgetting. The landscape has adopted the body as part of a social form of integration of natural and architectural spaces, through a behavioural form. The body coexists in places that are intended for the existence of the incorporeal and spatial. While the landscape of memory did not leave traces of this stay, it left the knowledge of it in itself. The memory of the landscape neatly holds the many touches of human and history, conserves forgotten narratives and peacefully exists in its own distinctive form of preservation and internal cultivation of memory by itself, non-subjectively. The memory of the Sørøya landscape maintains invisible traces of collective touches with the internal interiors of the soil and retains knowledge about a public place that echoes distantly in the diaries of the region. During our field trips, island residents spoke about these recollections that resonated in the past but are at the same time absent from museums and the memory of residents outside the public landscape of the caves of the region. Events were reconstructed in conjunction with the historical context through an attempt by archaeologists to find at least some visual traces of people being in these caves. But the more time passes, the deeper the memory of these places sinks, closing its spaces as evidence of its internal publicness.
Some data (Hasvik Kommune 1995, Krigen på Sørøya 1940-45, photo no.05) that shows us the names of families who lived in the voids of caves for a period helps us gain knowledge, similar to a population census. In a sense, it draws an idea in the context of the social landscape.
The landscape was not defined as a public place inside the caves; instead, it became a space of social transformation of the landscape into this particular form of settlement during the evacuation, and this changed the knowledge of the cave, as well as the knowledge of the memory of the public space.
The transformation of the landscape into public space also took place through everyday rituals practiced while the inhabitants of Sørøya were living in the voids of the landscape. Singing Christmas carols or baking flatbread also draws attention to the process of memory through the process of making the everyday experience of landscape a partnership with it itself, thus defining the increasing continuity of humans and landscapes in reciprocal co-habitation and transformation. Similarly, this echoes the same repetition to which contemporary archaeologists are increasingly returning: repetitive, habitual activities, passing on to the rules of social life, following and paying increased attention to behavioural features related to physical evidence. The behaviour leads us to construct for co-habitation and to shape communities beyond generations (discursive and practical memory). If this partnership is not a product of resource and labour dialogues but is rather a spiritual and spatial relationship, the same question can be asked regarding the materialization of the evidence of these relationships: Will they be reflected in or exist in artistic knowledge, and how will this knowledge co-habitate in social memory? If materials not only persist but also decay and accumulate, then how can this balance be maintained in landscape memory observation? Should we reconsider the terminology, changing 'materialized memory' to 'matter-ialized memory', and refer to artistic methods as a form of constructing remembering whilst forgetting?
The memory of the Sørøya landscape also draws attention to the phenomenon of ‘inscape’. Indeed, inhabitants chose the path of not being evacuated to safe areas, and the inhabitants indeed defined their landscape as a place for inscape. ‘In’ ‘Scape’ itself is an extremely complex body in terms of Sørøya’s voids, where this transition from landscape = to Inscape – in cavescape takes place, with social memory of the landscape as a consequence of the collective transformation of nature. The public space within the landscape of Sørøya was formed through the collective transition of the local house-dwelling residents into those who organized the space of the house around them, moving into the bowels of the land and thereby transforming the visual representation of how the collective body exists in the landscape, how the landscape is transformed not through the external change of nature but through human behaviour, and how that human behaviour is being forgotten in the presence of social memory. The Sørøya caves sing about the past through the present. We could follow how the social memory draws a line through the dynamics of the landscape and habitual social and cultural practices to our nature. The landscape is moving into materialization as evidence that the memory of public places can take the form of experience and sense of the body and behaviour as such. The memory of the landscape contains traces that are often elusive or have largely lost their visual images.
The landscape often conceals the memory of human behaviour within it via collective intervention and human activity. The landscape in the practices of social phenomena is quite complex; on the one hand, it is always a product of our activity in relation to a resource or the cultivation of land, on the other hand, the landscape exists by itself as a raw wildland and a non-subject space.