[Re]Mapping of Being originates in a place-memory from the Second World War hidden under many layers of soil. It is part of Dunke-Dunk Artistic Research, an interdisciplinary project in which artists use a continual field approach to [re]read the history of the inhabitants of Sørøya in northern Norway, who went into hiding in the caves of the region in the winter of 1944/45. Refusing to evacuate, they climbed deep into the landscape, under many layers of snow and soil. Today, the municipality of Hasvik has around 1000 permanent residents, one school, a church, a grocer’s, and an airport; it can hardly be called urbanized. About a hundred years ago, Hasvik changed the paradigm of the usual use of the city. The inhabitants of the houses became the inhabitants of the soil. Once distinct from one another, they became a single, collective body in the island’s small depressions and recessions. House-dwelling families were forced into previously unimaginable conditions. Almost 35 people shared the common space of the cave, where movement and communication were subject to the conditions of darkness, where everyday rituals familiar in houses, such as cooking and singing Christmas carols, were preserved. The landscape became the architecture, and the hidden space inside became the interior. Today, this significant vertical is part of Hasvik. There is a public space on the surface and a hidden memory-place inside the soil that preserves the memory of the body. Through touch, artists seek echoes of this hidden public place, building an artistic methodological infrastructure of places, the memory of which has long since faded elsewhere in Norway. The forgotten voices still resound in the very place that hides in the landscape of the island of Sørøya. How does the architecture of urban space affect the body's behaviour, and how does the body influence its interior surroundings? If the soil becomes the interior for the body, how does the body's memory adopt/adapt to the place for being? What traces does the memory of the body leave in places that adopt the habits of the body; does the body adopt the habits of the place? How does a city shape the memory of a place where memory shapes a new city inside?
The Void - caves, recess, depression in a landscape
[Re]Reading - reading through the body&touch
The exposition includes an immersion in the voids of the island of Sørøya. From the first page, we enter a poetic narration where the voice is reflected in the surrounding space, where the sound accompanies the narration in the enclosed space of the cave. The lyrics are based on the refugees' memories of the surroundings, passing through our bodily experience and taking the form of a woman's voice, which we can feel in the space of the cave from memories alone. We create a certain immersion in the linguistic landscape, through the touch of a voice from outside with a stone that still holds memories of human bodies. There is a time when the landscape is becoming the cavescape and the cavescape is becoming the humanscape. Our body is becoming the materiality of the stones around it. [home]
We also explore getting lost in the dark space of one of the caves, Kvithellhula. We consider 3D scanning of the cave's interior space and struggle with the question of who has the right to access what the landscape preserves, how new technologies are able to illuminate and transform collective consciousness through digitalization and broadcast memory via rapid communication with the history of the cave. How do these technologies become a tool for the subsequent transfer of memory connected to history and place, and does such a space have potential as a public place outside the physical territory, beyond the body? [Darkness]
In the dark where your body roams, the exposition opens in two directions, each of which will allow you to get acquainted with the artistic method of our research process. One of these two paths carries the linearity of the research stages [Research context], and it also allows you to immerse yourself in the levels of the cavescape itself and zoom in and out of the materialization of the cave’s interior. From there, we can move to the level of historical events, which in turn leads us into the depths of the temporary events of the winter of 1944/45 in Finnmark and Sørøya. Here, you might find an archival sound recording that the cave dwellers received from the UK via the radio that they managed to hide inside one of the caves. This cave was called Radiohula. The recording is now stored in the National Library archives of Norway and the UK. Continuing, we reach the current level, where the landscape is translated through an architectural touch, allowing the formation of a layer of memory of the place inside and the following of changes through the surface coordinates of shifts in the dynamics of the landscape itself. [History]
The second path narrative becomes an open space for notes and reflection, which eventually becomes the basis for an alternative archive, where each subsequent cavescape visitor will be able to leave his/her mark, and touch. [Field Notes]
The Post became one of our means of one-way correspondence. On individual field trips, we could keep in touch with each other through writing, both narrative (text) and visual (graphic) via the imprints of patterns of stones on fragments of paper, or through the marks on a path to the cave. This imprint is thus left about a place where the body and the landscape do not exist without each other. This becomes a kind of feedback/echo with the cave through a time when any of us can become the recipient or sender. [The Post]
Sørøya, Troms&Finnmark, Norway
This is a place where the landscape became the architecture, and the hidden public space – like the cave – became the interior. In this place, the memory is preserved inside the soil, and we can connect with history through our bodies. This is a place where the smooth transition in a rough environment occurs and the landscape is becoming the cavescape, the cavescape is becoming the humanscape, the humanscape is becoming the landscape. This is a place where the collective memory in public space is seen as body memory that must be experienced individually in order to be preserved.
Hasvik mothballed the rather long history of a place that preserves the architectural features of different generations of residents between its stones. There is an assumption that traces of Stone Age settlements are kept inside the layers of soil. The municipality keeps this history in its archives as one of the scripts of the DNA of its land. One can find imprints in the landscape in the form of indentations in the soil, or rather the remains of ancient settlements, preserving the memory of the dynamics of Hasvik as a place whose architecture is an integral part of the landscape. Water levels change and reveal hidden layers. The lines of the hidden places change from century to century, external events return the houses’ inhabitants to an existence inside the stone, inside the soil. This memory allows us to rethink the memory of the place, a place that in a sense is a living archive of a stone metropolis, where the inhabitants are constantly moving between the levels of places hidden inside the stone by thousands of years of human history.
Second World War
In the last winter of the Second World War, at different times over a period of three months, the inhabitants of Sørøya who refused to evacuate hid in the caves of their region while German troops were burning their land.
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.
When the Humanscape is Becoming Cavescape
Accretion, Persistence, Memory
When the body becomes an ingredient of the landscape, an inversion occurs: what was out of sight emerges and becomes visible, the existences of places on disparate levels conflate, both in terms of time and of the development of the public space as a center, where urbanization does not lead to the growth of a megapolis but preserves the internal ingredients of memories, voids, and coexistence. The archive freezes certain events, just like the architecture of Hasvik’s facades. The difficulty of [re]reading a place arises in this kind of separation, where the house obeys the body but the body no longer obeys the house. In caves, the opposite happens: the body obeys the interior surrounding it, and any attempt at resistance triggers rejection. The constancy of the cave’s surfaces opens up the space of the memory that is already or has yet to be preserved in the body, namely the memory born at the moment of subordination and common unity with the place. The voice of the voids becomes a memory, while one's own voice dissolves into the layers of the persistence of the surface.
We are The Ingredient
Our body scale reflects our environmental perception; humans are aware of what is behind their heads as well as what is in front. Koffka once stated ‘What is it that lies between the ‘in front’ and the ‘behind’? – ‘Just that phenomenal object we call the Ego’ (Koffka, K. 1935. Principles of Gestalt Psychology. New York: Harcourt, Brace). Hasvik is a public place on the surface, and it is also a public place in what is hidden inside, right beneath our feet. There is a hidden place whose architecture is reflected in the archived sounds, in the memories passing from one resident to another, from local to foreigner, from body to body, from soil to soil. The image of the hidden public place is preserved by recesses in the landscape, reserving the right to be wrapped in a multitude of images of memory and imagination. The place that is built through memories, their absence, through awareness of one's own body as an observer of it: all this constructs a kind of visual architecture of the memory of a hidden place inside the landscape. What, then, lies between the ‘up’ and ‘down’? Perhaps the phenomenal object we call The Memory. The public place of the cave allows us to become an observer of places hidden beyond the surfaces through touch and determination of our own position, up or down. Through the definition of one’s own position scale, there is a [re]reading of the place, what is visually accessible and what is hidden under the surface at Hasvik. The optics of the ecological approach suggests shifting the paradigm of one's own body in relation to the local landscape. Considering a hidden public space from the perspective of a cave, where the body is in some way an observer, gives rise to a certain architecture of the body that no longer uses the cave as a shelter, but becomes a component of its layers, something that acquires the material of time. The awareness of the environment is the awareness of the memory that is collected by all those hidden voids of the Hasvik landscape, where a human as a resident becomes a common component for the memory of the line of the region beneath the soil. Where the smooth transition takes place, the landscape is becoming the cavescape, the cavescape is becoming the humanscape, the humanscape is becoming the landscape.
[re]reading - [through the body&touch]
[Re]reading presupposes interaction with the archive and the locality. History allows us to crystallize the chronology of events through the optics of time, to construct linearity and a hierarchy of narratives through texts and written memories of the Second World War. This linearity acquires a kind of hierarchy of events and accents, and there is thus a risk of leaving elements untouched that remain secondary or in some way less focused in the broad representation of events. The archive nature of [re]reading includes the narrative of the landscape’s touch of the history itself, and this gives our archive its plasticity. Returning to the archive as a presence of sorts, the variability of narratives and [re]reading through the form of one's own artistic practice: the interiority of the cave, its acoustics and the exploration of the body beyond history, beyond the landscape, beyond the body itself: this is the tool that allows artistic research to explore how [re]reading can become a form of collective knowledge in the context of the history of Sørøya, and how the archive can preserve the memory of that location and time in a poetic and open form of collection and preservation of the memory of public space, of the public cave.
We are opening up a space in which [re]reading can be a fluid narrative, a space in which the boundaries of time and history are displaced. In oral tales, each narrator retells a story, interpreting it through distance and body, weaving the storyline between herself and the environment. The variability of such an archive opens up a space for cultural symbiosis, where the moment of narration is born through reading and telling on behalf of the reader, and the reader, in turn, begins her own story. The chronology of historical events ceases to be a vector line, allowing us to start reading and touching the story in the first person at any time.
The fluidity of the archive erases the boundaries between language as a rigid structure and as a chronology relative to the narrator in the context of history and language through writing. This archive thus has a mobile form in which time is nonlinear and where contact presupposes the realization of being as a form of this archive. The archive itself contains a form that is emerging and expanding as a result of contact through the reader's body, where the data obtained is a kind of collective knowledge. Although fragmentary and performative with respect to history, it also builds new contexts from outside, which in turn opens up a place for this archive as collective knowledge.
Growing Within Itself
Parallel to our work [re]reading the same texts related to the region of Sørøya, we understand that our approaches differ greatly since only one of us is fluent in a local language. In a certain sense, focusing on the language shifts the boundaries of touching and interpretation of this [re]reading into some form of the artistic method, artistic language. All the texts we found were written in the language of the region, Norwegian, which limited the accessibility of touches for an outside reader. At the same time, however, this opened up the possibility of searching for a way to interact with the local linguistic landscape within the touching. That in turn raises the question of how to create an archive that can help to translate the history of the Sørøya caves into touch, through the touch. How to create this language that can help to preserve and appreciate the history of the caves as a public one? How is this language able to shape a social memory about the place of those who found themselves in the shadow of forgetting?
Nina Tsy - Architect Researcher
Nataliia Korotkova (IIAKO) - Artist Researcher
Special thanks to:
Gjenreisningsmuseet for Finnmark og Nord-Troms
World Heritage Rock Art Centre
Marry Sarre, Maria Stephansen, Polina Novikova, Mona J Saab, Theodor Barth, Magnus Kristiansen Jonas, Magnus Langli
composed and written by Nataliia Korotkova, consultations with Nina Tsy, peer-reviewer - Henrik Treimo, copy-editor - Justina Bartoli