ACOUSTIC OCEAN | 2018

VIDEO INSTALLATION (in development)

Located on the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway, Acoustic Ocean sets out to explore the sonic ecology of marine life. The scientist as an explorer and important mediator of the contemporary understanding of our planetary ecosystems is a central figure in this video. She makes her appearance in the person of a Sami (indigenous of northern Scandinavia) biologist-diver who is using a submersible vehicle equipped with all sorts of hydrophones and recording devices. Her task is to sense the submarine space for acoustic and other biological forms of expression. Sonic and bioluminescent manifestations are vital modes of communication, navigation and survival for a great majority of deep-sea beings. This fact points to the parallels of organic and machinic technologies that this video embodies. It is a science fictional quest into an amphibian life world that is constituted by an assemblage of human, marine, machinic, organic, climatic and digital elements, which are all utterly interdependent. A techno-organic bond links the aquanaut, her submersible vehicle, and the sonic environment of the vast multiplicity of sea creatures she is exploring. In this scientific array, any form of critical distance between the scientist, her research subject and the instruments, is absent. They have all grown together. The submarine takes on characteristics of deep-sea creatures with their transparent bodies and luminous organs and tentacles. This feminist posthuman figuration proposes an alternative to the humanist understanding of the individual and fundamentally autonomous subject, suggesting a porosity, permeability and connectivity of the human body with regards to water and the many life forms it sustains and ingests (Astrida Neimanis).

The artistic gesture of this artwork is that of rewriting a script for inter-species relations and of a mind-body intra-active form of knowledge creation. It addresses the science of a marine landscape by showing the scientific interest in the images and sounds of an altered sense. Acoustic Ocean draws on a range of recent scientific insights in its foray into modes of marine biological expressions, proposing an immersed image for the complex and fragile interactions and responses between humans and nonhuman, knowledge and instruments in these multimedia landscapes.

Lofoten is a mountainous archipelago above the polar circle. The Islands are in close proximity to the Andøya Canyon, a little-explored deep-sea trench in the Northern Norwegian-Greenland Sea. A submersible is necessary to reach these high pressure depths. 

Thus the Ocean here is not only a dramatic setting for the fictional plot, it is also a site of factual research feeding the art project. Given the poor visibility in the deep sea, the sonic dimension is the primary means of communication, navigation and survival in this penumbral liquid universe. Similarly, the bioluminescent capacity of deep-sea creatures is a scientific field that has made great leaps in recent years, mostly due to new and extremely light sensitive cameras that are being used in deep Ocean shootings.

 

Filming starts in October 2017, it will be finished by September 2018 when it will be exhibited at the international Atlantic exhibition After the Future - in the wake of utopian imaginaries in Plymouth (UK) curated by Tom Trevor.

Crew

Renowned set designer Michael Graessner (Berlin) who has represented Germany at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennial has designed the submersible model.

Sofia Jannok, well known actrice, musician and climate activist from the Sami Northern Scandinavian indigenous community is doing the performance.

Lydia Zimmermann, camera woman, script writer, film director (Barcelona/Zurich) is doing the camera. 

Patrick Codenys, musical performer and film sound designer (Brussels) is doing the sound track.

Stills