Welcome to Elin Øyen Vister´s virtual contribution to Open Academy at KIT (The Art Academy of Trondheim)

Malmö, thursday the 8th of December 2011:

I am currently in Malmö at a wonderful Nordic Sound Art (Joint study program supported by KUNO) workshop & seminar held by Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman (Lucky Kitchen Records/www.nobelprize.no. We are exploring and discussing the topic of
installation, site specificity, gardens and expanded architecture. Today we have discussed the origins of the white cube as a space to show art. So I find it apropriate to contribute to Open Academy with a kind of  virtual whitecube, which is this website.

I`m presenting to you a playful work, a christmas sound-calender. It is a window into my process of experimenting with the vasteness of the material I have collected and created through the past 28 months of working on “Soundscape Røst”. Soundscape Røst has not just become an archive of recorded soundscapes, but also text/impressions, images, video, found objects, physical memories, as well as archive material from Røst (collected by others than myself). I use this archive material and try and use my time as a master student to experiment with different formats of presentation/communication my ideas. Mainly through sound. I`m also working to try and find a balance between the artistic and the scientific approach, which is strongly connected.

Gjellfruvær, Røst. Foto: Carsten Aniksdal 2010.

Soundscape Røst investigates and documents the changes in the soundscapes of the Røst Archipelago, Nordland, Northern Norway. Røst is situated 100 km from mainland Norway, consisting of 365 island and islet and the main habitants are several millions seabirds during the breeding season (April to Auust) as well as aproximately 600 humans that live here all year around. The population of seabirds have declined severly in the past 60 years and today 40 % of the Norwegian seagull species are on the Norwegian redlist. In certain places on Røst,populations are extinct. An example of this is the Guillemot population on Vedøy. It used to be a 10.000 + pairs colony, but now there are barely a few  left. The Kittiwakes used to be an impressive and overwhelming white silver cloud of birds nesting on the steep mountainwalls of Vedøy, but today there are only a few thousands pairs left. Many seabirds have become endangered, amongst these are The North Atlantic Puffin, The Shag, The Razorbill, The Common Eider, The Shag, The Lesser Black Backed Gull, and for some like the Kittiwake and Guillemot, the situation is critical. This is not an isolated event in this region of the world, but is happening all over the world. It has to do with how the ecosystem of the world oceans are changing and are being effected by climate change.

Norway has more seabirds than many other countries. Our international responsibility is therefore large. One of six of our common species has its main distribution in Norway, and one of three is listed in the Norwegian Red List. Five are considered as strongly as critically threathened. “

Taken from the Seapop pamplet, “Seabirds in Norway 2009”

The fall in numbers of seabirds affect the soundscapes immensly. This is what drives me to capture and document the soundscapes of Røst of today. I listen, I record and I try to save a precious moment in time. The experience of being in a Puffin colony is beyond explenation. It is magical. And I find it immensly important to discuss the importance of biological diversity before it´s to late to discuss it, and I find it increasingly important to document and look after coastal culture, at a time when the big oil companies are trying to convert Northern Norway to become a new hotspot for oil.

I am currently working on my final Nordic Sound Art exhibition installation and I am going to create an ideal listening environment for a record of soundscapes from Røst.

So please take some time to listen to some of my “raw material”. I would like for you to fall in love with some of these sounds! Get an encounter with the Røst Soundscape, and meet the feathered habitants of the Røst mainland and birdmountains through sound, images and text.

Enjoy the open Academy! And please don´t hesitate to contact me if you are curios about my project!

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About Elin Øyen Vister

Soundartist, composer, DJ
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