As part of the Ars Bioarctica residency program we proposed a team residency consisting of L.A. based artist/maker Ian Ingram, Finnish artist Antti Tenetz and Theun Karelse.

The team arrived at the station during the summer equinox. This means permanent daylight. It’s a strange thing to witness when a day doesn’t end. According to our host Leena, people in the area just choose their preferred rhythm of sleep. Basically this is an ongoing day that lasts hundreds of hours. Local wildlife has adapted to this, with Cloudberry as an extreme example, this little plant only fruits where permanent daylight showers it with the energy it needs to fruit. It basically fruits in one day, but one that lasts hundreds of hours. It only does so here in the extreme north of Europe.

We start immediately after arriving with opening the windows, setting up equipment and establishing a ‘meat-pile’ to engage with local wildlife. The team will work on developing a robot that interacts with the local crows, adapt the camera system of a drone to see in the spectrum that local hawks see in and hunt rodents (image below) and during the residency we explore additional experiments in ‘robochory’ (the dispersal of plant seeds by machines).

A video impression of the residency by Theun: (click on image)

In addition to collecting snow and water samples, I’ve been collecting sounds of snow, ice and water from Kilpisjärvi. I’ve assembled some of these sounds into a simple collage that spans from winter to spring.

It begins with silence (the most important sound of the forest!). Then sounds of snow in and around the birch forest (footsteps, shoveling, skiing), then out to the lake, drilling through the ice, and underwater recordings of sounds below the ice (ominous ice cracking, footsteps, snowmobiles and a sound I think of as the hissing of lake trolls – distant skis? Wind?). Then the sounds of rain in early June. Footsteps squishing through tundra, a mountain spring, melting snow fields, and the mighty Kitsiputous falls. Then a descent to Siilasjoki, and finally back to Kilpisjärvi, now fully thawed. Here’s the sound file:

Lumi, Jää, Vesi sound file

and here it is embedded into a simple movie (mostly snapshots) showing some of the context:
Lumi, Jää, Vesi movie

Listening carefully to the recordings, I’ve found many samples that would make excellent loops for techno music (for example, underwater ripples, thumps, clicks and scrapes – some possibly from fish). So the next step will be recontextualizing these sounds into a more musical format. Finally, I hope to base a musical piece on the microbiological data, using sampled water sounds as the basic elements, but with rhythm and melody derived from the dynamics of the microbial community, through the snow profile and from winter to spring.

IRIS and the antenna field

I am sitting here on our last day watching the lake and the ever changing sky through the best TV screen ever, the window in the main room at the Kiekula house. Jean-Philippe and I have spent the last two weeks here making sound recordings of the surrounding landscape with the aim of making a transmission piece at a later point.

This blog entry should be seen and heard as an audio sketch book of our time here.

First of all antennas. I have chosen not to post the many many pictures of all sorts of antennas against imposing and ominous skies, just this one.

We try record the antennas as if they were an enormous aeolian harp, with varying success. The wind blows through the antennas as I play them.

radio aporee ::: maps – Kilpisjärvi, Finland

Metal machines

Wind is the field recordist’s worst enemy. Sometimes it is not worth the pain when you have an army of abandoned metal machinery so close to hand that reveal some intriguing, Forbidden Planet-esque sounds.

radio aporee ::: maps – Enontekiö, Finlande

rythm sequence (fin)

The magic box and the sound of a million mosquitos

The ferry crosses the lake in the distance, a car drives by. Jean-Philippe plays his magic box by the lake. I walk on the shore. The house martins chirp for food and the flies buzz around. The rain falls on the hydraphone and the waves lap on the shore.

Ambiant birds Shruti

The crash

About half way up the very steep hill lies the rusty remains of a WW2 German fighter plane that despite having lain there for over 70 years is barely hidden. It’s splintered organs are a melancholy memorial to the past that I try to play with some reverance like a giant steel pan.

radio aporee ::: maps – Kilpisjärvi, Saana wildlife trail, Finland

Jean-Philippe makes a loop.

monster crash drums loop

All these sounds and many more can be heard on the radio aporee ::: maps – Enontekiö, Finlande Kilpisjarvi sound map.

Here is the Kilpisjarvi soundmap, hosted by the wonderful radio aporee and open to posts of field recordings of the area to see how it changes through the seasons, and perhaps time. It is not a place to upload composed sound pieces or derived works inspired by the landscape or any other related sonic experiences.

radio aporee ::: maps – Enontekiö, Finlande

Kilpisjarvi soundmap hosted by radio aporee

 

 

 

#8

Remembering the shapes of the replaced stones and returning the last ones.

 

 

#7

Today I found myself struggling with a quick construction to capture the reflecting light on the surface of the lake. Under windy and wavy conditions, instead of catching reflections, the cyanotype formed a chromatographic pattern by tipping the water.

(cyanotype on cotton 150x200cm)

notes:

indigo. a value of concentration.                                 26.06.16

#6

Using the station’s UV Spectrophotometer, UV-120-02, Shimadzu I regard the absorbance spectrum of the cyanotype dye.

I compare the absorbance value of the dye unexposed and exposed (30min) with no significant results. I assume the chosen duration was too short to state a difference in the absorption rate of the dye. The absorption spectrum peaks around 400 nm. The result corresponds to other measurements made (4). According to Mike Ware, the located peaks of the cyanotype-spectrum (400nm and 700nm) are connected to change transfers, a configuration change (400nm) and an energy change (700nm).

_________________________________________________________________________

(4)Mike Ware see post #2 (1) p.218-222

(The spectrophotometer and I did not see the the peak at 700nm)

I stop working due to a black out at the station.

notes:

results feel like a dead end.                                28.06.16

#5

 

While making daily light notations and cyanotype-walks outside, the conditions of the residency, the landscape (x) and the station( )x, sneak in my approaches.

After the first four days of walking, I found myself with four sets of stones, unintentionally collected(x). Left with 18 dislocated stones, I reviewed the walks and recapitulated each point of collection to bring them back during the next days ( )x.

 

 

notes:

destinations imply expectations.                                     30.06.16


#4

While walking on the trail to the tree country cairn, I stumbled upon a fence marking the boarder between Norway and Finland.  I did not make it to the three-borders-point after.

The next day I asked Oula A. Valkeapää about the fence. He explained that it was established after the Napoleon Wars (1809). Later the boarder fence had been closed, which meant a major change for the Sami reindeer herders, as reindeers instinctively seek to move up north in the summer going towards the wind. In this respect, closing the boarder created an unnatural boundary in the middle of a natural emerged, long established living area of the Sami people and their reindeers.

(cyanotype on cotton 150x210cm)

 

 

 

#3

notes:

a spectrum is not a real condition. It is a behaviour forced upon.                         30.06.16

It feels like it is missing its point.                                                                                 02.07.16

 

Although struggling with the aesthetics of the spectrum, now and again I consult DIY-resources to create very basic variations of spectrometers.

#spectrofilter

light sources crossing.

fluctuating sunlight.

  midnight sun. 30.06.16. 1am.

 

#handspectrometer

testing multiple angles.

sunlight

 halogen