Exploratory creative fieldwork in Artic Lapland, beginning with the mediums of ‘extended-technique’ sound recording and macro and micro visual study.
I have so far spent my stay on the residency with a thorough and intensive period of gathering and documenting the surrounding landscape and environment.
Exploring the themes of scale and our perceived position in the natural environment are recurring themes in my work, with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station being an ideal base from which this creative fieldwork methodology can be developed. I am fascinated by the notion of alternative landscape study. By this I mean I find the observation and documentation of environments both visually and acoustically on another scale but our own, a thoroughly inspiring way in which to appreciate our natural surroundings. In the broadest possible sense I would say it perhaps enables the observer to reconsider the interconnectedness of the natural world and our place within it, and to find beauty in the often insignificant and seemingly mundane.
My main intention while here has been to gather, explore and experience, rather than to finish a final body of work while on location. By using perhaps seemingly disparate combinations of macro sound recordings, microscopic visuals and macro photography as avenues for inspiration and development I am hoping to complete some work which would primarily take on an audio/visual format.
Recording made at 13/07/15 at 16:20 Saana/Jehkas valley
Recording made 18/07/15 at 16:30 Skirhasjohka tributary
My time on the program so far has been really quite inspiring, with a short hike in any direction being very rewarding with the fells of Saana and Jehkas and the Malla Nature reserve being instantly accessible. The varied local habitats of lake, tundra, bogs, fells and mountain birch woods are such a pleasure to explore (even if the mosquitoes are sometimes a little hard to handle) and the constantly changing (and perpetual!) light over these landscapes adds all the more magic.
I have also met some inspirational fellow artists and residents, and upon arrival received a hospitable and warm welcome from mentor Leena Valkeapää.
In some ways visiting this quite extreme northern landscape as a sound recordist has been quite a challenge, sometimes for my pre-amps battling with the extremely quiet and distant sounds which the human ear has an amazing ability to pick out, but prove difficult to capture ‘on tape’ without a bed of hiss. But there is something about this sonic environment, which because of its sparseness and subtlety I feel I am more conscious of the small and the almost silent, and I am reminded of the importance of a listening experience in its own right as a means to inform my work.
I will be posting a couple more of my observations and ideas here in the coming week but as I have spent the last several weeks here I have created a dedicated blog as to serve as a more detailed record of my time. This can be found HERE.