This is my last day and last night in Kilpisjärvi – for now. I already know I want to come back and see what this landscape looks like without snow. Today I spent most of my time indoors, but I finally managed to write a small text to use as a voice-over for the video  A Day with Malla. I even managed to record a few versions of it, without a proper microphone though, only with my camera, which makes the editing easy, later. The next step will be to translate it into English, for subtitles (in case I want to use them) and I almost did the translation, too, today, but it still needs some reworking. The text as such is what it is now, not very clever or interesting or poetic, but something. – There are no images for today, except of the house number, which shows that we are here at the end of a very long road.

 

When I have edited the video I will add it to vimeo or perhaps send it to the AV-archive, and add a link there on my website annettearlander.com But that will take a while.

For now, thank you to bio art society for this opportunity, and good luck to the artist who comes here after me!

 

Today I spent most of my time indoors at the computer, and also reading a book that I thought would fit into the environment, but which is rather heavy and complicated at times, Meeting the Universe Halfway – quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning, by Karen Barad (2007). She is inspired by Niels Bohr to develop a new form of ontology, which she calls agential realism, and which she discusses for instance in relation to Judith Butler’s performativity. I have been reading this opus for a while now, and sometimes I feel energized when I think I understand what she is getting at, for example when she speaks of intra-action instead of interaction, because things come into being though intra-action instead of existing before hand as separate entities that could then inter-act. At other times I am completely exhausted by her complicated language and her references to physics which I have a hard time following. But for some reason I feel her work is really important and relevant, and that is why I keep on struggling. It sems clear, however, that I will not finish the book during my visit here. I have only one more day, and do not want to spend all of it reading. There are many students writing on their master thesis here, they can apply for a grant for one week to do that, so there is a sense of study in the atmosphere.

I took a break today as well, and went to see Malla from closer distance, skiing as far as to the end of the lake in the north. Unfortunately, or perhaps luckily for my video work,  Malla is more beautiful from a far. This is what Malla Fell is like in “close up”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And at the end of the lake you can also see Little Malla as a separate fell, and the funny sign forbidding snowmobiles exactly where all the snowmobiles are driving all the time .

 

Monday was a working day – and with a beautiful sunshine most of the day! Today I made the “real” version of what I now, preliminary, call A Day With Malla (working title), a short performance for camera, or should I say a video documenting the changes in the landscape seen from the lake towards Malla fell during one day in April. I started early in the morning, the first session at 7 am, down at the lake, very near the place where I made my first attempt. The light was bluish, of course, but I guess I could have started already at six o’clock, because the sun was up. Then I continued by repeating the same image every second hour, at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm and the last session at 9 pm. All morning and day the sun shone from a deep blue sky, it was rather cold and the snow glittered with thousand tiny sparks. In the afternoon clouds started to gather and some snow was falling every now and then. No real snowfall but something like a mist or fog with snowflakes, beautiful and eerie. The clouds remained until the last session, and at eight o’clock it was snowing heavily, but luckily the sky cleared somewhat after that. No glorious sunset to end this piece, but a sunset nonetheless. I guess it is better that way.  - I started to write a text, in Finnish, to use as a voice-over to the video today, but I am not sure if it is needed or how to use it. If it turns out ok I might try to record it at some point tomorrow.

The snapshots with my phone from the first and last session will give you an idea what Malla looked like today; what is missing is the sunny part between them. And to explain what I mean by saying there is a lot of snow here, I include a snapshot of the view from the kitchen window, taken this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world looks different from above, even Malla Fell has another charm seen from the lake or seen from the slope of Saana Fell. Two young women writing their MA thesis here at the station had decided to take Sunday afternoon off and try to climb up to Saana, since some of their colleagues had done that yesterday, and I joined them. Eagerly we set off after lunch, with warm clothing for the cold wind up on the top, with water bottles and walking sticks (but no snow shoes). The sun was shining from a deep blue sky and the world was as beautiful as it could be with the noise and smell of snowmobiles spreading from down below. There were other people outdoors as well, and I looked with admiration at people climbing up the slope with skis, when I had trouble not sliding backwards with my sturdy shoes. We had been warned that there would be a steep part after the end of the tree line, but I did not imagine it to be steep in a way that made me dizzy. The snow was rather hard and slippery, and about half way up the first part I realized this was too much for me, and turned back. I always forget that I am no longer twenty-five. Actually it was not lack of stamina that made me stop, but fear, I was scared of sliding down. So I returned to the crossroads and the girls continued up.

Once I had made it to the crossroads I stayed for a while above the tree line and admired the view. Then, when I had become accustomed to this new world of distances and vistas I decided to walk up to the lower ridge straight ahead, following the other slightly less steep path, that would take me around Saana, but only so far that I could see to the other side. And it was worth it, really. A world without vegetation, only whiteness. I can only imagine what you could see from the top! I include here a snapshot of Malla Fell from that ridge, with the top of the skis of a Norwegian couple, included by accident.

While returning down to the station I tried to think of the characteristics of that environment, and made some experiments with the walls of snow surrounding the paths between the buildings, focusing on the enclosures, as it were. They look amazing when you walk between them, but do not make very interesting images, or at least I did not know how to approach them.  Perhaps I have to stick to working with Malla…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a windy morning the afternoon was bright and only partly cloudy. Leena Valkeapää, an artist who lives not so far from here came to town and we met for coffee, sitting on a terrace in the sunshine like any old ski tourist. I have never been to the north for vacation, so I would not have known, but Leena initiated me to this custom, and told me about life here, between two worlds, the Norwegian weekend visitors and tourists from the south on one hand and the reindeer herding Sami people trying to maintain their traditional way of life on the other. I was fascinated by the fact that on the other side of the lake is Sweden, and I could simply walk there over the ice. There is a reindeer fence, however, near the shore, she told me, which keeps people out, as well. In older times the Sami people used to follow their reindeers across the borders, but now these movements are blocked.

Today I spent most of my time socializing, a small walk northwards in the morning and a small round on the ice with my skis in the evening, for practice, and of course the walk to the village to meet Leena. No video images today. I photographed an art photo in the dining room, depicting the same Malla Fell I videoed, in summertime. Unfortunately I do not know the photographer. With the reflection from the window it becomes something else, however.  Although recognizable it looks rather surreal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what the world mostly looked like today, although to human eyes it looked much whiter, brighter, despite the clouds and the snowfall.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snowstorm actually started only in the evening, so these images are from my last sessions. The very last image was completely blurred because of the snow melting into water drops on the lens of the camera. It did not look bad, but of course the automatic focus was pumping back and forth, and what was even more annoying, as I recognized afterwards, the framing was completely wrong, or too much to one side. Well, this was my first attempt, and I will try again tomorrow, or probably next week, when the weather is supposed to be clearer. Any way I have now one hour of material of Malla Fell, and sometimes me as well, as a tiny figure on the ice. I should be able to edit something out of it,  a mix of five minutes or so…

My real adventure today was going skiing in the morning. I have not stood on a pair of skis for more than thirty years, yes, I am not exaggerating, and I thought it might be interesting to see if my body would remember anything. And yes, it did. With the help of a friendly lady here at the station I managed to attach a pair of forest skis (the wider variety) to my boots and started off across the yard, holding on to the ski poles for my dear life. And after a while it did not feel so bad. My kinesthetic memory was useful in the slope towards the lake, since when the skis started to glide downwards my body immediately remembered how to get up and thus also down by turning sideways. It must have looked hilarious when I was carefully climbing down the small slope. Nevertheless I ended up on the ice safely and really enjoyed moving on skis on a flat surface. And I soon realized that I had too much clothes on, since skiing quickly makes you warm. Although I did not go very far, this short skiing trip was in any case an adventure worth experiencing. Funny enough, while concentrating on moving, you do not notice much of the surroundings. At least when inexperienced, you do not see much of the environment, except the part that is directly in front of your feet, although you are completely embedded in it, literally performing landscape.

 

The weather really changes quickly. This morning there was a constant snowfall and it looked like it would never end. I imagined us sitting here inside, with the snow slowly covering the windows, time passing. And suddenly, before noon, the sky cleared. A colleague having coffee in the kitchen explained that you have to go with the weather here: If it is bad, you wait, if it is good, you go out at once. And so I went out in order to practice walking with snowshoes. A friendly biologist, who had an interesting talk about the flora and fauna in this area at the nearby visitors’ center the first night I was here, explained to me how the shoes should be fastened and used properly, and yes, it was a lot easier that way. I took a small walk on the ice, about one hour, and realized that it might be possible to walk there without snowshoes as well. At lunch time the good weather was gone, the heavy snowfall was back for more than an hour, and I decided I would simply have to try whether my camera could take the snow or not. By the time I was down on the ice the snowfall was over, and I made my first attempts at 2 pm with clearing skies. I chose the iconic Malla fell as my main character and placed my tripod near a wooden construction at the shore. Then I walked a few meters out on the ice to have a human figure in the image, and made some marks in the snow to find the same spot again. In the by now bright sunshine it was hard to see if the horizon was horizontal, so I made two attempts and went inside to see what they looked like. I left the tripod there and decided to return after one hour to see how the weather had changed. One hour turned to two, so my next image was at 4 pm, the following at 6 pm and the last one for today at 8 pm, a blue moment. The changes in the light are fascinating even without the abrupt weather changes, because they completely transform the image, partly because I use automatic focus and white balance. I cannot show still images from the video here; for that I would need another kind of computer, but I took some snapshots with my phone, so you can get an idea:

      

 

 

The drive up from Kittilä was already an experience, with the one-hour break at Muonio, feeling the landscape changing and turning more and more spectacular at the same time as the mountains grew higher and the trees turned smaller. First the spruces disappeared, then the pine-trees, and around Karesuando where the first reindeers ran across the road, the pine trees started to vanish as well. I was sitting in front in order to see the world changing, and enjoyed watching the busdriver stop every now and then in the middle of nowhere, when there was a big box by the road side, and throw in a newspaper or other mail, like an expert basket ball player, as a fellow passenger remarked. There was almost an incident developing when we arrived at the gas station at Kilpisjärvi village, since a bunch of Norwegian snowmobile drivers had left their vehicles lying around so the bus could not turn. Luckily they appeared to remove them, peace prevailed and the trip could go on a few more kilometers. I had no problem finding my way to the station, since two elderly ladies (well, I am an elderly lady myself) on the bus were headed there, too. And the station is next to the road.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the mountains looked exactly like they should in a proper travel advertisement, the buildings were covered in glittering snow, in fact everything was covered in snow. Snow makes things beautiful; it makes the landscape into one whole. In small doses snow can turn any landscape clear and apprehensible, by reducing unnecessary detail and making the main forms and lines stand out. That kind of cosmetic snowcover is not needed in a landscape like this, with the mountains providing all the form and clarity (or obscurity) you might wish for. In contrast to their imposing majestic shapes the small birches abounding everywhere, with their dark twisted stems and branches standing out against the snow provide the decorative details. I was breathing deep faced with all this beauty and then slowly started to realize that I would not be able to move without skis or snow shoes. And my first impulse was to look for a place where I could place my camera on tripod within reach from the opened paths and still get a view of the lake. Then I realized that instead of making some kind of emergency decisions, I should perhaps accept that I might have to alter my plans and think again, look again, and give this new world a chance to appear without imposing my expectations and plans. And perhaps I should try to borrow some snow shoes (which I did, the next day). I snapped some photos with my phone without actually seeing anything in the dazzling light, as if wanting to gather evidence of what I saw around me, (two of them you can see here at the end), as if the view could disappear at any moment. And in fact it did, and does. The weather changes all the time, as on the Atlantic coast, when the clouds keep rolling in. Probably the sea really is close by, behind the mountains. While I am writing this, the snow is falling again, covering the landscape in an ever thicker white carpet. So I guess I have to start planning how I might be performing snow…

   

 

Besides working on data_opera and the search for natural random-sources I spent some hours, mainly at night time on my amateurish approach to analogue photography. I focussed on long-time exposures to catch photons of the big ghost fo the area, the Aurora Borealis. Well equipped with two analogue cameras, a Nicon F and a Hasselblad 500, some color slide films for the Hasselblad and color negative and one color slidefilm for the Nikon and a heavy tripod which could be mounted in the deep snow.

So I went out after whenever the Aurora forecast and the activity monitors and Information from Derek McKay-Bukowski Master of Kaira Station indicated reasonable chance of ghostly appearances with both cams and I took the 35mm cam whenever explorations of the environment had been sheduled. Or I rushed to get a cam, whenever light or aurora activity forced me to to so, e.g once deeply relaxed after a sauna evening, as I got stunned by a really incredible active Aurora burst, of course yet not equipped with a cam, so I rushed in within the moment the burst started to calm grabed the cam yet stored in minimal reach from the entrance door, but too late to get a shot with these dancing swirls of green and purple.

So in addition to the two good middle-format shots and some nice small format shots of Aurora I had been tought the lesson about the moment, the pictures in the head and the somewhat flat representations on the images. Further I start to realize, that I have to get some pictures which are analogue because the digital scans break the medium, while they make it easy to share the frozen and condensed moments, of which I only witnessed some parts, as some shots are real longtime exposures done at temperatures most of the time below -15°C or even lower.

Aurora shot at Kilpisjärvi end of November 2013. Camera Hasselblad C500 on middle-format Fuji Velvia color slide film (100 ASA), scanned @ 4800 DPI © Michael Schweiger all rights reserved.

Aurora shot at Kilpisjärvi end of November 2013. Camera Nikon F 50mm Fujifilm Superfine Grain 200 ASA negative Film scanned @ 4800 DPI, shot @ f: 1:1,4 5 sec. © Michael Schweiger all rights reserved.

 

House of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, known as Áillohaš, Sami Artist, now residency place of Sami Association – shot at Skibotn end of November 2013. Camera Nikon F from negative Film scanned @ 4800 DPI © Michael Schweiger all rights reserved.

More pictures here:

 

Day No 11/12 30.11/01/12 2013

First reflections:

In Helsinki I will set up the sensors with Arduino only to log some data with the same filters which are still in the sensor housings to get data for comparison with the data recorded at Kilpisjärvi.

Back in Linz there I have to dig the field of more accurate lowpass filters to get rid of the ripples on the  PWM DC Voltages from the boards and look for circuits for some compression of the signals as low concentration and ratio of particles lead to low voltages while high concentration and ration tend to go over the maximum and are therefor limited with maximum voltage. Driving the darlington transistors with 9V should help as the CV inputs of filters and LFO’s can be fed with 9V too. But still I have as well to look for a way to get rid of the linear relation between data and Voltage output, what would perfectly work with logarithmic function to process the data before sending it as depending Voltage.

Setup in installation be changed, I will build single stations containing sensor, microcontroler, darlington and other needed analog electronic circuits needed. The locations of single units setup will be choose as it seems to offer changes that emerge from visitors moving causing dust moving which changes the sound. The stations will be conected with one collecting analogue synthesizer rack, where the data related voltages will control pitch, PW of the squarewave oszillators, frequency and resonance or Q of the filters and further CV controlable LFO’s.

Further I want to do some analogue math with the signals using comparators, analogue logic modules offereing AND / OR / XOR outputs to trigger for example Envelope Generators to fade the Volume of voices or other parameters.

Main idea is now to create an sound envrionment that relates to the dust moves in the envirnment where the installation is located. Environment is not seen as the rooms where the sensors are located only, but as well the entrance, a backyard, maybe the nearest street.

The entrance situation is most likely intersting, it makes the rooms and the outside environment communicate via airflow and turbulences which triggers changes in the acoustic environment.

I think further it needs to make a dislpay or whatever appropriate way of information about which sensors detect dust of which size of particles, of the relation between chosen particle sizes to observe in comparison to particles sizes and related maximum permissible values, and of course on relations of sound changes, sound design and musical interpretation of detected concentrations and maximum values allowed in air.

Day No 13 02/12/2013

Some more data logging, some tuning with the code before the dissasembling and the packing started, which then finally lasted for some hours till everything was apcked secure and transportable and sorted to make it easy to reach for the parts needed for data logging to be donne during the crypto-postcard workshop @ Made in Kallion in Helsinki.

Day N0 14 03/12/2013 the journey to Helsinki starts.

Day No 16 05/12/2013

Did hours of data logging at “Made in Kallio” during the workshop of Markus Decker and Peter Wagenhuber on Cryptology and encryption of postcard messages with personally shared key’s. Attending the workshop was very interesting and fun at the same time, and it was quite intersting how much attention the sensor box and the data logging setup gained which led to following talks about my project. Both the results of the logging which clearly showed, that the almost predominant zero concentraions measurings from Kilpisjärvi still derive from the sensors sensitivity, which could be higher, but nevertheless the predomination of non zero measurings in Helsinky to be seen after time even dominated by rain and light snowing, both cleaning the air, shows, that the sensors defintely will be sensitive enough for any area with some density of population to carry out possibilites for the sonification of  environmentally interrelatingly caused change of dust concentrations.

During the data logging I did some basic statistics with the data calculating (offline) Average, Median and Mode of both, concentration and ratio of measured values. To use “second order” data could be interesting to drive second order modulators by voltages generated along the (second order) statistical data. But this would involve more math capacities for the microcontroler, so terrain that needs further search for solutions.