Amphibious Trilogies


‘Correspondences’ are generally short snippets, Such as writing a postcard or a scribbled down note. A reference link. Something to follow up on. A shadowy photo of a whale caller with a horn made out of kelp in Kalk Bay, South Africa.


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Silence, keeping quite and love

Having an authors’ talk in Stavanger with the author and poet Helge Torvund about my book with the above title (published in Norwegian). It is quite a contradiction talking about silence and using water and ice as images – pond passage – in winter water landscapes with no amphibious life – only seals and walrus – fish and polar bears. Torvund is a famous poet of the coastline of the south – a man of wind and currents.


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Elastic conversations 2

Elastic conversations 1

Octopus and Medusa

Yesterday I had an unexpected encounter with the multidisciplinary artist Assaad Awad while he was leading a workshop at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Enamoured by the beautiful tattoos on his arms, an octopus and jellyfish, I asked him if he could tell me why he had chosen these creatures of the sea. In the process he showed a third tattoo that was hidden from sight. Without giving the game away I really do think he is amphibious at heart. Very cool!


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How do your fluids flow?

The systems of tiny fissures of many bones show looped and spiralling forms reminiscent of the laws according to which the water flows.

The images below stem from a recent conversation with Ingunn Rimestad while planning her participation in the up and coming Amphibious Working Seminar. The first image she showed me during our meeting; a photo she took of River Mersey, Northwest England, some years ago. The second she sent me a few days later; a found image from her research in body fluids, organs and bones.

River Mersey; its looped and spiralling forms.
Human shoulder blade (after Benninghoff).


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Post Paradise Blues

I got the Post Paradise blues.

Just got back to Oslo after 3 weeks staying at the Paradise Hotel working with volunteers with refugees on Samos Island. Now back I feel a need for some debriefing. Normalising? What does this mean/entail? I am listening to Grace Jones, her Island Life album.


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Contested Borderscapes

From: Contested Borderscapes
To: Amanda Jane Steggell
Subject: Abstract received
4 April 2017, 10.57

Many thanks for submitting your abstract to Contested Borderscapes. The Organizing Committee will be in touch soon!

Text: All think twice. It’s just another day for you and me in paradise.
Affiliation and Keywords: Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Samos Volunteers Group. Arts-based perceptions and communications.
Track 5: Representations and communication

Abstract: All think twice. It’s just another day for you and me in paradise. Do islands offer a feeling of isolation or of freedom?Who and what gets attracted to-, or left out of a pond? What is the hope, happiness and trauma of the pond and sea?

This contribution concerns arts-based perceptions of littoral zones of conflict. It draws on mixed creative methodologies from choreography and performance in particular with inclusions of design fictioining and sociology, as we ‘do things’ together with refugees living in one of five refugee shelters on Samos, namely The Paradise Hotel. The contribution will take the shape of a performance lecture that will convey through ‘movements’ between three interlocking thematics, ‘Island’ and ‘Pond’ and the ’Passage’ between the two. We are currently experiencing how these thematics come into play as returning participants of the Samos Volunteer Group. What has changed since we have been here last, and how do we adapt to the momentary now?


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Look what I saw

From: Andrew
To: Amanda
Sent: December 24, 2016 10:16 AM
Subject: lovely to see you

always inspiring
look what i just saw
and its downloadable


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Something for you

From: Amanda
To: Hans-Jørgen
Sent: November 8, 2016 21:26 PM
Subject: Something for you!

Dear HJ,

you might find this  useful: The Early History of the Carp and its Economic Significance in England, by Christopher K Currie. See link below.

I would tell you that the photo is taken from my family home in England, Newlands Manor, Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire where hurricanes hardly happen. The lake is full of black asian carps; a gift to the Cornwallis-West family sometime in the early 1900’s. The carps, who once lived long lives and grew very big are now under threat from poachers.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed our meeting – and more importantly, got something or other out of it. For Brynjar and I it was very interesting to try to recount what we actually did in Greece; how we worked to together and some thoughts about methodological approaches.

In fact the daily practices we showed you (Brynjar’s self-adaptive Tai Chi, and myself always looking for ways to get out on the water) are what we each do in our work-a-day lives, wherever we happen to be!

It is always difficult to negotiate the means, modes and significance of documentation. Brynjar’s Tai Chi is an example – I interrupt his preparation for the day by putting a camera on his chest.

We discuss his practice of doing daily Tai Chi and how it is affected by practicing in different places. I am interested how, by blindly recording with a point of view camera and reviewing the footage later, something else comes out aesthetically – simply because Brynjar channels energy through his body, reaching out into the atmosphere or ‘surround’ (my opinion). Slippery, yet directed trajectories between body and surround (landscape) occur, and I am drawn towards both cultural artefacts and natural elements that are always shifting in dimension and/or prominence as he moves. The video from the roof top of Patras rooms and the semi-submerged tai chi sessions appear to me as something working in some kind of extraterrestrial time-space, and I find the connections to be quite profound in an imaginative way.

We showed you a tai chi  video version on a football pitch, located on the top of a hill on the main island of Fourni. This football pitch was for us a substitute exercise for a much smaller pitch on the neighbouring island (Thimania) with goats identified by their individual bell chimes, their gruntings, sneezings, trip trapping and stamping in a landscape that was otherwise quite still, very hot and dry. Small paths led up the football pitch, while passing through clusters of olives groves. We found life raft containers used as water troughs and small boats turned upside down and draped with colourful curtains (capes, I would say) protecting them from the sun (and whatever could be hidden under them – we didn’t dare to look). These two findings resemble inversions of what they were used for once upon a time.

I am sad that I forgot to check the status of the memory card in the GoPro camera attached to Brynjar, and with this glitch the opportunity to possibly reveal ‘something’ quite sublime. For Brynjar video documentation is not so important. For my part I tend to dwell on lost potentials. (When I teach I do accentuate the ability to be an expert of one’s technologic devices. In the anticipation of the momentary now I lost control.)

The calmness, the heat, the lack of other people, the lack of humidity. The gated high fences of the football pitch, the worn down artificial grass – a ritual space with its own rhyhtms, a shrine likened to the hillside chapels. A community hanging on to the crust of the earth comes to mind.

I think that when we recorded tai chi on the larger football pitch we were focusing on reproducing something that happen on the roof top of the Patras apartment building, or semi submerged in the sea (creatures without heads). We should not have positioned ourselves on the periphery of the field (so as to capture a view of the sea). Rather, I think that if we had moved to the centre the results of the recording would be more interesting.

….. hrmmm …. here comes a short aside

I like to think I occupy the centre, but nothing is less certain. In a sense I would be better off at the circumference, since my eyes are always fixed in the same direction. But I am certainly not at the circumference. – The Unnamable, Beckett 1953

A follow up comes shortly ……..

Big hugs,


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