Amphibious Trilogies

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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A new terella for dark times

We have been working between worlds – technical and communicative – with Anthony Rowe a former colleague and PhD graduate at AHO. We’ve wanted to collaborate on a light related project, and an Arctic one for some years now. We have been discussing this over the past few months and working to find a connect between Amphibious Trilogies and Anthony’s ongoing work in luminous installations. We’ve been discussing how to conjure up an mediational and physical-digital space to think about the future as part an extended choreographic imaginary. Recently, we chose to call this experimental work ‘Aurora Imaginaris’.

The work of Birkelund on the magnetics of the aurora borealis has been inspirational and his work with fashioning an experimental terella or globe.

We’ve submitted an abstract to the Darkness conference to be held in Svalbard in January 2019. This is give us an opportunity to focus and to locate the work in the Arctic and on an island. However, Aurora Imaginaris falls within the Passage part of the project. It’s a device to conceptualise a passage and a space to think into the future, beyond our current ‘dark times’.

We will do this is the mid-winter darkness of Svalbard, as far north as habitation happens. We will need to create an aurora, a manifestation of an imaginary light, a lit passage for conceptualising an extended chorography of climate change, a volume of another terella, manifest through the expression of art not scientific experimental proof. And we will reveal the actual work, not just images of it. As with abstracts, work remains to be done to meet its pitch ….

Title: ‘Discovering a new Terella for Dark Times: Aurora Imaginaris Revealed’

Abstract:

We analagously present the co-creation of Birkelund’s laboratory discovery of the electromagnetics of the Aurora Borealis in his Terrella machine with the generation of the Aurora Imaginaris by the Amphibious Trilogies (AT) transdisciplinary practice-based art research team. AT seeks to investigate new choreo-topographies for engaging in artistic knowledge creation in contexts and times of increasing complexity. Part of the project’s practice is to investigate speculative design as a mode of performative querying ‘dark times’ of contested truth and turbulence. As part of the DARKNESS event we enact – technically, mediationally and dramaturgically – the first public appearance of a new cultural imaginary that appears in the deep arctic darken winter of Longyearbyen. The phenomenon takes the form of an experimental occurrence realised through projection mapping and via aerogel. Aurora Imaginaris as a metaphorical means to think through the incontingencies, shifting conditions and indeterminacies of changing arctic environments is achieved through its limnal qualities. Aurora Imaginaris confronts us with a new Terrella for perceiving the changing conditions of arctic environments and thinking through darkness.

Authors: Morrison, Andrew; Steggell, Amanda; Rowe, Anthony; Bandlien, Brynjar Åbel & Wallin Weihe, Hans Jørgen

Event: Island Dynamics Conference: Darkness. Svalbard, 13-17 January 2019.

Panel 20: Architecture and design.

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Thinking forwards

Today we present Aurora Imaginaris at the University of Oslo Arctic Day 2018: ‘Arctic Collaboration’. Curated by Grø Ween, the event covers a diversity of disciplines and connections. The Programme says that:

‘Collaboration creates new and innovative sources of knowledge production, they can bring innovation, new futures can emerge, and collaborations can also win prestigious grants. Working together may further provide reflections of to the political nature of knowledge, as well as insights into the ways different disciplines contribute to our understanding of the Arctic.’

What does this mean for Amphibious Trilogies. As an invited speaker Andrew Morrison, Institute of Design, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, presents a talk entitled ‘Electronic installation art and interaction design investigating ways to think forwards from the work of Birkeland’.

In summary, Aurora Imaginaris is a collaborative electronic installation art and interaction design investigation into ways to think forwards from the work of Birkelund into conceptualising a new dynamic, choreographic volume of future oriented inquiry. It is a part of the Passage component of the Amphibious Trilogies project funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programe (NARP).

The presentation was a contribution to the third session of the day:

‘The Third session is an experimental multidisciplinary conversation involving four approaches to the Northern light, including space physics, Kristian Birkeland’s instruments, European approaches to Northern light and the use of Birkeland’s design in new interaction design.’

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Conceptualising Aurora Imaginaris

Aurora Imaginaris is a sub-project we devised to look into ways to conceptualise and to think further about how an extended choreography might reach into the future. Our setting is the future Arctic, but working in that setting hopefully both provokes and promotes us as makers, audiences, analysts and actors to think more deeply about where our futures may be placed and how we may think about moving between today’s tomorrow’s and tomorrow’s todays. The Amphibious Trilogies project will investigate this new, future facing aurora

The title Aurora Imaginaris thus conveys these sentiments; it riffs off the well known aurora borealis or the ‘northern lights’ as popularly known and poses a material embodiment of a different phenomenon – less science, more art. A phenomenon not of the magnetic dance of the heavens, known in legend and literature and science, but an extended choreographic construction that is itself might magnetise us to arrest our linear and determinedly destructive movement in time in the here-and-now.

To be able to offer a different presence of a future space before our eyes, an actual material volume of another dimension, but one that is also an aurora of the imaginary. Not a dance but a distance to move. Not a choreography but a twist of time and state and perception. Not a science fiction filmic narrative, but an actual glowing phenomenon inside of our own immediate Arctic, an aurora that is imagined but also found.

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An anticipatory aurora?

Part of the artistic research inquiry of Amphibious Trilogies is to work in arctic settings and to explore therein our key notions of island, pond and passage. This setting – central to changing conditions and discourses of climate change – bridges an earlier project at AHO into Arctic landscapes in a futures view. Called Future North, part of that project included prospective and speculative narrative elements in a dynamic, exploratory Digital Humanities frame.

In AT we have continued this prospective stance in our design-artistic inquiries. We include unnatural narrative in our project’s use of the persona OCTOPA. But we also stretched the speculative into thinking about the future, and of movement in an extended choreographic view, as being much about moving the imagination, that is via co-creative explorations of prospective connections between design fiction, installation art and extended choreography.

For us this is to cast Amphibious Trilogies within an anticipatory ontological frame and within acts of making future possibilities and prospective spaces for thinking into and through those very future venues and acts. How are we to imagine and to make tangible the dancing light of the future, that is its choreo-topographic dynamics as a potential space for dynamic and kinetic thought and action not prediction, as allure not particle physics. What might this even be, and how might one conceptually materialise a ‘volume’ of anticipatory perception inside our very own challenging times?

We begin with such ideas and thoughts and a wish to create an artistic epistemic artifact, to propel and to position extended choreography as a dynamics of co-creative thinking, in a work and for others to work. We will need to stretch beyond our comfort zones in coming to know aspects of working in an on the Arctic so as to find a mode of artistic expression suited to reaching past the important data and predictions of climate change. We will likely need to expand our team into the domain of electronic and installation arts where we have worked previously.

How might we co-create an anticipatory aurora? What sort of anticipatorially based artistic practice might we rehearse, invoke and evoke? And how might it be made performatively actual when it is not necessarily of the sky as the aurora borealis or ‘northern lights’?

Our aurora will need to suggest an amphibiousness, a shifting between states and limnalities, conveying an otherworldiness of its own, but one that we can see …. Where we might even be able to suggest that seeing in believing in a future where imagination is one of our most urgent resources.

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Island 3 (passage)

Fieldwork documentation

Vardø, Finnmark, Norway, 21 – 26.11. 2017
Andrew Morrison, Amanda Steggell and Brynjar Åbel Bandlien

Island ∼ Passage ∼ Future North. Futures Seminar.

Hosted by the Future North research project, led by Janike Kampevold Larsen at The Oslo School for Architecture and Design , and inspired by the work and support of Vardø Restored, the Futures Seminar featured recent research; the process of development and emergence.

This research seminar led into a series of events in Vardø during the week. The programme is underpinned by the Vardø Restored project and leads towards opening our new design, landscape, educational and research arenas for future collaboration and inquiry.

Traveling by bus between Vadsø Airport to Vardø. Wide open landscapes. Mesmerising.

Some impressions

Location data

Vardø is Norway’s easternmost city and the only city in Europe in the Arctic climate zone, north Norway’s oldest city, the northernmost fortified city of the world, Finnmark’s oldest fishing village and Pomor trading capital. Vardø is also one of Norway’s oldest cities, with city status from 1789.

Vardø municipality, the gate to the northeast passage and to the Barents Sea, had 2104 inhabitants per. 2017, and an area of 596 km2. The municipality consists of the town of Kiberg on the mainland, and the town of Vardø on the island, which has a mainland connection through the 2.8 km tunnel, northern Europe’s first subsea tunnel.

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Changes in the Arctic are driving more tourists to visit

Changes in the Arctic are driving more tourists to visit

The phenomenon known as “last-chance tourism,” has been identified for at least the past decade. It has inspired people to visit climate-imperiled sites like Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great Barrier Reef and the Florida Everglades, experts say, and it has been promoted, at times, to bring tourists to the Arctic. But there is more to the surging Arctic tourism business than climate concerns or morbid curiosity, officials say.

Read more on Arctic Now

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First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

A commercial LNG tanker has sailed across the colder, northern route from Europe to Asia without the protection of an ice-breaker for the first time. The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to tanker’s Russian owners.

Source: bbc.com

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Chinese icebreaker navigates across central Arctic

Chinese icebreaker navigates across central Arctic

On Monday, the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long was conducting research in the Norwegian Sea, sailing a back-and-forth path half-way between Bjørnøya and Jan Mayen. It is not known what specific research the vessel is doing in the Norwegian Sea.

Source: arcticnow.com

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What it’s like to ride a 6,000-ton icebreaker through Arctic waters

What it’s like to ride a 6,000-ton icebreaker through Arctic waters

VICTORIA STRAIT, Northwest Passage — When the CCGS Amundsen breaks through a 10-foot (or thicker) piece of ice, it rides on top of it first, the whole front of the ship sliding onto the sheet as the boat comes to a stop. Then the ship, 100 yards long and weighing 6,000 tons, crushes down, and its sharp hull splits the ice and pushes the fragments to either side.

Source: arcticnow.com

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