Field note 1: Island ∼ Pond
Image: Brynjar Bandlien, 2016
Do the rhythms of islands offer a feeling of isolation or freedom?
Who and what might be attracted to a pond?
What is the ‘passage’ between island and pond?
What is the hope, happiness and trauma of the pond and sea?
As part of the working exhibition ‘If I were The Ocean‘ at the Norwegian Maritime Museum Aug 2016, “Kystlaget Viken” (Oslo’s local team of the Norwegian Coastal Federation) organised a trip from the museum to the island of Lindøya with the re-constructed Viking ship “Vaaghals” (Dreadnought). ( ⇒ ?). The sailing vessel was of a kind used before 1628, constructed as a merchant vessel with ample place for all the passengers participating in the trip. For those interested in the original vessel it was excavated as Barcode 6. Sounding like a kind of drink from a bar, but in reality a very muddy excavated wreck from the Bjørvika in Oslo.
Through the fieldworks we explore the dynamic and kinetic rhythms of the life of islands, record pond ecology and human pond interaction, and investigate how travel-time is used and experienced on long sea hauls. Through these dynamic, kinetic and corporeal event-driven investigations we will make links between contexts and communication. We will do this to make material actual experiences, self reflections, locative mapping, and participant views. Above all, we will strive to provide wider and fruitful expression of ways to connect movement as a design material and a means of exchange between a variety of actors (persons, groups, tools and systems).
On the move
Pond 1: 14.08.2016
Lindøya, Inner Oslo Fjord, Norway
Lindøya is a small island located in the inner Oslofjord with a 4000m shoreline, accessible to the general public by a ferry departing from Rådhusbrygge 4 (The City Hall Pier 4). The island is owned by the state and administrated by the borough of Gamlebyen (Old Town), and was built with small cabins in the 1920s. Today there are 300 privately owned, recreational wooden cabins, each painted in regulated colours; red, green and yellow. Parts of the island are regulated as nature reserves. The pond, called ”Kjernet”, is a host for swans, ducks, frogs and insects. Close by is a pavilion for festive events.
In 1920, Lindøya was the Oslo base for the pioneer of Det Norske Luftfartrederi (Norwegian airline), and its seaplanes. Due to the economic climate in Norway, the operation only lasted until the autumn of the same year. In 1927 a new seaport for Oslo was established on the neighbouring island of Gressholmen, where the hangar and ramp are still intact.
Artists at work
An excursion to the island, organised by Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe and guided by Odd Myran, an active old-timer of 88 years who had spent time at the island since his childhood.
Island 1: 02-23.09.2016
Fourni archipelago, North East Aegean Sea, Greece
Cape 1: 23.02-06.03.2017
Kalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Island 2: 02-23.04.2017
Samos (Vathy), North East Aegean Sea, Greece
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the 1.6-kilometre -wide Mycale Strait. It is a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. The area of the island is 477.395 km2, it is 43 km long and 13 km wide.
The capital of Samos is called Samos or Vathy and is located on the north eastern part of the island, around the bay. It has a population of about 6200 inhabitants, most of whom are now engaged in agriculture and tourism. At the time of writing (30.12.2017) there are about 2200 refugees most living in a military camp (built for 700 people), some living in shelters and others in tents around the camp.
Vathy is built amphitheatrically on the hill slopes, overlooking the town of Samos, two settlements which are connected. It is one of the oldest villages of Samos displaying some old Venetian and neoclassic buildings as well as modern ones. The port of Vathy is one of the three main ports of the island.
Artists at work
Amanda Steggell, Brynjar Åbel Bandlien , Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe.
We worked with the Samos Volunteers Group (SVG), a privately sponsored initiative for helping asylum seekers that have made their way to the island. Morning and afternoon tea kitchen and pop up library in the camp. Women’s hiking sessions. Gardening a plot of land given by a local host family. Art and crafts for adults. Recreational activities and English language classes for children, just outside the camp and in the Paradise Hotel in the harbour area (a shelter for vulnerable groups).
Pond 2: 30.05-4.06.2017
St Helena, Banat, Romania
Sfanta Elena (eng. Saint Helena) is a small village in the commune of Coronini in Caras-Severin, Banat, Romania. The population of the village is about 200 (in 1991 the population was about 800). Established in 1824, it is the oldest village still inhabited by the Czech minority in Banat. The inhabitants live traditional lives, tending their fields, milking their cows and sheep, having a few pigs, hens and growing traditional crops. Today Czech people/tourists come to the village to discover their cultural heritage, which brings some well needed income into the community.
The village lies a few kilometres north of the River Danube (the border line between Romania and Serbia), near the Iron Gates of the Danube. Due to the fact that the village is located in an area with quartz rock, the water supply of the village has always been a problem. There are no nearby water sources, and the few deep water wells have degraded over time due to pollution with household waste. Thus the inhabitants have to collect as much rain as possible. ‘Ghost villages’ can be found, spread out in the valleys surrounding the village. On the hilltops are wind turbines owned by a company in the Netherlands.
Artists at work
Organised by Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe with Amanda Steggell, Brynjar Åbel Bandlien,
Activities were mainly hiking in the surrounding landscape; some guided by our host, others unguided – getting lost, conversing with the few people we met on the way. An excursion to the small island, Moldova Noua, in the middle of the Danube River, provided us with both ponds and the many frogs that inhabited them.
Island 3 (passage): 21-26.11.2017
Vardø, Finnmark, Norway
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 (area: 596 km2), the gate to the northeast passage and the Barents Sea, had in 2017 2104 inhabitants. 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.
Artists at work
Organised by Andrew Morrison with Amanda Steggell and Brynjar Åbel Bandlien
The context of this field work was to participate in a working seminar that marked the end of two research projects ; Vardø Restored (a local initiative) and Future North, Oslo school of Architecture and Design (AHO). Can the resources and knowledges gained from these fused projects be used to project them into the future?
Island 4 : 03-11.o4.2018
Vardø and Hornøya, Finnmark, Norway
This field work included two excursion to Hornøya.
Hornøya is a 0.4-square-kilometre island surrounded by the vast Barents Sea. The island is one of the most extreme places in northern Norway. It is ravaged by storm in the winter and bathed in midnight sun during the summer. The island has long fascinated a number of polar scientists, scientists and nature enthusiasts, and the lighthouses have saved the lives of generations of sailors in the polar regions. Although it has a rich history, Hornøya is probably best known for its famous colony with 80,000 seabirds, including 7,800 pairs of groves and approx. 500 pairs of the rare polar penguins. A visit to Hornøya teaches us what real wilderness is, while the island is very easily accessible from one of the northernmost civilized areas in the world.
– source: http://www.hornoya.no/ (translated from Norwegian)
Artist at work
The purpose of this field work was to follow up on the previous journey to Vardø. My host, Maria Srkydstrup, organised meetings with the Coastal Administration (NCA) Vessel Traffic Centre (VTC), Vardø Upper Secondary School, Varanger Museum, Biotope Architecture Bureau and a wild excursion to Hornøya. I also revisited one of two large fisheries alongside the harbour, both in different stages of restoration.
Pond 3: 12.04-05.05.2018
Open Air Museum Maihaugen, Lillehammer, Norway
Island 4 (Passage): 13-19.09.2018
Vardø – Hamningberg – Honninsgvåg