Silencing of the Reefs: Departure Iceland, 2012

Photo: Courtesy the artist

Multi-channel audio work encoded for the 47 channel The Morning Line Sound System
20 min
Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Soundscapes under the surface, invisible but audible – soundscapes which have evolved from the beginning of time. The acoustic environment of the oceans is an essential component of life for the creatures inhabiting the seas. Sound travels almost five times faster in water than in air, the speed differing according to pressure, salinity, the flow of the current and temperature. Creatures living in the ocean use sound to communicate with each other, to find a mate, to hunt and to orientate themselves. Different fish, mammals and crustaceans produce different sounds for different purposes; you can identify the species by listening to the sounds they make. Silencing of the Reefs is an ongoing project that investigates the soundscapes of reefs and their neighbouring ecosystems. I will be listening into the health of the reefs, and investigate how inhabitants of reefs are using and orientating themselves to the acoustic environments they inhabit. Reefs are under stress, they have ecosystems that are very sensitive to changes in temperature, acidification and also to sound pollution. How well can these habitats adapt to the rapid change we see today? Are the changes too fast to adjust to, and are we just documenting the changes happening without being able to do anything about them? Will the reefs be silenced before we even have had the chance to listen to them and even begin to fully understand these fragile eco systems? Silencing of the Reefs: departure Iceland is a composition based on the first recording trip in this project with the explorer ship Dardanella to the North West coast of Iceland. – the artist

*1965 in Bodø, Norway | Living and working in Oslo, Norway
Chris Watson and Jana Winderen in the interview with Robert Dornhelm
Jana Winderen and Philip S. Lobel on Unpredictability and Speculations, Lopud Symposium 2012