ICESONGS2 comprises a video & sound work which emerged from the site-specific installation ICESONGS created by Danae Stratou and presented at La Verriere, the exhibition space of the Fondation d’ Enterprise Hermes, in Brussels in 2010.
The most powerful element of the project was the astounding soundscape which had generated from sounds coming directly from the Antarctic Ocean emitted by the icebergs as they form on Antarctica’s edges, they collide against each other, squeeze out into the open sea, sail away and finally melt. These sounds, captured by water microphones1 that are lying on the seabed of the Antarctic, are now used by researchers for monitoring Antarctica’s melting ice shelf. Dr Alexander Gavrilov2 and Dr Jason Gedamke3 were kind enough to convert4 a large number of samples from their recordings, on my behalf, of the shifting icebergs’ sounds and to share them with me for the purpose of this project.
The final composition of ICESONGS, kept intact in ICESONGS2, is a 20’ minute long soundscape comprising 7 “sound-waves”. These have been synthesised by transforming and fluctuating the speed of 7 of the original – specially converted – recordings so that they vary in pitch and timbre and in this way reflect the rich range and diverse qualities of the sounds produced by the travelling, braking, colliding and melting of the icebergs.
These Iceberg’s songs coming from deep within the Antarctic Ocean are like voices coming out of an imagined landscape, at once familiar and alien, so powerful that they compelled me to attempt, in collaboration with sound and multimedia specialist, Vasilis Kountouris, to create a visual imagery that could potentially accompany the soundscape and thus form a new autonomous work. The result of this collaboration is the video/sound work ICESONGS2 .
SonicTime speech/sound/silence – From the EMST collection (May – October 2012). Curated by Anna Kafetsi.
ICESONGS2 belongs to the permanent colllection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, Greece.
1 Directional water microphones lying on the seabed in a defunct US naval base in South Australia. They used to be part of a massive US monitoring network whose aim was to track the paths of Soviet nuclear submarines as they crisscrossed the South Pacific.
2 Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University of Technology
3 Marine Mammal Research Program, Australian Antarctic Division
4 by speeding up the original sounds by ten times so that they transmit within the acoustic range of the human ear