online / Bio-diversity – Acoustic Ocean


Bio-diversity is the curated program within the Bio Troja project, where we will for certain period point to selected audiovisual works related to the context of art and ecology. These videos are published with the consent of authors and provided with an accompanying text introduction. The first chapter of four pieces was curated by Miloš Vojtěchovský.

Please view with headphones, as Acoustic Ocean is also a sound piece.

You can watch the video Acoustic Ocean here

Swiss artist Ursula Biemann captured the airy Arctic landscape on the rocky coast of the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway through the prism of image and sound ecology. The only character in this short feature documentary is a slender female explorer in an orange diver suit. She symbolizes the current feminist concept of the necessity of returning to the entangled world of man and planetary ecosystems, in this case monitored by sophisticated and non-invasive listening techniques.

We are following the Sami singer and performer Sofia Jannok performing the role of a marine biologist who works equipped with a system of sensors – hydrophones, an ornithologist dish and digital devices – to engage in a dialogue with the invisible creatures living below and above the ocean, listening to the sounds being emitted in her headphones. The video soundtrack is extended with audio files from the archive of underwater recordings of ichthyologist Rodney Rountree and the oceanographic collection of the Discovery of Sound in the Sea Institute at the University of Rhode Island.

The volume level of the Arctic sonic environment is influenced by various factors: wind speed and streaming of water, cracking and melting of glaciers, i.e. geophony and rich and mysterious biophony – the sounds arising from the migration and communication of marine fauna. The third factor is Anthropophony – noise accompanying human activities both on land and in the ocean. The latter factor can be considered as the main frame of this video piece: due to the low visibility in the deep cold ocean, sound is the most important medium for animals to communicate and navigate through. Good audibility is essential and more important to the life of most deep-sea animals than sight. The noise as a symptom of the evolving human colonization and exploitation of the planet – apart from the higher temperatures, rising acidity and pollution by microplastics – is one of the core reasons for the ongoing extinction of many species of marine life.