Margrethe Iren Pettersen – Living Land - Below as Above

‘A more holistic thinking and behaviour towards animals and nature has always been part of living in the North. We took out only what we needed and used the entire animal or fish. The gratitude, knowledge and sensitivity to every living thing, believing in the powers of animals, stones, lakes, rivers and weather, has formed the peoples of the North, and defined its culture. A lot of these histories, memories and oral stories are not written down, they been travelling overland with the wind. They are a living experience.’ Living Land – Below as Above is a soundwalk developed by Margrethe Iren Pettersen for Dark Ecology. The idea of the soundwalk began with Pettersen’s interest in ice as a metaphor, and as the primary archival medium of the Arctic. In the dark wintertime, life in the Arctic is at rest, hidden, and the spectre of what is visual and audible is scaled down, and invites a deeper attention of our senses to nuances. Inspired by the 1979 documentary The Secret Life of Plants, Pettersen imagined the communication between species beneath the silent snow carpet, capturing a cosmology of the plants in which they are scientifically proved to be sentient beings with a nervous system, despite their lack of a brain. Listen to the soundwalk: Commissioned by Sonic Acts and Hilde Methi for Dark Ecology in collaboration with Arctic Encounters. Thanks to Christian Hollingsæter for composing music; Siri Broch Johansen for reading old Sami language; Elisabeth Sveistrup for walks; Britt Kramvik, Tina Lindvall and Renate Kristiansen for good talks and support. Margrethe Iren Pettersen (NO) is a florist with a Bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Contemporary Art in Tromsø. As an artist and cultural producer, she likes to take a place or landscape as a starting point from which she derives interdisciplinary narratives. In the past, Pettersen has worked with forgotten gardens and poisonous plants and weeds. By combining these organic materials with sound she explores the connections between nature and culture, often reflecting on the themes of ecology and transformation in one way or another. Pettersen is interested in different ways of disclosing art, which is why a single work often takes many different forms ranging from interactive sculptures, outdoor happenings, public cultivation and soundwalks, to more traditional pieces in a gallery. Last year Petterson was part of ART Ii Biennale of Northern Environmental and Sculpture Art (FI). Pettersen has started several artist-run spaces. At the moment she is on the board of Røst Artist in Residency and Loftet Arbeidsfellesskap (a studio collective in Tromsø). Premiere Dark Ecology Journey 26 November 2015 Langora, Kirkenes, NO

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