spectres in change residency fieldnotes. Seili, Archipelago Sea. May 02019 (maja & nik - DRAFT)


  • Post retreat rest & reset
  • Setup working space
  • Walking, listening, foraging

(augmented) multisensory attunement

  • listening to the island and its inhabitants while being still and in motion
  • changes in birdsong throughout the day and in different parts of the island
  • a range of sounds of flight (swans and their gravity defying labour, flutttering of songbirds, collective composition of geese…)
  • tactile vibrations from stones (particularly the stone where the first mental hospital was built)
  • sudden rustlings of larger animals (deer, snakes, badgers…)
  • persistent drone of human activity (ships, planes, drones, quad bikes, motorised transport carts…)
  • saturday night techno & eurovision in the accommodation wing
  • the sharp punctuation of dogs barking, humans laughing, kids screeching…
  • a polyphony of rhythms, sound in overlap, quieting after sunset, never becoming completely silent. general murmur, background noise, persistent hum.
  • watching the island
  • interplay between sunlight and swarming insects (clouds of midges in particular)
  • long, slow transitions as light and colour drift at dawn and dusk
  • viridian greens of spring growth
  • evidence of drought in cracked mosses and brittle lichen
  • daily changes in foliage of trees and flowering plants (the island growing more lush and full of life each day)
  • tick-hotspots (dry leaves and tall grasses in warm and moist spots)
  • meadows changing colours, as different flowers come into bloom (gradients of blue, green, purple, yellow and white)
  • tasting the island
  • allium schorodoprasum (viking leek / sand leek) by comparison, allium ampeloprasum commonly known as wild leek or broadleaf wild leek when growing wild, has been differentiated into four cultivated vegetables, leek, elephant garlic, kurrat and Persian leek.
  • allium schoenoprasum (chive like)
  • allium ursinum (ramson)
  • pine tips
  • dandelions
  • nettles (Urtica dioica)
  • wood sorrel
  • smelling the island
  • from bitter green scents of early spring when we arrived, to the pollen-heavy scent of flowering trees and bushes in under a week
  • south of the island (the hazel forest) —fresh and herbaceous, while the north is more resinous and dry (pine forest)
  • the coast — swampy, decaying plant matter with a salty tinge of brackish water
  • middle of the island — floral, smoky, heavy cooking smells wafting from the restaurant, boats and houses; compost heaps and dust
  • recordings
  • ambient recordings at dawn and dusk
  • texture and microscopic recordings during the day (ant hills, bees, lichen…)
  • photographs (mostly landscape in its diverse textures…)
  • other
  • documentation from the retreat (notes, photographs)
  • conversations about possible explorations and manifestations of the residency
  • noticing the difference in noise levels when the tourists “hordes” decend on the island for the weekend
  • foraging and culinary experiments (wild alliums and oat cream risotto, sauteed pine tips with finnish grilled cheese, porridge with cowslip and strawberry coulis, wood sorrel lemonade)
listening to a mossy hill

(further) exploration

  • touching the island - using contact microphone to get in touch with the textures of the island (moss, dry leaves, ferns, nettles, reeds, trees…)
  • listening to the unseen - listening underwater and in the undergrowth using a hydrophone
  • experimenting with the temporalities of sound recordings (listening to the island at different time scales)
  • journalling
  • travel planning

(further) exploration

  • Morning recording - reeds, bird island
  • Afternoon - plotting possible soundwalk (GPX track saved), video sketch of the walk
  • Discussion - some propositions (and patterns) in response to the open questions guiding our residency
towards the midnight sun

Ecological attunement

How do we attune to an environment? Through “raw” human senses and when we augment the senses using tools, instruments and/or digital devices. What attunement techniques are we using?

  • Greeting, acknowledgement, permission (asking or testing - eg. in foraging, we can imagine asking permission, but won't get an answer until we test if the plant is poisonous), appreciation, meditation, focusing, unfocusing, experimenting with broadening and narrowing attention, exercises in practical magic (divination, scrying, psychogeomancy, visualisation, energetic navigation), daily walks and rituals, deep listening, augmented listening (in situ and from recordings), listening across different time scales (temporal manipulation of recordings)
  • In general - don't rush or force things, slow down / stay still until we attune to the rhythm of the place, keep returning to the same places and listening to the subtle differences (different times of day, at different speeds)

Speculative experiments

What (or how) technologies could help us attune to our surroundings, rather than distracting us from them?

  • Minimally intrusive technologies that enhance and/or remind (rather than distract) while being in an environment (e.g wearable, aural interfaces, HUD; no cables, no buttons, etc)
  • Technologies to focus (or maintain) attention in different ways - digital, chemical, biological, philosophical (…) technologies for the alteration or augmentation of the spectrum of human perception
  • e.g. (…)
  • Ambient overlays along the lines of 'native land' app to remind/prompt/tempt https://native-land.ca/
  • sonifcation and/or filters based on local environmental data as modulators of experience (e.g. rjdj → augment )
  • Possible, probable, preferred futures (arts/sciences/politics) scenarios (e.g. workshop with biosphere reserve? visualised with signage on the island? edible futures prehearsal?)
  • … etc.

What instruments could we devise to experience ecological transformations at a human scale?

  • speculative experiments/exercises → towards tech-specs for thalient technology (e.g. … )
  • tâtonnement v trial & error v solutionism → ?+ (“par tâtonnements” and/or “suck it and see”)
  • 'feeling around' climate models, time series, etc.

What rituals/observances/ceremonies could enable us to resonante with entities existing beyond human perception?

  • instructions for solitary rituals, time/space and/or talismans (inc. (re)enchantments, evoking & invocation)
  • ritual feasts. where we forage, prepare and consume parts of the island (scent, taste)

Could we design observatories where layered times and abstract data can be sensed at a human-scale?

  • talk w. the scientists about the tank shed as a possible venue. e.g. sonic lab — listening to the island through recordings, sonified data. sensory deprivation chambre in the cool rooms w/sound composition?

Experiential learning

How can we transform abstract data into embodied sensations, processes that can be experienced instead of (and as well as) explained?

  • e.g. sonification, using the data as parameters for filters, modulate composition (or raw field recordings) with time series data. 2nd order.
  • use data as constraints for plotting a walk across the island

How can all of our noticing, witnessing and recording become a transformative, re-animating force, something beyond representation?

  • Design and prototype experiences to test ideas (eg. sound walk on seili, AR overlay of speculative fictions in dif. parts of the island, or a set of instructions (spoken, cards, online, etc) for attuning to the island)
  • How can we extend small-scale experiences more deliberately to evoke wider ranging effects and/or unexpected resonances? (using existing infrastructures, e.g. conversations, media, promotion, publication, infiltration/exfiltration etc)

Acts of care

How can the act of observing be an act of caring? How can you care for something able to consume you or make you ill?

  • experiencing the effects of environmental turbulence (eg. cracked moss after a drought) can heighten empathy and motivate more engaged action - in some cases just “being with” can be enough (holding space), especially when there is nothing we can do to improve the situation. in other cases, caring for would include direct action (eg. preventing clearcutting a forest)
  • understanding the need of creatures can reduce afflictive emotions and increase empathy, while keeping the necessary vigilance

If we assume that the entire material bestiary has some form of sentience, how do we respond to climate change, mass extinction or speciation?

  • different 'protocols' of engagement (negotiating the give-and-take. permission and/or invitation when there is no explicit comminucation/consent possible.)
  • understanding the gradient of consumption (what can we use without harming the entity - eg. pine tips → multitude → forest)
  • in some (many?) cases paliative care is required and 'fixing things' is impossible
  • etc…

(further) exploration

  • dawn chorus recordings (2x)
  • further discussion / digression
  • collecting time series data, discussion with Katja about the types of data collected, sonification and potential collaborations
  • visit to possible art/science outreach venue (shed)
  • the ARI are interested in anything that could help bring environment/nature closer to visitors, to extend the existing science communication (e.g. alternatives/additions to the current audiotour of the island, mainly focused on history)
  • listening to the island through the recordings
  • data sonification experiments
  • mapping a possible soundwalk (environments, milestones/points of interest) & extrapolation of textures/atmospheres for sound composition/soundwalk
  • plants, flowers especially continue their rapid growth, opening to the warmth, blosoming, air thickened with pollen, bees.

(further) exploration

  • morning recording by the church
  • further entanglements with names, naming and the unnamed (unspoken)
  • data conversion & sonification tests using tick data → supercollider
  • midnight recording by the sauna and the moth collection instrument

(further) exploration, synthesis

  • (pre)dawn recording (rain, birds, moths, fridge)
  • recording & edits review
  • photographic review
  • sound and video from Spectral Salon uploaded to soundcloud, bandcamp and vimeo
  • hydropone recordings
  • re-threading the various weaves of the week
dawn recording session

conclusions, departures (Seili) and arrivals (Turku, Helsinki)

  • found the first human resident tick of the journey. removed it with the “tick remover”
  • Taking our leave, (landing in reverse), rite of parting (gifts, composting) and farewells (loop walk, …), gratitude, “peeling ourselves off the surfaces of the island”, separation, sedimentation, “little death”, leave no trace, no heavy footprints only light (digital) handprints
  • write up field notes & blog post (foam site, medium, taru, other?)
  • selected photos → flickr, instagram etc. #visitseili
  • collate recordings, cuts & edits → condense sound piece “post-glacial rebound” (in line with “how the terms…”)
  • general libarynth data dump (inc. what to do with the sound path video, samples, and other draft media?)
  • sumarise potential directions and discuss with Taru
  • follow up sonification of ARI data w. Katja
  • some re-ravelling and weaving before departure…

immediately visible would be the fieldnotes & documentation from the residency, there are some suggestions for further reading and writing (e.g. with CAA, a possible reader and following specific threads/ideas/metaphors/etc. [con]textually) in particular the archipelago and/or spectres and/or post-glacial rebound.

there is some obvious potential in the sound material. we'll work on another 'resonance' piece (in line with “ephemeral garden”, the dust & shadow soundwalk and “…in their concreteness are identical”) if there is interest (and resources) this could develop into a soundwalk for the island (guided and/or autonomous) an installation (on the island or elsewhere) or something else…

sonification of time series might provide an opening for further collaboration either with ARI and/or FoAM kernow if there is interest. this could involve some kind of soundscape and/or ambient display of time series (w. varying degrees of 'instrumentation' and/or direct 'use' and/or aesthetic resonances) a 'feeling around' of climate models, time series, etc. We might be able to use this data to modulate the field recordings in the resonance piece and/or soundwalk/installation

in the medium term, perhaps some prototyping/futuring sessions e.g. workshop with climate/extinction dinner and/or preenactments. there are many potential questions and some specific ideas (which would need further elaboration) e.g. creating prototypes/scenarios for “technologies to help us attune to our surroundings” this could include ambient/overlay/immersive ways to entangle stories w. physical island, developing prompts, using lotek and/or hitek approaches to enable attuning to current and possible worlds (eg. an ARN on the island).

as part of a broader effort to explore/create/appropriate shared & solitary rituals/observances/ceremonies/séances etc. for secular societies, there may be some particulars to the island and/or archipelago.

modes of attunement → sensory (listening, tasting…), imaginative, tentative, speculative

while we've been guided by a set of questions (see above) not all can be answered definitively and many remain present. during the week, we've made suggestions, found some tentative, situated answers and formed a few contingent propositions. there are, of course, many other ways of addressing these questions and the conceptual/contextual spaces they open up. we set out to “become familiar with the phenomena on the island and to explore their implications, without immediately confirming or rejecting any hypotheses.” in this, we have…

during the week several other questions arose (see above) or were clarified, some quite specific, others more general (e.g. “How can we extend small-scale experiences more deliberately to evoke wider ranging effects and/or unexpected resonances?”) we'll attempt to elucidate further when we write up the fieldnotes and/or any further texts.

…and then the “what? so what? now what?” loop, which might also be answered more lucidly after departure. some of the “now what?” are outlined as “potential directions” others depend on options/opportunities around CAA (or in which they take the initiative) there are some specifics (e.g. the ARI interested in extending their science communication), however if we intend to continue the work we may need to look more explicitly at existing or potential boundary objects. (e.g. during this week. time series, microscopy, the physical island, inhabitants of seili (corvid & non-corvid), etc.)

post glacial rebound and our Post Glacial Rebound soundwalk



Zoom H6. Sennheiser Ambeo. tripod mounted at 1m.

  • 2019-05-18 - ZOOM0235-4ch.flac - rocks near sauna. around 10h
  • 2019-05-18 - ZOOM0236-4ch.flac -
  • 2019-05-18 - ZOOM0237-4ch.flac - leper's rock. around sunset ~22h
  • 2019-05-18 - ZOOM0238-4ch.flac - walking across leaves/moss/branches
  • 2019-05-19 - ZOOM0239-4ch.flac - rocks near sauna. around sunset ~22h
  • 2019-05-20 - ZOOM0240-4ch.flac - viking garden, around 10h. some wind distortion.
  • 2019-05-21 - ZOOM0241-4ch.flac - reeds NW of the institute. island of noisy birds. boats. possible preditors. around 8h
  • 2019-05-22 - ZOOM0242-4ch.flac - south of the ARI building. just after dawn ~5h
  • 2019-05-23 - ZOOM0243-4ch.flac - meadow between church and water. morning ~7h
  • 2019-05-24 - ZOOM0244-4ch.flac - near the sauna. scuttling. nocturnal birds. waves. around midnight
  • 2019-05-24 - ZOOM0245-4ch.flac - grass near the moth catcher. ~1h (1min)
  • 2019-05-24 - ZOOM0246-4ch.flac - walking along path from moth catcher to ARI building ~1h (1min)
  • 2019-05-25 - ZOOM0247-4ch.flac - fridge tracks of “Portti pääty” ~midnight (6mins)
  • 2019-05-25 - ZOOM0247-4ch.flac - rain. morning activity. bg hum from fridge. recorded from inside the open window ~7h

Sony PCM-D100 (mostly with s/n100 enabled) built in mics & H2a hydrophone (on left channel only). various.

  • hydrophone recordings from the boat (Seili 5) during the retreat. esp. chirping ~5m depth. seals?
  • 2019-05-22 - 190522_001 - meadow between church and water. deer 'barking' (9:40~11m) and birds birding ~6h
  • 2019-05-24 - 190524_001 & 190524_002 - fridge listening in “Portti pääty” w. characteristic noises as observed. indoors ~3h
  • 2019-05-24 - 190523_003 - rain. recorded from the windowsill. severe noise/clipping. pre sunrise ~4h
  • 2019-05-24 - 190524_004 - rain. dawn chorus recorded from the windowsill. this time with the windshield. post sunrise 4~5h
  • 2019-05-24 - 190524_012 - hydrophone w. moss activity. ~12h

Sony PCM-D100 (with s/n100 disabled & limiter set to 150ms) using hydrophone.

  • 2019-05-24 - from 190524_016 onwards

Editing notes

  • convert to quad flac → sox *.WAV –channels 4 –combine merge ZOOM0233-4ch.flac
  • hydrophone - split hydrophone recs to mono. keep 1 and discard 2
  • ambeo - split stereo track 1&2 of 4ch flac)
  • normalize peaks to -1.0dB (do NOT normalize ch independently) > (process…) > export as level 8 24bit flac (edit tags, but try to keep filename from the recorder)
  • use metaflac for tag edits
  • Tick_data_2012_2018.xlsx
  • Zooplankton abund 1991-2014_To share.xlsx
  • macro butterflies.xlsx
  • odas 2011 and 2012.xlsx
  • seili bird_data 1981-2018 vuosiyhteenvedot.xlsx
  • zoopl_paev 1966-1985.xls
  • zooplankton data 1967-2013.xlsx
  • weather data 2011 - 2016
  • Säädatat 27.8.2011 - 31.12.2015
  • herring data:
    • Fat_Data.zip
    • Fat_DryWt_Food_Larvae.zip
    • Food_Data_Adults.zip
    • Food_Data_Larvae.zip
    • Menetelmät ja datakuvaukset.docx
    • Trapnet_Samples.zip
    • Trawl_samples.zip
Tuning the wild

  • spectres_residency_02019.txt
  • Last modified: 2022-08-11 07:46
  • by maja