Changes of rhythm, soundscape and visibility
posted by Nina Luostarinen on 12 April 2021

During my residency at Kilpisjärvi Biological station I have been working with my doctoral thesis for the University of Lapland, Faculty of Arts and Design. As the theme of my dissertation is related to place attachment and affect, changing scenery and location is essential in finding new perspectives – being stuck home for more than a year has nearly paused all the processes.
I am researching the possibilities on art-based playful intervention into places in order to reveal the narrative and emotional layer of the place, and by doing so enable novel empathy for the place. Kilpisjärvi area, in its poetic dimensions, has been most suitable ground for this. The changes of rhythm, soundscape and visibility caused by sudden weather changes have boosted my work and reflected the overall process. As my work is rooted to the idea of seeing the invisible, the hide-and-seek with the nature has worked as metaphor for it and guided my thoughts and writing process. The researchers at the station told me that at some points there is up to 3 meters thick snow and just a few steps later you can see the bare rocky beak. And even though they intend to remain unseen while dressed in their exquisite white winter coats, I have managed to spot a mountain hare (Lepus timidus), a least weasel (Mustela nivalis) and a flock of snow buntings  (Plectrophenax nivalis).
The layers of myths, history and beliefs become palpable when being surrounded by peaks silenced with snow. It is not hard to imagine where they have caught the melodies for the yoik: the place seems to be singing it: the wind joins in into the hymn of the ground.
My work here has been alternation of breathing in and breathing out conducted by the weather. I have been breathing in the secrets of the scenery and breathing out notes and text fragments for my dissertation. Finally I can feel the flow again!