Listening Waters
posted by Kati Roover on 25 October 2019

During my Ars-Bioarctica residency at the Kilpisjärvi Biology Station the first week I was taking part of Field Notes 2019 in a group Strange Weather. It was intence and inspiring week to dive into different layers and stories of the area. But it was too short time to understand more than fragments of different knowledges and perspectives.

I am working with a project H2O - Creatures and after the Field Notes my main intention was to explore and listen to the different waters and to gather some recordings for my sound piece. For this ongoing project I have looked at the massive cultural changes where water’s cyclical time were condensed into simple H2O form. The mythical stories of water gave way to the linear time defined by a man. Human watery organs and the efficient processes created by them, work as modifiers of water structure and it’s flows in the environment. Water has become a commercially available, and manageable and disappearing material or a hidden landfill. However, as an element, water is still like a permeable channel, a cyclical cycle of time and an all-embracing sensor: by its very nature, a state that registers change and challenges the senses to a different experience of reality.

Here you can find more about my work:

I had also time to read about water and one of my favourites was Water Is Siwlkw by indigenous Okanagan poet and activist Jeannette Armstrong. 

Here is short excerpt of her poem:

”… driving new wet earth  down slippery slopes  to make fresh land  the river’s way heaving its full silt weight  crushing solid rock  the tide’s way  smoothing  old plates of stone  finally deciding for all  the way of ice  piled  blue green layer upon layer  over eons  sustaining this fragment of now  so somewhere on her voluptuous body  the rain continues  to fall  in the right places  the mists unceasingly  float upward  to where they must  and the fog forever ghosts across the land  in the cool desert wind  where no rain falls  and each drop is more precious than  blood  balancing time  in the way of the silvery hoar frost covering tundra where iridescent ice  tinkles under the bellies of caribou  her song  is the sky’s way  holding the gossamer filaments  of rainbow  together  guarding the silent drift of perfect white flakes  where the moose stop momentarily to look  upward  her song in the forest ensuring a leaf shaped  just so  captures each glistening droplet  to celebrate  the vast miles of liquid …” - Jeannette Armstrong