By Frank Ekeberg
Fall 2020 Issue
This sound clip is an excerpt from the sound installation work “Ingenmannsland” (No Man’s Land), first exhibited at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany in 2019. The installation is designed as a fully immersive, multi-channel sound environment that gradually transforms over the course of a full day. The work highlights issues of deforestation, resource extraction, habitat loss, species extinction, and natural vs. artificial life. The sound material is based on field recordings of the Norwegian primeval forest that since ancient times has served as a symbol of stability and wealth of resources and contributed to the Norwegian self-image of having a unique closeness to nature. The recordings are processed in real-time to reflect a contemporary reality of fragmentation and rapid change.
Focus is in particular on the rain forest that once covered much of the west coast of Norway. Only scattered remains exist of the rain forest today, and it is now on the red-list of endangered habitat types. 80 percent of the coastal rain forest has been lost only in the past 100 years, and it is predicted to disappear completely within the next five decades. Despite numerous warnings of species decline, loss of biodiversity and the importance of trees for carbon capture and storage, only 4 percent of Norwegian forests are currently protected. The loss of species and habitat is reflected in the installation by 80 percent of the sounds of birds and insects gradually disappearing as the day of the exhibition progresses. When this decline reaches a tipping point, artificial, drone-like sounds start to appear and replace the sounds of almost all the natural pollinators. The title refers both to the original definition – no man’s land as uninhabited land where nature reigns – and the more recent understanding as an area of conflict.
Frank Ekeberg is a transdisciplinary artist, music composer and researcher working in the intersection of art, science and technology. His work explores issues of ecology, time, spatiality and transformation, with a particular focus on nature spaces, biodiversity and extinction. He is currently based in Norway.