Between reality and superstition there lies an ocean

Astrid Ardagh

VAV – moving image

Video and audio installation

Between reality and superstition there lies an ocean is a work that explores the state of mind of the generations of North Norwegian fishermen who worked on the Arctic coast. Fishing from open boats, through storms and dark winters, they were exposed to extreme weather and life-threatening situations, with only their inherited oral knowledge to help them navigate the ocean. The extreme exhaustion brought them into state of mind where a new world began to emerge: a world of sea monsters and mermaids, marmels and draugen.

The audio for this work was recorded in Lofoten, Norway, where, due to climate change, the fishing industry is in rapid decline and the stories of the ocean are quickly disappearing. We hear from Ketil Erdal, who belongs to the last generation of fishermen to remember the ocean when it was still “crowded with boats and sea creatures.”