Island Songs – Nicolas parret & Sylvia Plonner (2019)
A radio work and immersive sound installation that explores the emergence in 1963 of the earths newest land mass – a small island off the coast of iceland.
In 1963, off the coast of Iceland, an island has emerged after an underwater volcanic eruption, a rare event that occurs on average twice a century. It was given the name Surtsey, after Surtr, the fire giant of Norse mythology. The surface of this new land grew after further eruptions until June 1967 when it had reached 2.65 square kilometers in size and poked 175 meters out of the sea. Surtsey has been an object of research like no other territory has been before, since it offers the unique possibility to study in-scale the creation of an ecosystem. Closed to the public, a select few scientists have access to the island once per year for four days. To this day more than half of the initial territory of Surtsey has disappeared. The violent winter waves degrade its coasts, and winds erode its surface. Scientists estimate that by 2120, two-thirds of the surface will be gone and erosion will have laid bare its heart of palagonite, a rock that might withstand a few thousand years.
As the youngest member of the Westman Archipelago, Surtsey serves science as a window into the past of the older islands. Reciprocally, these older islands are studied as windows into what Surtsey might be like in the future. Inspired by this approach – the island, as sort of “time capsule” – we investigated Surtsey′s assumed past, present and possible future with sounds drifted from recordings made on and around the islands of Bjarnarey, Elliðaey, Heimaey and Surtsey. The resulting sound piece evolves around the motifs of creation, colonisation, and metamorphosis of a territory.
For more info about this project and the artists work, visit their website.