Currently 14

CURRENTLY 14 presented three interlocking events distributed between Oslo and Liverpool, June – August 2014  – each emerging from Currently 2013. They are;

The Vanishing – a sailing journey/field trip, Elisabeth Weihe
Greenwash (Grønnvask) – a not-quite-clean soap making project, Amanda Steggell
ShrimpCraft! – a SmartBuoy workshop for the water curious, Ross Dalziel/Adrian McEwen

THE VANISHING
25 June – 12 August, 2014
Sailing journey from Norway to The UK and back

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Photo c/o Magnus Buuer (r) with Magnus Kultorp (c) and Elisabeth Weihe (l)

The sea and its resources have always pulled people out to sea and the coasts. It has formed where people have found it possible to live with a source of food and income. Along our coastlines I see structures of both contemporary and traces of past uses of the sea – structures that with time will be demolished by people, the weather and the sea. Right now they carry a memory of the sea and its uses. It is this memory I wish to investigate.

Through history the North Sea has connected and divided people of Norway and Britain. Changes in trading possibilities, politics and sea resources have influenced the level of communication between people. For many years travel by sea was an easier means of communication than travel on land, thus generating contact across the North Sea. The fishing grounds beyond Norway’s coast were for a long time used by the british fishing fleet. This changed in 1977 when the exclusive economic zone was established at 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal line; a big difference from the earlier 3 nm national border, stopping british fishing boats coming to Norway.

I will let myself be pulled out to the North Sea, using it as a means of communication between Norway and the UK, following the trading routes between the two countries. Along the way I will contribute to-, and become part of maritime networks; from wireless communications systems such as AIS Automatic Identification Systems and VHF radio, to local harbours. As a seafarer and artist I will go ashore to interact with and interview people of the coast, observing and gathering knowledge of past and contemporary uses and relationships to the sea. I plan to take photos of maritime installations from the sea that shows its uses. From the sites I will, in collaboration with Amanda, gather samples of seawater used for both our projects.

Back in Oslo I will merge the seawater with the site photos, painting it onto the photos. The water will evaporate and leave the salt behind. Adding layer upon layer of seawater, salt crystals will grow and gradually the mineral of the sea, the salt, will build up and become a solid structure. By a trick of the tale the sea becomes the stable element of the image. The cultural artefacts, as portrayed in the photographs, become volatile as the seawater solution solidifies. The photo compositions will be displayed in the summer 2015, together with texts and interviews relating to the memory of each location.

tv_seasamples tv_structure
Here are some photos I am currently working on (pdf).
Amanda followed my journey on the internet from her boat in Oslo and published it back on the internet as a Story Map.

GREENWASH
Maritime Festival, Bjørvika, Oslo NO
17-20 July, 2014

Borg Havn 11

Photo c/o The Whale Gang 2003

Is it possible to sell not-quite-clean soap?

Greenwash discusses the quality of seawater by experimenting with soap intended to be used at sea, hand crafted in-situ from Amanda’s boat during the summer 2014. The soaps encapsulate information about the sea in a particular location to be put back into the ocean in another place and time. They are made from ingredients such as seawater, seaweed and oil from a deceased sperm whale found floating off the coast near Fredrikstad, Østfold, Norway, 2003.  The water from each location was analysed. Each soap was graded according to its cleanliness. Sea-faring folk were interviewed on what qualities a sea soap should have, such as aroma and colour, and contributed to the soap recipes. Not having made soap before this project, Amanda used a soap maker’s calculator juggling with the ingredients until she achieved a reasonable result.

The Greenwash event took place during The Norwegian Coastal Federation’s (Forbundet KYSTEN) Maritime Festival. As part of the Norwegian celebrations of 200 years of independence, the festival slogan was The Boat – a nation builder. Throughout history maritime culture has both built and destroyed nations. Greenwash brought a contemporary twist to this issue via free-for-all (big and small) activities: 

  • Daily workshops on how people made soap in the old days.
  • Water tests and testing the ph value of soaps in the making.
  • Handcraft – an intangible coastal cultural heritage – a pop-up talk by Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe.
  • Sniffing purified sperm whale wax.
  • Washing hands with soap samples from the Greenwash collection.
  • Browsing an interactive information screen, including background information, images, soap making techniques and recipes of the Greenwash soap collection. The Norwegian version can be viewed here.
  • Viewing two early trials of Elisabeth’s salt-layered photographs for her project The Vanishing.

Over 200 pre-made soaps and 400 produced at the festival were sold.


Special thanks to Seppo Steggell and Alette Jentoft, Hroar Hesselberg, Endre Hoffeker/The Whale Gang and Forbundet Kysten for help and support.

SHRIMPCRAFT!
– SmartBuoy Workshop
: DIY Tools for the water curious
National Museums Liverpool Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool UK
30th August, 2014 12pm – 4pm FREE

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Ross Dalziel, computer scientist Adrian McEwen from DoESLiverpool and artist and sailor Elisabeth Weihe ran a ShrimpCraft workshop with National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool Maritime Museum on the Albert Dock in Liverpool on Saturday 30th August 2014 as part of their Dock watch programme.

It’s drop-in workshop for families of all ages and a chance to build your own water sensing computer and visualise data like temperature and turbidity using flashing LEDs. You can also visualise its data in processing and even draw bar graphs on a minecraft server through Ross’ Minecraft of Things project.

This drop-in workshop features learning and building an Arduino compatible ‘shrimp’ on a breadboard with water quality sensors. You can then make floating buoys from waste plastic and test them on the dockside. The ShrimpCraft computers will then become a resource for future workshops in the museum and schools in the North West. It’s also a chance to learn Morse code, make and take home LED morse ‘throwies’

Elisabeth and her co-sailor Magnus talked to people about their research journey between Oslo and Liverpool and showed them some soaps from the Greenwash collection. More photos from ShrimpCraft! can be viewed here and plans for 2015 here.

Ross Dalziel used kits developed (and available for anyone via the Shrimping website) with Shrimping.it, Octopus Collective and North Walney Primary School with support from Natural England.

Watch the brilliant description of ShrimpCraft! as described by a child below, and read the blog post about developing the kits we used here.