Siri Austeen: Ears of the Field PDF Print E-mail

“The field site is a microworld. The field with its listening stations and continual birdsong is the world around us today. The field studio is a monitor for our thoughts on being human in this world.” - Siri Austeen

The project “Ears of the Field” is a comprehensive installation mounted in the Falstad Centre. The installation is shaped like a field station with a tent surrounded by “trees”. On the premises you can hear birdsong. Headphones are attached to the “trees”, and here you can listen to conversations between people having experienced war and conflict zones or who have shown political and artistic involvement in human rights issues and peacekeeping initiatives.

In the tent, which serves as a self-operating recording studio, we can express ourselves on related issues or comment on what we have seen at the Falstad Centre. These expressions may then – if we wish – be broadcast automatically on the project web site. Thus, “Ears of the Field” opens up a virtual space where Falstad visitors can allow the rest of the world to listen to their thoughts. Link to the project web site here.

The birdsong that can be heard in The Falstad Centre this summer forges a connection between history, politics and nature. Nature is often a silent witness to human activities – the constructive as well as the destructive ones. Birds were flying overhead as they always had, even at the time when Falstad was a prisoner-of-war camp. Birds, however, do not write history. They live their lives independently of borders and political and religious dividing lines. Yet, the birds singing in “Ears of the Field” are not just any birds: they represent all areas of the world where there are wars and conflict today, they are singing witnesses of realities that people want to get away from.

The individuals who contribute with their voices in “Ears of the Field” tell us about their experience from war zones, refugee camps and emergency situations – and talk about what contributions you as an individual and group can make in order to prevent or mollify conditions of war and conflict. By narrating and listening important experience and knowledge is disseminated. “Ears of the field” provides the visitors with a space where both are possible.

Siri Austeen was educated at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art and in Prague. She currently lives in Oslo but grew up near Ekne and Falstad. She works with installations, video and performance – often with sound as a vital element. She is interested in sound as a phenomenon and as a medium for artistic investigations.