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Od kláštera Osek na Selesiovu výšinu, k Lomu, Libkovicům, Hrdlovce a zpět/From The Osek Cloister to Lom and back
By Samotar, 27 September 2015
By ll, 25 September 2015
Rise and Fall of the Herring Towns:Impacts of Climate and Human Teleconnections
Lawrence Hamilton, Oddmund Otterstad and Helga Ögmundardóttir
Sources indicate that in olden times Icelanders did not fish for herring, or just on a very small scale. Herring fisheries off Iceland began around 1880 when Norwegian fishermen established themselves in the East Fjords and later also in North Iceland, especially in the Eyjafjörður region. The Norwegians´ fishing technique was based on the use of seine nets that were laid out in fjords, a short distance from the shore. In Iceland interest in herring fishing was greatest in Eyjafjörður where the management of the Gránufélag took the lead. In 1880 and 1881 the company’s managers undertook herring fishing and salting in Siglufjörður. This was probably the first wholly Icelandic company to catch and salt herring and to export Icelandic herring. During the first fifteen years after the Second World War herring fisheries were slack, a new boom started in the early 1960s. This lasted until 1968 when the herring stocks collapsed and until 1990´s there was almost no herring fishery off Iceland and Norway.
Time plots of catches by fisheries for small pelagic species often show a characteristic pattern. The fishery builds up to a sharp peak of high catches, then drops steeply as the resource becomes scarce. This pattern might occur only once in a fi shery’s history, or several times with a separation of decades. It is not uncommon for a diff erent small pelagic species to become more abundant, providing a new fi sheries target, after the formerly most prized species vacates its niche. Similar spike-and-collapse patterns can take place in the substitute fi sheries as well. Population volatility appears widespread among small pelagic species. As relatively short-lived forage fish, they experience intermittent strong year classes. Spawning and migration cycles are sensitive to annual-scale variations in ocean environment or climate. Fishing pressure can accentuate this volatility. The characteristic spikes of pelagic fishery catches represent not simply peaks in abundance, as it has been tempting to assume.
Rather, they are peaks in fisheries success, an imperfect correlate of abundance. Unsustainable peaks can result from intensified fishing effort, market demand or technological innovations, even while abundance itself declines. Intensification temporarily masks decline, but catches eventually come down too – often with a crash. Some dramatic failures of twentieth century pelagic fisheries occurred when rising fisheries pressure coincided with falling environmental conditions, a double blow against a resource. Order-of-magnitude fluctuations in small pelagic stocks have consequences on land, where families, enterprises and communities depend on the resource. The human dimensions of pelagic-fishery troubles have been particularly prominent in the case of Norwegian spring-spawning herring, a once-vast stock that during the first half of the 20th century supported fishing communities around the northeast Atlantic, then almost vanished in a late 1960s collapse.
With the collapse, herring towns lost their main resource, and faced an urgent need to find other livelihoods. The societal aftermath, as well as the build-up, shows some common elements across different places. Here, we illustrate with the stories of some individual communities – Siglufjördur, a North Iceland village that boomed briefly as the ‘Herring Capital of the World’; Seydisfjördur and Neskaupstadur in the Eastfjords of Iceland, which succeeded Siglufjördur as the centre of Iceland’s herring boom during its final stage in the 1960s; and Råkvåg, a quieter Norwegian village where centuries of herring fishing ended with the collapse.
The fisherfolk of these and many other herring towns pursued essentially the same large migratory stock. Adverse environmental shifts around Iceland, together with over fishing (putting pressure on different herring life stages and during different seasons) on both Norwegian and Icelandic grounds, reduced this common stock by more than 95 per cent. Three decades later, the stock had regained only a fraction of its former size and range (for an overview, see Vilhjálmsson, 1997). The shared fates of Icelandic and Norwegian herring fisheries reflect their shared resource. Signs of synchrony among more distant pelagic fisheries, for example Atlantic and Pacific herring, have also been observed, but their causes are less obvious. One class of explanations looks for teleconnections through global or hemispheric climate, which might impact Atlantic and Pacific ecosystems alike. We suggest an alternative or supplementary hypothesis. The correlations between Atlantic and Pacific fisheries might at least partly be due to humans, and in this respect not so different from what happened to the Atlantic herring towns.
HERRING TOWNS OF EAST ICELAND
Icelandic herring catches show two distinct high eras. The fi rst was during the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. This comparatively low-technology labour-intensive era brought thousands of jobs to Siglufjördur and other herring towns. Then, as herring biomass shrank, and the remaining fi sh were found farther north and east, the fishery entered a new era. Low-tech inshore vessels could no longer reach the fish.
The great terminal 1960s spike of Iceland’s second herring era reflected catches by a more industrialized, long-distance fleet based in East Iceland towns such as Seydisfjördur (65.3°N, 14.0°W) and Neskaupstadur (65.2°N, 13.7°W). New post-war technologies, the power block, nylon nets and sonar, allowed massive catches and masked the resource decline. Larger ships ranged far to the east and north to find the fish.
Contemporary narratives about the last decades of Iceland’s herring adventure describe the dramatic shift of fishing activity from North Iceland to the Eastfjords. Social activity in the eyes of the nation, followed this shift as the herring retreated farther and farther east. When the fishery ended, almost in an instant (1968), the herring’s earlier retreat looked in retrospect like a warning of what was just around the corner. The excellent harbour of Seydisfjördur had become one of Iceland’s first herring ports when Norwegians started fishing there in the late 19th century. By 1901 the population passed 1000, compared with fewer than 150 in Siglufjördur. However, the herring catches there declined, and Seydisfjördur grew no further, whereas Siglufjördur began to boom after 1910. In the mid-1930s two herring plants were built in Seydisfjördur, and new vessels were purchased. The herring plants often had an insufficient supply of fish, so to raise catches, a trawler was allotted to the town by the government in 1946 (one of several distributed to Icelandic municipalities as a way to provide jobs). Herring salting resumed in 1950, after a lapse of 50 years. One plant was enlarged in 1956, then rebuilt in 1962, as Seydisfjördur became more important (and Siglufjördur less so) in the east-shifting herring fishery. Seydisfjördur processed massive volumes of herring during the fishery’s terminal spike in the period 1962–1967, before the resource disappeared.
During the peak year of 1966, Seydisfjördur processed some 150 000 tones of herring and salted 108 000 barrels. Hundreds of students and fishers came to work in this short-lived boom; similar opportunities no longer existed in Siglufjördur. Norwegian ships also came to fish, but they processed their herring onboard. Although the eastern boom involved far more fish per year than the northern boom ever had, it created fewer jobs owing to its more modern, industrialized methods. Following the collapse, Seydisfjördur’s herring plants turned to alternative species. One became a cod freezing plant in 1969; another had little to do for five years until a fishery emerged for capelin. Unlike Siglujördur, Seydisfjördur also possessed significant demersal fish resources. In 1972, another trawler was purchased to fish for cod. Cod landings overall increased as herring catches dipped, and together with capelin this allowed Seydisfjördur’s population to continue growing after the herring crash, until cod too declined and outmigration became marked.
There was a similar pattern in the nearby herring town of Neskaupstadur. Even during the herring era, many small boats in Neskaupstadur fished for cod and other demersal species, providing jobs in the absence of herring. Working in cod processingwas socially stigmatized compared with working in herring, the bigger, more exciting fishery. The herring fi shery demanded harder physical work, intense for short periods, but requiring limited skills. It appealed to younger workers, more so than the comparatively stable and technical cod fi shery. Having the alternative of cod, however, left Neskaupstaur a way out of the herring crisis. In 1970 Neskaupstadur was among the first towns in Iceland to buy a stern trawler to fish cod, allowing it to bridge the gap between the herring era and what came afterwards – the trawler era.
In Seydisfjördur and Neskaupstadur, both the rise and the fall of the herring era came later and much faster than in Siglufjördur. Because East Iceland fisheries were more diverse and less labour-intensive, immediate socioeconomic impacts of the herring collapse were less harsh. However, when cod catches fell too, a few decades later, the Eastfjords towns were left in similar dire straits. The herring collapse was a national shock, with impacts not confi ned to the herring towns. Unemployment increased around Iceland; net outmigration jumped during the years 1969 and 1970 to its highest levels since 1887 (Statistics Iceland, 1997). Herring and cod had been the economy’s main pillars; the loss of one highlighted the nation’s vulnerability to environmental forces, and the need for diversification beyond fish.
Section from the article by: L.C. Hamilton, O. Otterstad and H. Ögmundardóttir (2005). Pp. 100-125 in R. Hannesson, M. Barange and S.F. Herrick Jr. (eds.) Climate Change and the Economics of the World's Fisheries. Northampton MA: Edward Elgar (about Seydisfjördur).
Frontiers of Solitude Symposium
The international symposium Frontiers of Solitude, organized as part of the eponymous art project site will offer a comparison of the opinions, experiences, and points of view of artists, curators, and invited guests on the theme of transitions in the landscape in which we currrently live and of which we are a part.
The symposium will search for relationships between the cultural, political, and economic aspects of contemporary concepts and our understandings of what is meant by such words as Earth, countryside, landscape, and land, including the topography of transitional zones, with an eye on both establishing and crossing over boundaries and limitations.
The term landscape can be understood as a mindset to orient us in the world and to reflect our relationship with the land. It is everywhere around us, under our feet; it is our shared starting point; it is that which at once unites and separates us. With this in mind, we can begin to raise questions about what is happening to the land? How are we connected to it, how do we relate to it, what separates us from it? How and to what extent can we understand the land, and what do we all know and not know about it? To whom does it belong, and how do we change it, for better or worse?
The artist, architect, businessman, technician, scientist, farmer, pilgrim and other kind of specialist each perceive the landscape in their own terms. How can we express and capture in human, rather than statistical, terms, both the visible and invisible transformations that the land undergoes, both locally and globally, with regard to the entire biosphere and climate?
Industrialization brings about mobility of people and goods, hyper-connectivity, overproduction and urbanization, which have transformed a large part of the 21st-century landscape into an industrial concourse, test laboratory, and a field of conflict among people, and between people and other living creatures. From this, there comes about a blurring of existing, seemingly well-defined borders, zones both separate and interconnected, with regions of safety and danger, rich and poor, managed and wild.
Have we already entered an ideosphere of beyond imaginary boundaries? Does contemporary art make it possible to orient ourselves within this unstable and ever-changing territory? Do frequent art projects and festivals, or interdisciplinary symposia on the theme of the Anthropocene offer fresh approaches and visions, or rather exploit the fascination and anxiety as result of the expected and unexpectied changes and transformations?
Guests and participants: Vít Bohal, Dustin Breitling, Peter Cusack, Petr Gibas,Stanislav Komárek, Alena Kotzmannová, Ivar Smedstad, Julia Martin, Pavel Mrkus, Ivo Přikryl, Martin Říha, Matěj Spurný, Tereza Stöckelová, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Andras Heszky (Translocal Institute), Guy van Belle, Martin Škabraha.
This event takes place and is organized in collaboration of the French Institute in Prague and the support of the Agosto Foundation.
Location: French Institut Prague, Štěpánská 35 Praha 1
Friday 5 February
The first block of presentations consists of the outcomes from the expeditions to Iceland, north Bohemia and FInnmark during late summer of last year as part of the project. Participants will talk about their experiences and thoughts about the journeys. Alena Kotzmanová and Ivar Smedstad will present the Finnmark expedition, Julia Martin and Pavel Mrkus wlll talk about the landscape and industry in Iceland, and Peter Cusack, workshop lecturer for Into the Abyss of Lignite Clouds at the Most coal fields, will speak about his ongoing research into the sonic aspects of environmentaly damaged places and landcapes.
10:30 Miloš Vojtěchovský and Dagmar Šubrtová (CZ) - Welcome and introduction
1.Reports Beyond the Frontiers
10:45 Alena Kotzmannová (CZ) -North
11:00 Ivar Smedstad (NO) - Finnmark
11:30 Julia Martin (IS/D) - The Iceland expedition:Tracing hyperextended objects and their ecological agency
12:00 Pavel Mrkus (CZ) - About "The Fall"
12:15 Peter Cusack (UK) - Sonic Journalism and Places in Transition
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
2. Landscapes, Gardens, Mines, Dwellings, Voids
The afternoon block covers different aspects of current environmental issues, and in particular, there will be presented a case study of the industrial landscape around the Most basin in north Bohemia.
14:00 Stanislav Komárek (CZ) – Having a Land, Having a Garden
14:30 Martin Říha (CZ) - The Limits of Adaptation -The Men and The Ore Mountains Landscape
15:00 Ivo Přikryl (CZ) - Hydrological System of Landscape after Mining - Ideal and Reality
15:30 Matěj Spurný (CZ) - “We didn’t have the Numbers” The Dawn of Criticism of Socialist Productivism in North Bohemia in the 1960s as a Case Study
16:00 Petr Gibas (CZ) - Voids: The Landscape between presence and absence
Break - 17:00 - 19:00
19:15 Introduction to the film
19:30 Screening of Dreamland
Saturday 6 February
3. Anthropo-Scenes -- The morning block focuses on the broader contexts of the industrial and post-industrial landscape, related to the current discourse on the Anthropocene.
11:00 Martin Škabraha (CZ) - Reclaiming the Landscape
11:30 Dustin Breitling (CZ/USA) - Cognitive Mapping
12:00 Tereza Stöckelová (CZ) - Ontological Uncertainty in the Planetary Lab
12:30 Vít Bohal (CZ) - The Anthropocene: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Lunch break - 13:00 to 14:00
4. Places in Between: in the last block, presentations will offer three examples of how contemporary art and artists reflect the environmental crisis, and the questions of their vision of the future with the closing discussion panel.
14:30 Guy van Belle (B/CZ) - An Ecological Awareness, Crossing Borders between the Real and Imagined?
15:00 András Heszky (HUN) (Translocal institute, Budapest) - The River School and the Ecology of Danube
15.30 Isabelle Frémeaux & John Jordan (FRA/UK) (The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination) - Places in Between
16:00 Panel discussion
17:00 - 19:00 Break
19:00 Screening of The Forgotten Space. (Allan Sekula and Noel Burch)
Field Work and Ecology
This expedition through Iceland will lead participants to various locations in the South, East and North of Iceland where the untapped sources of renewable energy – water, steam, and wind – as well as the impacts of hydro- and geothermal power plants on the landscape and on local micro-economies, can be observed.
We will visit the largest rockfill dam in Europe, Kárahnjúkar dam, as well as the aluminium factory for which it was built, and the affected river systems. The construction of Kárahnjúkar dam (2003-07), and the political process leading up to it, have been the subject of extreme controversy in Iceland. Under the current government, plans for more hydroelectric mega-dams are under way. They promote an intensified “harvesting” of the country’s large number of free-running rivers and promise cheap "green" energy – with the aim of attracting investors, multinational corporations, and energy-hungry heavy industry to Iceland.
Participating artists will meet with experts from other disciplines and will be introduced to the ecological, political and socioeconomic aspects of the sites visited. The program intends to feed into a critical and informed debate about case-specific ecological and socioeconomic co-dependencies, and about the means and ends of renewable energy production and energy consumption.
10. Aug: Arrival of artists in Reykjavík/Keflavík Airport
Travel by car to Akureyri
11. Aug: Travel along the north coast to Lake Myvatn, geothermal landscapes of Krafla, through the northeast to Dettifoss nad waterfalls Egilsstadir
12 Aug: Afternoon meeting at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art, talk by Markús Þór Andrésson
13 Aug: Visit to Skálanes Nature and Heritage Centre, Seyðisfjörður
14 Aug: Site visit to Reydarfjördur, tour to Alcoa Aluminium Smelter
15 Aug: Site visit to Kárahnjúkar hydroelectric dam in Eastern Highlands
16 Aug: Site visit to Lake Lagarfljót and Heradsflói Estuary
17 Aug: Return to Seyðisfjörður, evening meeting at Skaftfell Project Space, sharing of visual material, observations, thoughts, open to the public
18 Aug: Travel along south coast to Reykjavík, (Jökulsárlón Ice Lagoon, glacial estuaries, geothermal greenhouses Hveragerði
Accommodation at SÍM (Association of Icelandic Artists)
19 Aug: talk by Andri Snær Magnason, and evening screening of "Dreamland" movie, based on his book Dreamland, discussion on the planned projects and impressions of the participants
20 Aug Departure day from Reykjavik
Participants: Pavel Mrkus, Diana Winklerová, Greg Pope, Ivar Smedstad, Karlotta Blöndal, Finnur Arnar Arnason
Organisation: Julia Martin, Tinna Guðmundsdóttir
Documentation: Lisa Paland
Dreamland: Andri Snær Magnason
A lecture and discussion with Andri Snær Magnason, author of the 2006 book and film documentary Draumalandið (Dreamland).
“Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer, born in Reykjavik 1973. His most recent book Tímakistan won the Icelandic literary Award and was nominated for the Nordic Council Children’s book Award.
“Andri has written novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays and created CDs. He is the co-director of the documentary film Dreamland. His work has been published or performed in more than 30 countries. His novel LoveStar was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 2013, and was chosen Novel of the year by Icelandic booksellers. It also received the DV Literary Award. His children’s book, The Story of the Blue Planet, was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Prize and has been published or performed in 26 countries. The Story of the Blue Planet received the Janusz Korczak Honorary Award in 2000, the West Nordic Children’s Book Prize in 2002, and The Green Earth Honor Award in 2013.
“Andri has collaborated with various artists in the fields of activism, architecture and theater – mostly with a band called Múm. He has been active in the fight against the destruction of the Icelandic Highlands. His book Dreamland – A Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation takes on these issues. Dreamland has been published in English, Danish, German, Spanish and Japanese and has become a feature length documentary film."
Finnur Arnar Arnarson: Ignorant and Happy
About liking and disliking at the same time.
About being schizophrenic, ignorant and happy.
I love toasted bread.
I hate power plants.
I love driving in the highland.
I hate destroying pure nature.
I love Coke.
I hate aluminium plants.
I love watching Formula 1.
I hate pollution.
I love greenhouses.
I hate the greenhouse effect.
I love economic growth.
I hate large enterprises.
I love my new computer.
I hate mining.
I love Christmas lights.
I hate electric lines.
I love travelling abroad.
I hate too much tourism.
I love myself.
I hate myself.
Finnur Arnar Arnarson (b. 1965) works with video, text, and installation, finding his inspiration in familiar reality. Themes in his work include alienation from the environment, the objective and subjective experiences of time and space, and technology as an extension of human will and determination.
Arnarson studied sculpture and mixed media at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts. He has worked as a stage and set designer at the Iceland Drama School, and has taught at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.
The Iceland expedition: Tracing hyperextended objects and their ecological agency.
Hyperextension is a medical term describing the extension of a body part beyond its normal limits. I have coined the term “hyperextended objects” in order to describe objects whose ecological agency extends them into the range of other objects, connecting them to many other objects, forces, beings, ecologies, in specific means-and-ends relationships. Regarding objects not as closed but as hyperextended allows us to understand them as ecological agents participating in forming ecological systems of objects and infrastructures, both man-made and natural. To discover their joint ecological agency, objects must be hyperextended beyond their individual object-hood through contextual research. The aim of the expedition in Iceland was to introduce the artists to this concept, and to let them trace hyperextended objects in the field context, thereby discovering their wider ecological agency. We used the Kárahnjúkar hydroelectric project in East Iceland as a case study, following the extensions of the entire project: The hydroelectric dam, the powerstation, the powerlines, the aluminium smelter for whose energy supply the dam was built, the neighbouring towns, and the two affected river systems. All these components together form a hyperextended object of concern – whose wider ecological agency may even defeat the initiating object's "green" intention (e.g. producing hydroelectricity while destroying aquatic systems, in order to build parts for airplanes). It is hoped that recognizing and visualizing hyperextended objects in advance can lead to changes in decision-making regarding land use and environmental planning.
Julia Martin (b. 1976, Berlin) is an artist and landscape architect from Berlin, living in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. She holds a Ph.D. in art from Goldsmiths, University of London, an M.F.A. from Edinburgh College of Art, and an M.A. in landscape architecture from the Technical University Berlin. Her performative actions, drawings, photocollages, installations, and writings investigate the relationships between objects and agents in space and time, and have recently focused on developing her concept of hyperextended ecological objects.
Julia's recent research project is Kárahnjúkar–Reyðarfjörður–Heraðsflói (2011– ongoing), about which she says: This ongoing fieldwork-led research in East Iceland investigates the ecological and socioeconomic relationships and contingencies of three expansive objects and sites: the Kárahnjúkar hydroelectric dam, the Alcoa aluminium smelter in Reyðarfjörður, for which the dam was built, and the Heraðsflói estuary where the two affected rivers meet before they flow into the sea. The project looks especially at the infrastructural, political, and spatial connections between these places and at their intervowen transformation due to human intervention. Tracing and visualising their means-and-ends-relationships, the case study reveals a hyperextended object: a complex ecology incorporating without clear separation natural processes, human activities, and their residues.