TWO SIDES OF THE RIVER
Collaboration with Pavlo Grazhdanskij
Outdoor border-crossing sound performance
Commissioned by Pikene på Broen / Barents Spektakel
Photo from live performance at Barents Spektakel 2022, Utnes, Norway:
This initially started as a project commenting on a time of a global pandemic, social distancing, and closed borders - a collaboration between be and (then) Russian based Ukrainian artist Pavlo Grazhdanskij, curated by Neal Cahoon from Pikene på Broen for Barents Spektakel 2022. We wanted to create direct communication and build bridges between people by sending loud sounds to each other across the Norwegian-Russian border at the Pasvik River. Pavlo on the Russian side of the river, close to Nikel, working with the sounds of two WWII sirens as a sound source, and me on the Norwegian side of the river, at Utnes, using field recordings of a foghorn from Sund Fiskerimuseum in Lofoten - a sound known to coastal communities across borders that have always led people into safe havens in rough times.
On the Norwegian side of the river, I was able to do my part of the performance. But on the Russian side of the river, Pavlo was at the very last minute informed that his part of the performance had to be canceled because of a «snowstorm». This must have been some very local snowstorm, because on the Norwegian side of the river, with Nikel in sight, we could not see it. But I went on as planned. Sending my symbolic recordings of a foghorn according to schedule. And we listened together in silence for the parts where we should have heard sounds in response from Pavlo on the other side of the river. And on the Russian side of the river, they were listening as well.
We had been planning this performance for months, but we never knew for sure if we would be able to hear each other across the river, the border, and vast distance - this was part of the performance. After the performance, I got a call from the other side of the river (or all the way in Nikel because no one is allowed near the river on the Russian side) and was told they had not only heard my sounds but had been screaming back as loud as they could in response as well.
We really wanted this project to symbolize communication and connections across borders. Instead, it became so much more. I’m proud to have been part of this.
Concept, composition and performance: Tine Surel Lange & Pavlo Grazhdanskij
Curated by: Neal Cahoon
Commissioned by: Pikene på Broen
Created for: Barents Spektakel 2022
Premiere February 28th 2022, Utnes, Norway / Nikel, Russia
Photo: Ingrid Fadnes
© 2022 Tine Surel Lange