Pushing Upward Earth

(Presentation in the barn in Agerupgård, Samsø. A group of 8 people wearing wireless headphones. Sound, voice, shells, screen.)

“This sharing is two things: A research in the power of sound to change the experience of the listeners surrounding environment, and a sonic exploration of the area around Agerup, Tranebjerg, Besser and Filipsdal on the island of Samsø between feb 16th-28th 2021.”

“What you see here on the table are some shells I found on the beach the first day I was here. As you see they are moving silently because of the wind from the fan heater. The contact microphones amplifies the sounds from their movements, which is what you can hear in your headphones.”

“The other sound source comes from the video footage from a surveillance camera which is hanging in an old chicken cage down in another barn in Filipsdal. They are produced by the camera, which automatically follows the smallest movements in the surroundings, if fx a plant moves in the wind or an animal passes by. “

“One of the things I like about listening to these two sources is the reinforcement of small details that the technology provides. Through experiencing these small details, I experience that I get a deeper understanding/connection to/of the place, and i am trying to figure out if it changes the way I experience my surroundings afterwards aswell. This phenomenon of “enhanced senses” is also described in this catalog  from 1983 of the artists Elsa Stansfield and Madelon Hoykaas’s work. In the introduction it says:”

By making use of video, photography and film in combination with organic materials and objects, they have succeeded in combining different levels of reality in their work. Image and presentation of image are in continual dialogue with each other and demonstrate clearly that what we perceive as our physical reality is in fact no more than the cognitive construct that we make of it.

“One of the backgrounds of this project is an archive of old stories from Samsø, which I came across in connection with the preparations for this residency. The archive is a collection of stories that in one way or another have been more or less sensational in the time it was written down. In several of the stories there are supernatural elements, such as ghosts, trolls and mermaids. It is not fairy tale, but rather everyday notes on an equal footing, with a description of a conflict that has been between a blacksmith and a priest, or e.g. the murder story that takes place here at Agerupgård. I will now read some sections from this archive:”

Old legends and strange events from the island of Samsø.
Copy of an old, gray booklet of 34 pages (13×18) with Gothic letters.
Word order, word choice and general spelling are retained.

(In the present collection of old legends and strange incidents which have taken place on Samsø, these legends and incidents would occur between each other without any chronological order. The publisher has started the publication, although she has only collected a small amount of material for this. , but she hopes that quite a few samsings by reading the beginning might want to make the collection as complete as possible and thereby preserve from oblivion many a legend and a strange events from their birth island.)

Skodshøj Troll

On the east side of Nordby Hede in the so-called Skodshøj lives a mountain troll. It is his fault that no cattle at night will remain on the mound but always at the setting of the sun enters the heath (Thiele’s Folktale)

Master Mads of Tranebjerg

In the last century, there was a priest in Tranebjerg, who was called Master Mads by the residents, and who knew a lot more than to preach. In particular, he was adept at summoning ghosts, and the Devil himself sometimes had to obey him. A girl, who was serving in a farm in Permelille, had committed the horrible iniquity that she had thrown her own child in a blazing oven; therefore she had no rest in the grave, but went every night again to the yard where she had committed the crime. The people in the yard, who due to this haunting never had any peace, turned in their distress to Master Mads in Tranebjerg and asked him to free them from the haunting. Master Mads was immediately willing to do this and for that reason went one night to Koldby Cemetery to catch the ghost the moment it rose from the grave, which generally happens at 12 at night. Master Mads, however, came a little too late, so when he came to Koldby and wanted to go up to the cemetery, he met ghosts at the bell grave between the school and the cemetery wall. Now Master Mads could get no power over it for this time, and even had the annoyance that ghosts shouted at him that he had come too late. “I will see you another time,” replied Master Mads, and the next evening he took better care of himself, so that he stood ready at the grave when the ghost rose from it. When Master Mads now began to maneuver, the ghost reproached him that he had once as a boy stolen a loaf of wheat bread; but Master Mads hurried to throw two shillings into the grave, answering that with that the bread must have been paid for. When the ghost now knew nothing more to say to Master Mads, he began to make purchases and ask if it could not be released if it could go to Issehoved and back again while he was standing by the grave. But Master Mads continued to exhort without compromising the ghost, who also eventually had to go down to the grave, and from that time no more unrest was felt at night in the courtyard of Permelille. 

(Reported by P.).

“A while ago I attended a ghost hunt with Lars and Peter, two danish ghost hunters. We were searching for several hours in a old mental hospital in Aarhus. No luck that night. What characterizes the ghost hunting culture that Lars and Peter represent is that they make extensive use of different technologies to get in touch with ghosts. As fx searching through radiofrequencies, listening for EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), which supposedly is a spirit contacting the listener. Another common tool to make contact is infrared video cameras, like the surveillance camera down in Filipsdal.”

“The fusion of technology and the supernatural beliefs is very rare in todays Denmark. This was more common in the beginning of the 18th hundreds, back when Master Mads was around. Another example is the world known danish scientist H.C. Ørsted renowned for the discovery of electromagnetism. In his young days he supposedly experimented with so called Chladni plates, a technology invented by another scientist Earnst Chladni, which is used to create patterns in sand, and which Ørsted believed (quote on quote) allowed the deep reason in nature to talk to us …”

“Sound can be a key to let the listener experience things in a space that can’t be seen. Feelings, particles, spirits. I am curious to experiment with this phenomenon to see if these experiences can be lasting or how/why they fade at some point. “

“Now we’ll meet upstairs in 5 minute. Please take a little walk around and bring two items that you find on your way. We will use it for a rounding guided meditation.”

You have brought two items for the exercise.
Take one in each hand.
Close your eyes.
Feel the items in your hand.
Let them slide in and out of the spaces between your fingers.
Imagine the items grow in your hand.
Imagine that they are slowly growing and growing.
Now they have grown to double size.
They keep growing.
Quietly, they get bigger and bigger.
Then imagine your hands slowly growing.
First, they grow to double size,
They keep growing. They grow and grow.
You can move the items up in the air so that they hang under the roof. You can move them through the roof and much higher up so that they become tiny dots in the sky.
Now you let go of one and soon after the other and you let them fall.
they fall through the air at a higher and higher speed.
they get hotter and hotter in the friction of the air and starts to burn.
Two burning items with an enourmes speed falls through the air and lands in a little lake nearby with a giant splash.
Smoke and steam rise from the lake. It sizzles and bubbles as they gradually cool.