Mare Balticum
Åsa Stjerna
12-channel site-specific sound installation
Mare Balticum is an artistic exploration of the underwater soundscape of the Baltic Sea. The installation is based on a selection of sounds recorded during a scientific investigation conducted in 2014. Collected from thirty eight hydrophones, these recordings were made at exactly the same time every hour, each day, for the whole year; this sonic map of the Baltic enables scientists to measure the effects of human-induced sound in the ocean.

In Mare Balticum, fragments of this comprehensive material have been merged in order to create one continuous, synchronized portrait of the Baltic Sea, as perceived from multiple locations at a number of specific yet contiguous moments. Spanning from the Bothnian Sea in the north to Öresund in the south, and from the Sea’s eastern reaches on the Estonian coast to its westernmost extents in the Danish archipelago, the work progresses temporally as well as spatially. In the installation, marine life, the forces of nature, and the constant presence of the sounds of human activity—the barely perceptible and that which drowns and silences—converge. In this way, the constantly changing place we refer to as “the Baltic” is made perceivable, allowing a sonic politics to be discerned.

Installed in the one-hundred-meter-long tunnel at Furillen, each loudspeaker in Mare Balticum stands in for a specific place in the Baltic where sound recordings were made.
Distinct places bleed into one another in the sound installation, sometimes acting as solitary voices and sometimes as ensembles. Together, they constitute a geographic choreography that invites the visitor to move from place to place.

Scientific coordinator: Peter Sigray, EU/Life+ project BIAS: Baltic Sea Information on the Acoustic Soundscape
Technical concept: Manfred Fox
Software programming: Andre Bartetzki
Assistent: Shida Shahabi

Åsa Stjerna is a Swedish sound artist, who uses sound and listening as artistic media in the exploration of public space. Through her site-specific sound installations, she explores the often hidden underlying historic, social, and political structures connected to a place, making these perceivable. Stjerna has participated in a number of exhibitions in Sweden and internationally. Her recent works and exhibitions include a permanent sound installation at the Swedish Institute in Paris commissioned by the Swedish Art Agency (2014); the Transmediale Media Festival, Berlin (2013); Nordic Music Days, Stockholm (2012); the Ultima Contemporary Music festival, Oslo (2011); and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2009).