AM Kanngieser

Transversal Geographies

audio works Crenulations: Pacific drift Struer Tracks Biennale 2023

Exhibition text:
Crenulations — Pacific Drift is an immersive audio work featuring voices and field recordings from the Pacific region. It's an invitation to listen, connect with each other and understand our embeddedness in the world.

'Crenulations' describes the scalloped patterns found on calcium shells, shaped by water, sand, and the intricate housing of marine life. It's also a term that refers to the patterns in intertidal zones where the Pacific oyster thrives, both in its home region and in Denmark.

The installation is uniquely designed for Molehuset in Struer, overlooking the waters of the Limfjorden. It features arrangements of Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas, formerly Crassostrea gigas) intermingled with Limfjord oysters (Ostrea edulis), in midden formations. Shell middens, commonly found in Denmark and throughout the Pacific, signify the important role of bivalves in subsistence practices.

Apart from its historical significance in aquaculture, the Pacific oyster represents an intersection of narratives. While Danish colonial powers never reached the Pacific, the region gained geopolitical interest during the 20th century. Pacific oysters were introduced into Dutch oyster farming in the 1960s, flourishing and eventually surpassing European stocks. Over the decades, they became entangled in stories of invasion and pestilence, despite their minimal impact on the Limfjorden ecosystem.

The midden formation holds the soundscape, inviting reflection on the slow practices and processes of movement and connection across the seas. It delves into how resources become woven into myths and how these myths reflect anxieties of dispossession in European contexts. Shell middens contain archaeological significance, offering insights into long-term environmental changes.

Through Crenulations — Pacific Drift, we reflect on the interplay between European-induced ecosystemic changes over centuries and the intergenerational cycles of knowledge and response created by Pacific communities.

Kanngieser A, Nailatikau M and Reade E 2023 Crenulations: Pacific drift.
7 channel surround sound, ongoing (MaxMsp).
Field recordings, voice.
Pacific and Limfjorden oysters shells. Custom built moving seating (Bang and Olufsen).
Recordings: AM Kanngieser and Mere Nailatikau.
Testimonies: Unaisi Nabobo-Baba (Fiji), Teweiariki Teaero (Kiribati), Simione Sevundredre (Fiji), Lydia Jacob (Papua New Guinea), Phillip Takom (Papua New Guinea).
Mixing: Robbie Wing.
Struer Tracks Biennale, 23-27 August [Online]