AM Kanngieser

Transversal Geographies

audio works Tarawa Night Song Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw 2020

Exhibition notes:
"This audio recording was taken early one evening in Tarawa, the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, an archipelagic Pacific Island state comprised of 33 islands and holding one of the worlds largest oceanic exclusive economic zones. Kiribati lies on the frontline of sea level rise. With a height of at most 3 meters about sea level, Tarawa is frequently inundated by water. Salt water rushes into homes, hospitals, groundwater wells where drinking water can be drawn from, and into gardens killing vegetables.

There are many places of worship on Tarawa. The missionisation of the i-Kiribati began in the mid 1800’s with Christian and later Catholic missionaries coming to the islands, and in the 1900s British colonisers annexed the islands. Christianity dominates Kiribati with Catholicism as the largest practiced religion, Protestantism also makes up a large part of worship as well as Mormonism, Adventism and Baha’i. Through missionisation and colonialism the worship of Indigenous deities was banned.

Climate change was a key platform of the former president of Kiribati, Anote Tong. Some i-Kiribati, including prominent religious leaders, view the rising seas as an act of god. I-Kiribati people don’t want to be forced to leave their ancestral lands where they have lived for thousands of years. Older people I spoke to said they would stay, no matter what came".


Kanngieser A Tarawa Night Song.
Field recording
Surround, 8’54
Curated in The Penumbral Age: Art in the Time of Planetary Change. Museum of Modern
Art, Warsaw. 20 March-7 June 2020.