Dark Ecology Journey 2016

Journey into the Arctic summer

8. - 12. June 2016
North of Norway, North West Russia

The third edition of the art, research and commissioning project Dark Ecology travels through the border zone between Norway and Russia, with events in the Pasvik Valley and Kirkenes (NO) as well as in the surroundings of Nikel (RU). Over the course of five days, a group of more than 50 artists, researchers, curators, writers and organisers, travel from Northern Norway to North West Russia.

Photo by Eve Dullaart

While the previous Journey took place in the dark winter season, the third one takes place during the Arctic summer, with sunlight for most of the day and night. The third and final Dark Ecology Journey gathers together more than 50 artists, researchers, curators, writers and organisers. The programme includes lectures, discussions, walks and performances as well as the presentation of new commissioned works.


The journey

On Monday the 8th of June, all journey participants arrive in Kirkenes, and a Publication Party celebrating 'Living Earth - Field Notes from the Dark Ecology Project’ will kick off the journey at NIBIO Svanhovd.

On Thursday the 9th of June the journey starts with a lecture by Heather Davis on plastic geologies, followed by a programme of curated walks which explore different aspects of the Pasvik Valley: the pollution, the river, the brown bears, the archaeology, and the insect life. In the evening ::vtol:: presents his new installation Лесофон / Lesophon.

Friday the 10th of June begins with a lecture by Timothy Morton, who will explain ‘dark ecology’. After this we cross the border to Russia and travel to Nikel. In the evening we experience Signe Lidén & Espen Sommer Eide’s new soundwalk Altitude & History, set in the hills above Nikel and based on the residency Nikel Sound History Club they did last year. Jana Winderen’s Pasvikdalen is on show until Sunday.

On Saturday the 11th of June we will travel to the ruins of the Kola Superdeep Borehole, the setting for Justin Bennett's soundwalk Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi: Wolf Lake on the Mountains. From there we go back to Nikel.

On Sunday the 12th of June we travel back to Kirkenes and to the site of Cecilia Jonsson’s new work Prospecting: A Geological Survey of Greys, the journey is accompanied by a new composition by Peter Meanwell. In the evening there is the performative lecture Echolocation (Session) by Nickel van Duijvenboden, and the improvised performance Mikro by HC Gilje and Justin Bennett.

View the full programme at the Dark Ecology website.


Dark Ecology Teaser 2016 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.


Looking back: Dark Ecology 2016




Book: Living Earth - Field Notes from the Dark Ecology Project 2014 - 2016

Living Earth is a new book filled with ideas, conversations, lectures, and documentation relating to commissioned installations, soundwalks, concerts and performances made for and during the Dark Ecology project.

This three-year project, a collaboration between Sonic Acts and the Norwegian curator Hilde Methi, was held from 2014 to 2016 in different places in Norway and Russia and included three curated ‘Journeys’. Living Earth is a recreation of these research trips to the Barents Region, from Kirkenes and Svanvik in Norway to Nikel, Zapolyarny and Murmansk in Russia.

The project was inspired by Timothy Morton’s concept of ‘dark ecology’ and his philosophy of ‘ecology without Nature’. Morton offers a radical criticism of the modernist way of thinking about nature as something outside of us, and instead proposes an interconnected ‘mesh’ of all living and non-living objects. He ruminates on this idea in his essay for Living Earth entitled ‘What Is Dark Ecology’, stating at the outset that ecological awareness is ‘weird weirdness’. Order at Sonic Acts store >

"Dark ecology is about how we get to exit from toxic modernity. It’s been very moving for me to watch the Sonic Acts artists working with a concept I’ve been shaping for a while. They have explored the Arctic realm with the greatest aesthetic skill, a skill that by no means excludes the political." – Timothy Morton



Dark Ecology Journey 2016

Diary by by Arie Altena

Some initial impressions of the third Dark Ecology Journey, mostly written on the spot by Arie Altena, one of the curators of the project. The text is quite rough and at times personal, more diary-style than factual reporting.

Wednesday 8 June: I’m looking forward to the third Dark Ecology journey, especially because we’ll stay at the Svanhovd conference centre in Svanvik in the middle of Pasvik Valley. And I’m particularly keen about walking in the hills around Nikel, and visiting the ruins of the Kola Superdeep, which I’ve written about, but never seen with my own eyes. Continue reading on the Dark Ecology website >

The theme of the Q&A is very much ‘how to live together’, humans and non-humans. And maybe that’s the direction we should head towards with our Dark Ecology project.


Dark Ecology: Shifting Borders

Researchers’ Blog at Arctic Encounters by Roger Norum

Yesterday afternoon, the Dark Ecology journeyers split into six groups to take part in a series of small curated walks . One group ventured to 96 Heights, an old lookout tower for border guards, and focused on environmental pollution; another explored the ecology of the region’s insects. I was part of a group of eight who took a walk into the Pasvik valley along the Norwegian-Russian-Finnish border to the settlement of Vaggatem. In the woods, we walked around several twelfth-century Sami sites recently excavated by archeologists from Tromsø – three communal hearths formed the majority of what was excavated – then ventured further into the forest to view the remains of a WWII German POW camp. Continue reading on the Arctic Encounters website >



Dark Ecology 2016, All photos.



Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi: Wolf Lake on the Mountains

A commissioned sound walk by Justin Bennett

At the site of the Kola Superdeep Borehole, situated next to the lake, listeners are introduced to Viktor, a geologist who worked on the Kola Superdeep project until it was shut down in 2008. He shows them around the ruined site, his living quarters, his small laboratory, and the borehole itself which is one of the deepest holes ever drilled and penetrates the earth's crusts to a depth of 12 kilometers. Read more and download the audiofile and a map on Dark Ecology website >



Prospecting: A Geological Survey of Greys

A commissioned work by Cecilia Jonsson

The work is accompanied by a new sound piece (podcast) by Peter Meanwell which features the artist and Øystein Nordgulen, a geologist from the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) in conversation – about Jonsson's engagement with the landscape around Kirkenes, geological formations beneath our feet, and the physical processes of creating the installation. The installation will remain on site in Langøra, Kirkenes until 25 September. Read more on the installation on Dark Ecology website >




Dark Ecology Video Diary: Day 1 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.


Dark Ecology Video Diary: Day 2 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.



Dark Ecology Video Diary: Day 3 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.



Dark Ecology Video Diary: Day 4 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.



Dark Ecology 2016 from Sonic Acts on Vimeo.



Altitude and History from Espen Sommer Eide on Vimeo.




Dark Ecology logo




From the Book

  • Dark Ecological Chocolate

    Timothy Morton

    Dark Ecological Chocolate

    Dark ecology starts off dark as in depressing. Then it becomes dark as in mysterious. Then it ends dark as in sweet dark chocolate. In this lecture I'm going to provide an experiential map of dark...

  • Nikel — The City as a Material

    An interview with Tatjana Gorbachewskaja

    Nikel — The City as a Material

    Tatjana Gorbachewskaja is an architect who grew up in the Russian town Nikel, located in the far North near the Russian border with Norway. For Dark Ecology Project she researched the materials of...

  • What Is Dark Ecology?

    Timothy Morton

    What Is Dark Ecology?

    In this essay, which draws on his book Dark Ecology, For a Logic of Coexistence, Timothy Morton — who originally coined the term dark ecology — explains what dark ecology is. He also argues how...

All episodes

Search Changing Weathers Episodes by keyword