For the last ten days we’ve been listening and learning from the eider ducks who have been aoooing their sweethearts day and night. Selvær is a tiny windswept island in the Træna archipelago, right at the polar circle on the northwest coast of Norway.
Invited here by Eva Bakkeslett we joined her ongoing collaboration Ahoo Ahoo – The Conference of the Birds, which is an interdisciplinary art project exploring the unique relationship and codependency that has formed through centuries between humans and birds.
Eyes as Big as Plates, in collaboration with biologist and multi-ologist Thomas Holm Carlsen and Eva, have been knee-high in eiderdown, waist-deep in seaweed, rolling on white sandy beaches, and most of the islands’ basements, attics and kitchens.
Knut’s around-the-clock, on-call boat taxi facilitated our zipping between the idyllic seaside cottage and the main high street where most of the 45 residents of Selvær live. Not only did we take over Knut’s boat, but his living room also turned into a delightful internet cafe. The Selvær spirit is lit; here one little lunch cracker is repaid with two kilos of scrumptious halibut cheeks and homemade boat-sized cake appear like eiders in the spring.
Grand hurray (or as they say on the island: Storhurra!) to Gerd, Eivind, Thomas, Jann and Oddbjørg for their stellar performances in front and behind the camera, and a bow of gratitude to everybody that helped us on the island: Marte, Magne, guillemots, Mary, Heidi, snipes, jellyfish, Odd Jostein, scallops, Håkon, Ole, Merete, Jakob the Seagull, Janne, Marlieke & co, ferry captain and crew, doctor Lawrence for taking care of Karoline’s ear, Oddrun, eiders, skuas, snipes, bladderwrack, mussels, tufties, the rocks and lichens, the polar circle and the gulf stream.
We’ll be back!