This past fall I was an artist in residence in Trondheim, Norway, at Lademoen kunstnerverksteder (LKV). As part of the residency artists had the opportunity to travel off the coast to a remote place. A lighthouse.
September 22 to September 30, 2015
Sula, this small harbour amidst a seascape of low rocky topography is my introduction to Norway. It is, for me, a solitary time sensing the distinction between interior and exterior.
Enclosed within the lighthouse-keeper’s house, I watch the weather, wandering room to room. Gulls ride the currents as a storm picks up. Clouds shifting. Distant lives inhabit these rooms, the creaking of the staircase leading up to two identical attic bedrooms (am I sleeping in the children’s room or that of the parents?). Wind baffling against the panes mirrors the constant rotation of the prism. I wonder of past keepers peering through the kitchen window at dusk, beams crossing the yard beaconing. Listening and watching.
Walking the island I try each narrow gravel road infringed with yarrow and red clover. Bridges lead to a landscape of salt marsh and boreal ground cover. Pink spotted granite nests in dense beds of sphagnum moss, contrasting with aged stones marked by crusty yellow and pale green lichens. A muskrat lops across my path and sensing my presence, slips into a nearby rock wall. Bird life is abundant. One hundred and thirty seven species I am told inhabit Sula or pass through, as myself. In the leeward side of the lighthouse the bow of a ship comes to mind as if moving away from any remnants of land. An expansion opens up and dissolves barriers, internal and external, land, sea and sky.
I am reading an English translation of the Norwegian authour Kjell Askilden’s short stories, ‘A Sudden Liberating Thought’. In ‘Surroundings’, a lighthouse keeper’s family is disturbed when a visitor comes to their fictional island. As I read, the characters inhabit Sula Fyr.
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