Chorus sinensis, for cormorants and people

Chorus sinensis is an audiovisual artwork combining a composition for a choir with videos and photos of the curious co-living and relations of Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis) and people at Bothnian Sea coastal area, at their common territory.

Marjakari, Bothnian Sea is one of the most important Great Cormorant colonies of the area. Photo by Jan Eerala, June 2020.

The project, ideated and curated by Ulla Taipale, combines musical piece for a choir composed by experimental sound artist and composer Lau Nau with audiovisual recordings and photographs by Finnish photographer and artist Jan Eerala. Eerala has dedicated his life since years in documenting the phenomena and landscapes of the Bothnian Sea in photographs, videos and sound recordings. The work group is complemented by Finnish literary scholar Karoliina Lummaa, specialized in bird literature, Aleksi Lehikoinen, bird researcher and curator at Finnish Museum of Natural History (Luomus) and artist Merja Markkula who will create the costumes for the performing choir.

Great Cormorant is a sea bird species that lives and nests in the coastal islands of Finland and other European countries. In Finland it is a protected bird species that due to its living habits, provokes fierce debate and hate among human populations living in the coastal aereas of Baltic Sea. It lived in the area until the beginning of the 20th century, but was persecuted and though left the area. The return of the cormorant colonies in Finnish sea shores happened almost one hundred years after, in 1996 and the growth of the population was exponential until 2019, when their number has established and is now around 26 000 cormorants.

Chorus sinensis examines the blurring of the territories of the sea birds and people, the claim for the reduction of the diversity and the societal discussion leading towards the discrimination of the species. The working method is observant and avoids disturbing or intervening in the life of the Cormorants and other life forms as little as possible.

The finalized work will be exhibited in different formats: as an installation in the exhibition space, online, or as a live concert.

Karoliina Lummaa, Ulla Taipale and Lau Nau at Ouraluoto island, at the territory of sea birds in Bothnian Sea. July 2020, Photo by Jan Eerala.

The project started in spring 2020 as a part of Scandinavian joint project The Conference of the Birds, led by Norwegian artist and curator Eva Bakkeslett and will be exhibited at Pori Art Museum in March 2022 as a part of Overview Effect exhibition.

Chorus sinensis is being supported by Nordic Culture Point, Nordic Culture Fund, Satakunta Art Council and Finnish Art Council, Samuel Huber Foundation as well as Pori Art Museum.

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