Surrounded by the Chuckchi Sea, near the northern tip of Alaska, is Sarichef Island. This small strip of land has gained worldwide attention as being one of the most dramatic examples of the effects of global climate change, as it is literally disappearing into the sea due to accelerated melting of the protective sea ice and permafrost, exposing it to advanced weather erosion. In 2002, the Iñupiat community of Sarichef island voted to relocate to the mainland of Alaska, after considerable engineering efforts to slow the erosion had little impact.
While news reports have focussed on the dramatic imagery of homes falling into the ocean and portraits of residents, THE ISLAND (a 2-channel mix based upon my gallery installation PERIMETER:SARICHEF) looks outward to the sea itself and the eroding definitions between ground, ocean and horizon.
Assembled from high resolution audio recordings made at twenty-four equidistant locations around the island, the resulting composition walks the listener once around the island’s perimeter to hear the ocean above ground, followed by a second walk around the perimeter to hear the soundscape below the waterline. In the final section we listen to the vacuum of moisture deep under the sand, a chilling reminder of the rapidly dissolving island.
“contender for one of the albums of the year” – Daniel Crokaert | Unfathomless
“Fantastic, moving work…reminiscent of Watson’s sonic eco-narratives” – Jesse Goin | Crow with no Mouth