Mare Balticum. An Artistic Exploration of the Underwater Soundscape of the Baltic Sea 09/09/2016 – 30/10/2016

Kumu Art Museum
Adult: Kumu Art Museum
  • Family: Kumu Art Museum
  • Discount: Kumu Art Museum
  • Adult ticket with donation: Art Museum of Estonia
Detail teosest. © Åsa Stjerna

Mare Balticum. An Artistic Exploration of the Underwater Soundscape of the Baltic Sea

Asukoht: Kumu courtyard, pedestrian tunnel

Mare Balticum is an artistic exploration of the underwater soundscape of the Baltic Sea. The sound installation is based on a selection of sounds recorded during a scientific investigation conducted in 2014 and 2015 by BIAS: Baltic Sea Information on the Acoustic Soundscape. Collected from thirty-eight hydrophones, these recordings were made at exactly the same moment every hour, each day, for a year; this sonic map of the Baltic enables scientists to measure the effects of human-induced sound in the ocean.

In Mare Balticum, fragments of this comprehensive material have been combined in order to create one continuous, synchronized portrait of the Baltic Sea as perceived from multiple locations at a number of specific yet contiguous moments. Stretching from the Bothnian Sea in the north to the Öresund in the south, and from the sea’s eastern reaches on the Estonian coast to its westernmost edge in the Danish archipelago, the work progresses temporally as well as spatially. In the installation, marine life, the forces of nature, and the constant presence of the sounds of human activity – the barely perceptible and that which drowns and silences – converge. In this way, the constantly changing place we refer to as “the Baltic” is made perceivable, allowing a sonic politics to be discerned.

In the sound installation, each loudspeaker represents a specific place in the Baltic where sound recordings were made. Distinct places bleed into one another in the sound installation, sometimes acting as solitary voices and sometimes as ensembles. Together, they constitute a geographic choreography that invites the visitor to move from place to place.

Mare Balticum is part of the scientific EU LIFE+ project Baltic Sea Information on the Acoustic Soundscape (BIAS).

Curator: Torun Ekstrand
Scientific coordinator BIAS: Peter Sigray
Technical concept: Manfred Fox
Software programming: Andre Bartetzki


Åsa Stjerna is a Swedish sound artist who uses sound and listening as artistic media in the exploration of public space. Through her site-specific sound installations, she explores the often hidden underlying historical, social and political structures connected to a place, making these perceivable. Stjerna has participated in a number of exhibitions in Sweden and internationally. Her recent works and exhibitions include a permanent sound installation commissioned by the Art Council Region Västra Götaland (fall 2016); a permanent sound installation at the Swedish Institute in Paris commissioned by the Swedish Art Agency (2014); the Transmediale Media Festival, Berlin (2013); Nordic Music Days, Stockholm (2012); the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, Oslo (2011); and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2009). Åsa Stjerna was the artist in residence on the icebreaker Oden, Oden Arctic Technology Research Cruise 2013, as part of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat’s Artist Program.

Torun Ekstrand is an independent curator, lecturer and art consultant for public art commissions and city development. He is the initiator and project leader for the four-year-long project Art Line, a platform for exchange for 14 art institutions and academies in the Baltic Sea area. He was also the pilot study leader for Think Tank Trans-Baltic, an interdisciplinary collaboration around the seascapes of the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast. Art Line and Think Tank Trans-Baltic were named flagship-projects by the European Commission. Torun Ekstrand was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for promoting Polish art in Scandinavia. The latest exhibitions during 2016, Songlines for a New Atlas and Make a Change, include the artists Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Bita Razavi, Karel Koplimets, Bani Abidi, Dzamil Kamanger / Kalle Hamm, Meira Ahmemulic, Malene Mathiasson, Hrair Sarkissian, Reena Kallat-Saini, Serhed Waledkhani, Nisrine Boukhari, Henrik Lund-Jörgensen, Jon Brunberg, Sepa Sama and Knutte Wester.