image: Amos Gebhardt

Solveig

Inspired by Antarctica, the enigmatic continent that is one of the clearest indicators of the environmental emergency, Solveig is an ambitious collaboration between artistic and scientific communities.  

Solveig is an ecosystem. Everyone who engages impacts its ecology.

In Antarctica, penguins cluster for warmth, performing intricate choreography allowing them to share resources and survive in an extreme climate. The penguins’ social design patterns create a blueprint for Solveig.

Three musicians play in Solveig. Every sound they make is collected in a system of infinite sustain, dispersed via elegant sound design. Large tracts of their materials are improvised, textural, spare. From time to time, their sounds converge into fleeting, austere melodies, then unravel back into undulating patterns.

Slowly shifting visual pulsations are projected onto a canopy of holographic gauze. Haunting colour spectrums move slowly across the canopy, almost coalescing into occasional images, before dispersing once more into light.

The brain system driving Solveig — computerised and invisible to audiences — assimilates acoustic and manipulated sound, light, image and scientific and phenomenological information collected from a 12-month cycle on Antarctica.

Solveig illuminates the interconnectedness of all things, and the cumulative effects of apparently small actions. Solveig aims to increase empathy with our ecosystem by creating an experience that draws people into a personal connection with Antarctica. It highlights our collective complicity in this fragile wilderness’ endangerment, and ways we can change the trajectory of a warming world.

Solveig expands and contracts in different contexts, like the continent that inspires it. It can be experienced in live, installation and digital forms.

Solveig is a work whose conception and creation began before COVID-19, and continues through this period of confinement. The creative team have roots in multiple countries: Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark,  UK. We’re working in collaboration with a community of scientists, via the Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future network, who are based on all continents. Solveig reaches far, in concept and reality.

Solveig is produced by Martel Ollerenshaw under the banner of Arts & Parts Ltd (UK). 

It’s created by

Genevieve Lacey (Australia)
Amos Gebhardt (Australia)
Paul Grabowsky (Australia)
Daniel Herskedal (Norway)
Max de Wardener (UK)
Jim Atkins (Australia)
in collaboration with Steven Chown, Professor of Biological Sciences and President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (Australia).

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Sketch 1

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Sketch 2

Steven Chown