The Maelstrom Observatory
LIAF - Lofoten International Art Festival, 2013
An audience of maximum five people enters a small eighteenth-century shed on the island of Svinøya, part of the Lofoten archipelago in Northern Norway. They are ushered to sit on a wooden bench. The entire area of the floor in front of the bench is covered with a black fabric of a satin-like texture. The door is closed, leaving the inside of the shed completely dark. The pre-recorded sound of a man’s voice speaking in English with a thick Norwegian accent starts to play.
The text read in the audio is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’ (1841). Slowly the fabric begins to collect towards the centre of the room, and as it moves, the old planks and the gaps between them are revealed as the fabric is pulled in. The space is slowly filled with light from strong lamps installed underneath the shed. The narrator’s voice is heard throughout, concluding with a description of what the audience is to find upon resurfacing from the maelstrom: an apocalyptic scene of devastation, and animals emerging from the ocean to conquer the land.
Kunstkritikk: "Fremmedgjort i Lofoten", Line Ulekleiv - 18.09.13
"Pedro Gómez-Egaña has created a complelling work, simply a piece of magic. The Maesltrom Observatory is based on an 1841 short story by Edgar Allan Poe set in Lofoten, and told by a fisherman who has come up from the mythical Mosknes Maelstrom. While we sit in the dark room with light crackling through the old floor boards, the soundtrack unravels a story within a story. Perception fools us, and when we come out of this space something has changed –physically, but also at the edge of an estranged state..."
Frieze: "Postcard from the Arctic Circle", Katya García Anton - 14.10.13
B-Post: "Three Biennials", Natalie Hope O'Donell
artdaily.org: "8th Lofoten International Art Festival to explore the current global feeling of uneasiness"
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