mfa jUNE 2023
ARTIST STATEMENT LAURIE VESTØL, JUNE 2023
Islander and artist Laurie Vestøl works with marine life and hybrids in the Skagerrak. Photography, video, audio, dance, literature and architecture open the senses to the totality of the underwater world we share with different species. Kelp forests are disappearing, seabird populations are declining, and jellyfish swarms are increasing. A dystopian saga blooms. Change is happening in the archipelago and inside of the artist. Looking inside for answers and engaging with nature starts a dialogue - who are we becoming?
underpulse is a dystopian saga confronting environmental ocean degradation and the sixth Great Dying via characters from Norse Saga reborn in symbiotic form. A series of hybrids evoke a shared energy state that link people to marine creatures, spirits, and potentials…nomads traveling the sea.
underpulse: fjord saga follows the nomadic journey of the Lion’s mane jellyfish in the Telemark archipelago. Marine artist Laurie Vestøl has been swimming under, kayaking alongside and encountering the sea creatures as they float by. The world’s largest gelatinous zooplankton, their poisonous tentacles paralyze their prey. Spaces underwater are poetic and filled with quiet revelations of sealife, a pulsing silent rhythm of life that moves with the flow of the currents. Is the rhythm a waltz or a hearthbeat? A slow breath?
underpulse: lion’s mane tests out the tension and release of the jellyfish. My “worms eye view” and the gaze of the camera connects me to the feeling of breath as it ripples through Sandvold’s body. The dancer’s description of needing to take a step back to move forwards and the feeling of her hair in the wind became a part of the interpretation.