Sound and cinema sculpture
Tallinas Street 10, Tallina’s Quartier, courtyard

Absence, a sound and cinema sculpture is being demonstrated at the STARO RĪGA festival by artist Voldemārs Johansons. It is a special, ice screen installation, combined with a composition specially created for this work, as a dedication to the fragile Arctic environment. The work was created over two years during two expeditions to the extreme environment and glacier world of the Arctic.
The cinematographic work documents the current Arctic landscape: the glacier surfaces and their disintegration, mountain ranges, the upper layer of the rugged land, the melting of the ice and the streams of water. It will allow visitors to the STARO RĪGA Festival to perceive the relationship between mankind and the untouched environment: to sense the majesty of the Arctic wind and landscape, stimulating reflections about civilization and survival in such extreme conditions.
The Svalbard Archipelago, which is the most distant northerly inhabited place in the world was chosen as the spot for the filming and sound recording of this work. Svalbard, translated directly means cold edge, which corresponds with how the place is described, as the inhospitable archipelago is covered by ice and snow. “The work was created over two years, through collaboration with Norwegian polar scientists, ice artist Peder Istad and Latvian video operators. In the first expedition together with operator Māris Maskalāns, we headed far away from civilization to document the Arctic environment. The visual material we obtained and the Arctic sound we collected created the foundation for the work. During the second expedition, we created a northern inspired sound, using both acoustic instruments, as well as electronics in collaboration with Norwegian saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, ” said Johansons.
The expedition was documented by Jānis Kešāns and Eva Johansone so that the creation process of the work could be graphically illustrated to viewers and to answer the question of “How is a work of art created?” The seven-minute video reveals two years of work, capturing the two expeditions and the collaboration with Norwegian saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. “The final result was a pleasant surprise, as the huge ice masses on which the Arctic scenes pulsated, accompanied by music, seemed to come to life, each telling their own glacier story”, as Eva Johansone shared her impressions.
This art thematically continues studies begun by artist Voldemārs Johansons in his previous works about contact between the physical world and people’s experience. A previous work in this series, Thirst, gained wide recognition from the public and art critics and was also nominated for the Purvītis Prize.
The work’s creation was supported by the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, the State Culture Capital Foundation, airBaltic and Gandrs. The film was produced at the VFS Films Studio.

Project concept authors: Voldemārs Johansons
Project implementation: Vizionārās kultūras fonds Foundation