The Bone

2019
virtual reality, 15min approx
stereo sound

The Bone is an interactive VR experience inside the skull of a wild salmon, where certain elements and narrations are to be discovered. These narrations address ethical and ecological issues related to salmon farming, domestication and coexistence with this species, from a non-anthropocentric, eco-philosophical and indigenous perspective.

Located inside an intermediate world–between deep sea and universe; between present, future or past; between reality, dream or utopia–this skull is a sculptural/architectural construction. The experiencer discovers two otoliths that grow interactively, revealing details about this salmon’s life in the past, as well as reflections towards its cousins: the captive salmons. These reflections are presented as a voice-over from the wild salmon’s perspective; the owner of the skull, in a way of the salmon’s poetic flow of consciousness. The real and virtual space is welcomed by a Yoik sung by Sámi artist Ánde Somby, providing a unique echo and spatiality to this VR, which is physically installed inside an old fishing boat. The materiality of the real old wood sensually echoes the virtual skull, inviting the experiencers to a journey that departs from their position as fisher species, towards the poiesis of the fish’ life.

This artwork has been commissioned by Screen City Biennial, co-produced by Interactive Media Foundation, co-created with Artificial Rome.

Concept: Michelle-Marie Letelier
Production: Interactive Media Foundation in cooperation with Artificial Rome
Executive producers: Diana Schniedermeier and Daniela Arriado
Creative directors: Ina Krüger, Dirk Hoffmann
Script: Michelle-Marie Letelier & Martin Lee-Mueller
Salmon’s character voice: Martin Lee-Mueller
Yoik singer: Ánde Somby
Sound design: Christian Barth
Skull: UiB – University of Bergen Natural History Museum
Scanning: Fredrik M. Salhus, Bergen Academy of Art and Design, UiB; courtesy of Lars Ove Toft, BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts
Scientific advice: Professors Anne Karin Hufthammer, Arild Folkvord, Karin Limburg, Karin Pittman & Johnny Magnussen
Research advice: Prof. Harald Gaski, Ánde Somby, Sápmi Center for Contemporary Art, Karolin Tampere and Daniela Arriado

  • Exhibited at Fiskepiren Ferry Terminal in the frame of Screen City Biennial 2019, Stavanger, Norway
  • Martin Lee-Mueller on The Bone, 2019 – view PDF (Eng.)
  • Screen City Biennial – The Bone, article published by Taz Newspaper, Oct. 2019
  • Screen City Biennial – The Bone, article published by Byas Newspaper, Oct. 2019
  • Interactive Media Foundation on The Bone, interview published by Artsmania, Sept. 2019
  • Screen City Biennial, announcement published by e-flux, May 2019
  • Screen City Biennial 2019 – Ecologies-Lost, Found and Continued
    Editors: Vanina Saracino, Daniela Arriado & Tanya Toft Ag
    English, Softcover, 173pp, ISBN: 978-82-691000-2-0
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