Outline for The Bonding

2017 – 2019
16mm film, 5:20 min
stereo sound

“The focus on reason has shrouded the wild in ourselves,
pushed it down into the darkness under the skin,
but under the skin is where the processes that maintain life
take place. ” 

Outline for a 16mm film installation that will present the documentation of a 2,5-year bonding with a farmed salmon, in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research, in Norway.

The Bonding is the central part of the ongoing project Transpose, which explores cross-hemispherical relations, with regard to different tensions: the insertion, aquaculture and impact of salmon; the anthropocentric management and manipulation of living marine resources, and the coexistence and disappearance of ancestral knowledge, from origin to destination in the contemporary context.

This is a 16mm film documentation of a working process with fishermen and scientists of the University of Bergen (UiB), in which the aim was to research the history of salmon aquaculture and current technologies, as well as to understand ethical and political contexts. One of the tasks was the extraction of otoliths pairs from farmed salmons; unique crystals or bio-minerals that serve as a chemical diary of a fish. This seeded a reflection on how the microscopic crystals of the film material arrange themselves under a photochemical process.

This outline aims to translate the techno-antiseptic Cartesian environment constructed for a captive salmon through a grainy, imperfect 16mm film aesthetic. It is accompanied by an extract from a conversation with Sámi artist Ánde Somby in Tromsø, 2019.

On the occasion of Videonale.18 Fluid States Solid Matter (2021), Outline for The Bonding was projected in 16mm as an extended installation, together with an element of the ongoing project The Bonding: a live-streaming of 23 Salmo-salar swimming in a tank at the Institute of Marine Research in Matre, Norway.

The Bonding is being produced thanks to the support from KORO – Public Art Norway

Concept: Michelle-Marie Letelier
Director of Photography: Carlos Vasquez
Production and Editing: Carlos Vasquez & Michelle-Marie Letelier
Post-production: Muscle Temple Lab

Videonale.18 photo credits: David Ertl

  • Screened at: WE ARE OCEAN Video Programme in Futurium and State Studio, Berlin (2019); Kunst.TV – Screen City Biennial, Stavanger (2019); INTERFACE, Osaka (2019); WE ARE OCEAN Video Programme in Plage du Prophète, Marseille (2020); Kunst.TV online programme (2020-2021)
  • Exhibited at VIDEONALE.18  – FLUID STATES SOLID MATTER, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2021)


Trailer Outline for The Bonding, 00:48 mins


* Solveig Bøe, Wild Living Life, The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole, 2017

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