Elina Waage Mikalsen – Jaskes šukŋa / Undersang

Programming 26.2-31.5.2023

Jaskes šukŋa /Undersang, 47 min, 2021

When I was trying to come up with a title for this work, I came to think of the book Underland by Robert Macfarlane. The word undersong is only mentioned once. He is sitting below ground level in what used to be a holy place or a  temple.


He writes:


«…I rest companionably in the cool, listening to the landscapes undersong: clack of the train track, road-hum below it, buzz-saw of grasshoppers from the scrub»


I used to get scared of the stories my aunts and uncles would tell us around the fire, at home in the valley. The gnomes were there, right behind our backs, and could pretend to be one of us at any time. The breath was drawn down into the lungs, and pushed out through the larynx, becoming tones…melody. The oral cavity transformed the sounds into meaning, words. They came out, floating around in the air. The sound waves entered my ear, reaching the tiny hairs of the inner ear which began swaying in the liquid so I could read the information, and understand it.


Undersang/Jaske’s shukŋa was originally created as a sound installation binding together fragments of my family history, weaving them together with mythologies from the underworld. The sound work is a collaboration with my aunt, the author Gerd Mikalsen, whose own voice tells her own stories.

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