DAN SHIPSIDES - Fugla
Fugla is the Faroese word for bird. The Oyster Catcher bird is the national emblem of the Faroe Islands. The original national flag of the Faroe Islands featured an oyster catcher bird on a green background, later it was replaced with the more modern red over blue cross on a white banner.
Filmed at a site on the mountain high above Leirvik, one of the country’s main villages (pop 150), the video presents a dizzying representation of the Faroese landscape. It records an encounter between the artist and through his intrusion into the birds’ colony, the oyster catcher bird. The consequent footage features the song, swooping, circling and violent plunges of the bird towards the cameraman. The edited video consists of a number of long continuous shots documenting the oyster catcher’s actions in relation to the artist set against the background of mountain and fiord.
The Faroe Islands have recently democraticaly received a self rule - nationalist party into its’ coalition government, thereby overloading the delicate balance of pro/anti feeling in the country toward independence (from Denmark). The relationship between the natural landscape and the validity of an independent nation-state played a vital role in the pro independance party’s election campaign.
The Oyster Catcher’s in-exhaustive zeal, persistence and bluff in patrolling its’ landscape perhaps echoes its’ early manifestation on the islands’ flag as a vibrant symbol of the aspirant nation. However here it is pictured in relation to the camera establishing the implication of the artist and viewers’ position within the landscape as an external body and thereby problematising this emblematic spirit of nationhood.
Fugla was made during a NIFCA/ Network North residency in the Faroe Islands.
Installation details: This work is projected to a large format ( at least 2m horizontal scale ) in a darkened space. The sound is amplified from DVD and played through speakers installed in the space.
The Short Span Solo exhibition. Millennium Court gallery. Portadown. N. Ireland. 2004
Think Over Rialto Santambrogio. Rome. 2003