Várjjat - where the land and ocean speak ...

The workshop invites the participants to be guests in Várjjat/Varanger, Sea Sámi land - listening, sensing, being in the spring, which is the beginning of the year in Sámi tradition, at Biergi/Kiberg/ Kiiperi (Norwegian Sápmi) with interdisciplinary artist Elin Már Øyen Vister and choreographer/performer Katarina Skår Lisa, hosted by Trond Henriksen (Cape East Arctic Adventure).

Location: Biergi/Kiber/ Kiiperi
Dates: Saturday–Monday, 18–20 May (arrival 17 May)
Maximum 8 participants
Programme: Walking and listening to the land and the ocean, including visits to the Várjjat Sámi Musea/Varanger Sámi Museum, Ceavccageaðge/Mortensnes cultural heritage site, and Ihkkot/Ekkerøy or Hornøya seabird mountains.
Invited artist and composer: Elin Már Øyen Vister https://elinmar.com/
Invited performer/dancer/choreographer: Katarina Skår Lisa https://katarinalisa.com/
Host: Trond Henriksen
Coordination: Nancy Couling & Atso Airola with Elin Már Øyen Vister

We use deep listening as an ethical method/approach for site-specific work. We spend time with questions of how artists or cultural workers can develop ethical and respectful, reciprocal, and relational ways of working with land they visit as guests, and do not have a cultural connection, or heritage to, in particular on /in indigenous land.

The workshop will spend time listening to the land and sea scapes' innate x-stories (a new term which is more inclusive to women’s, LGBTQIA and non-hierarchical and non-patriarchal stories), to the shore, the birdlife, and human and nonhuman life that lived and have lived here. We listen to local x-story at The Várjjat Sámi Musea, Ceavccageaðge cultural heritage site, local seabird mountains, and at Cape East in Biergi/Kiberg, where Trond Henriksen is based. Henriksen is the father of dancer-choreographer-peformer Katarina Skår Lisa who takes part in the workshop as the main participant.

Food and accommodation over the three days is provided by the workshop, as well as travel expenses up to ca. €350.


Day 1 (arrival previous day)
   - Introduction including land acknowledgment
   - Deep listening walk
   - Workshop at the base
   - Visit Ceavccageaðge cultural heritage site

Day 2
   - Presentation by artist Katarina Skår Lisa
   - Visit Kittiwake hotel in Biergi/Kiberg
   - Visit Hornøya bird reserve or Ihkkot/Ekkerøy

Day 3
   - Artist talk by Elin Már
   - Listening
   - Visit Steilneset Memorial at Vardø
   - Final discussions
   - Individual departures

The workshop will be facilitated by interdisciplinary artist, composer, land/water defender Elin Már Øyen Vister (NO) based on Røst in Lofuohhta/Lofoten, who has a deep passion for deep listening as developed by the late Pauline Oliveros and for dedicating their practice to documenting the historical and contemporary decline in the sea bird populations on Røst.

Elin Már has been invited by Katarina Lisa Skår Lisa to come to Várjjat.

Katarina Skår Lisa  

is an educated choreographer, dancer, and teacher who through artworks conveys the relationship between poetry, art, and nature. She lives in Nesodden, a half-island outside Oslo, but frequently she finds her “home” in the very north of Norway/Sápmi, in Varjjat / Varanger in the Sami area of Finnmark. Here she makes relational inquiries with the land and to her Sea Sami family heritage that she carries through her father’s roots.

In her recent project ‘Gift of Stone’, she explored what ‘ good relations ‘ means to and with landscapes and intangible cultural heritages, seen from an indigenous worldview. She aims to broaden perspectives and knowledge about Sea Sami culture by investigating what a Sea Sami artistic language could be today.

Elin Már (NO)    

Elin Már Øyen Vister is a genderqueer interdisciplinary artist, composer, and land/water defender, based on Røst in the far south-west of Lofoten/Lofuohta/Láfot, traditional Sea Sami lands. Elin Már embraces a wide range of artistic expression and works with experimental composition, field recordings, improvisation, performance, installation, language/place names/linguistics, poetry/text, textiles, sculptures of organic material and so-called sensory walks. Øyen Vister practices an artistic research method that is slow-moving and site-specific, and which is inspired by Deep Listening, intersectional, post-colonial, and eco-feminist elements, social justice movements and indigenous methods. Creating space for a diversity of understandings of reality, narratives and voices is Elin Már's driving force, together with deconstructing "given" and "normative" truths. Ideally, Øyen Vister's installations are accompanied by one/several social choreographies that take the audience physically “out of the gallery space and” into the landscape, the work they have co-created belongs to - and relates to. Øyen Vister's ongoing major artistic research projects include "Soundscape Røst (2010-)" and “Deconstructing Norwegianness". They also co-operate and program the artist in residency program and joint workshop Røst AIR at Skomvær Fyrstasion and Røstlandet (2012-).


Please send a cv, compact portfolio and a letter of motivation together in one pdf, no larger than 8 MB, to nancycouling@bas.org  before midnight, 18 April 2024.

Participants will be chosen based on experience and motivation, but also on diversity to include those both within and outside academic contexts. Several places are reserved for local participants. Doctoral candidates, post-docs, artists, practitioners in different fields and sound novices or enthusiasts are encouraged to apply. We look forward to your application and to joining us in Várjjat/Varanger in May!