Sphagnum Time

Sphagnum Time is a work by Sissel Marie Tonn.

In Sphagnum Time we encounter three bog bodies that were never found by the peat diggers of the 20th century. Sacrificed to the bog thousands of years ago, they have obtained a new form of subjectivity beyond the human, one that spans across the ecological circumstances they became part of; of acidic water, sphagnum mosses, trapped methane gas, and the bacterial ecosystems maintaining the bog. In the installation, the bog bodies act as guides for a sub-surface undergoing change. They communicate with us an understanding of time and change that seems beyond our reach, one that requires listening to and observing the subjectivities and rhythms that span beyond the lived experiences of humans. Working with photogrammetry scans of bog bodies from Moesgaard Museum (DK) and Drents Museum (NL), which support the process of converting photographs into 3D digital models, Sissel Marie Tonn invites us to meditate on time and changing environments as the three bog bodies murmur and chant the seasonal rhythms of life and post-life cycles entangled within sphagnum ecosystems.


Concept & Artistic Direction: Sissel Marie Tonn
Digital Environment and Animation: Martin Menso & Sissel Marie Tonn
Music Composition & Sound: Jonathan Reus
Voice Performance: Stephanie Pan, Florian de Backere
Project Support: Chee Yee Tang

Script: Sissel Marie Tonn, with inspiration from conversations with Pauline Asingh (Curator and Head of New Exhibitions, Moesgård Museum, Højbjerg), Heather Leslie (Senior Researcher, Dept. of Environment and Health VU Amsterdam), and Floor Huisman (Curator of Archeology Drents Museum, Assen)

Source Material: The three fictitious bog bodies featuring in this installation are composed of parts of the following real, existing bog bodies: Grauballe Man (MOMU), Emmer-Erfscheidenveen Man, Erica arm, Exloërmond Man, Yde Girl (Drents Museum, Assen)

Sphagnum Time was commissioned by Magda Tyżlik-Carver (PL/GB/DK) & Anders Visti (DK) for Fermenting Data project, with support from Moesgaard Museum (MOMU) (Aarhus, Denmark and Drents Museum (DM), Assen, the Netherlands and financially supported by: Stroom The Hague and The Danish Arts Council.

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