This abridged conversation between sound artist Elin Már Øyen Vister, ornithologist Gayomini Padagoda and hydrogeologist and birder Moditha Kodikara Arachchi recorded over several sessions in autumn 2021 centres the past lives, movements and precarious futures of birds between the ‘bird mountains’ of Norway/Sapmi and the diverse ecosystems of Sri Lanka – from kittiwakes, guillemots and puffins to other pelagic seabirds such as storm petrols, flamingos, terns and waders. Many migrate from the high Arctic to this corner of the Indian Ocean – especially to the wetlands of the sacred and ecologically unique northern Mannar island chain as well as the southern rainforests and coastlines. This exchange considers agricultural, urban and conservation practices that affect the habitats of many birds for whom Sri Lanka is the last stop of a long journey, some arriving from as far as northern Europe. The discussion also highlights the important position Sri Lanka has for so many of its resident endemic species, with 5% of global avian diversity found on the island.
This exchange is a prelude to the collective listening session of field recordings by the three interlocutors (see Track 4), as well as an intentional resource for urgent and ongoing research, educational activism and knowledge-sharing for bird protection across manmade borders.
Sound artist Elin Már Øyen Vister, ornithologist Gayomini Padagoda and hydrogeologist and birder Moditha Kodikara Arachchi sit down with Syma Tariq to collectively (and remotely) listen to field recordings made from their respective locations in Norway/Sapmi and Sri Lanka.
Taking its title from Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation (“one way ashore, a thousand channels”), this four-part online radio programme features conversation, poetry, music, specially commissioned sound works and guest radio projects in the lead-up to Colomboscope 2022, and will also form part of the festival’s listening space in Colombo. The works, reports and compositions presented here coalesce around the festival theme ‘language is migrant’, encompassing various aural modes and listening practices across multiple Indian Ocean territories and beyond, sounding out their diasporic fringes and linguistic and musical enclaves. The pieces are best explored on a desktop computer.
A project by Syma Tariq
Sound design: Francesca Savoldi
Collaborators: Natasha Ginwala, Anushka Rajendran