Burbot


Petri Kuljuntausta

Burbot

Sound, video, subwoofer, Sound Shower -speaker, nets
In Burbot, a burbot sings, explores, dances and fights. It is a fish that is hard to find, but the song of the burbot has recently been recorded in a Canadian research project. The best sample of the song of the fish is heard in Burbot. Scientists believe that sound plays a central role in the spawning behaviour of burbot. The video was filmed in the spawning season in March, when burbots are at their most active and move about also during the day.
In Finnish mythology, the burbot was made by the devil. God had made beautiful fish with silvery sides, and the devil, too, decided to make a fish from what was left over. Black spots from his sooty hands, however, remained on the surface of the fish. He spat on it, trying to wipe the stains off. This was not successful and the fish had to make do as such. The burbot was so ashamed of it soot-stained and slimy appearance that ever since Creation it has lurked at the bottom.
After the Ice Age, the burbot was one of the first fish to colonize bodies of water in Finland. It is found in brackish water and inland bodies of water throughout the country as far the northernmost parts of Finland. It prefers to remain at the bottom in cool water. The warming of bodies of water and other environmental change are having an adverse effect on burbot populations, which have also suffered from the acidic drying and run-off waters from alum soils. Burbot also suffers from marked eutrophication, and breeding problems and loss of burbot have been reported in some areas. Burbot populations have also declined or disappeared in areas influenced by the warm cooling waters of nuclear power plants.
With thanks to Adjunct Professor Pete Cott, chemical engineer Mike Guo, and the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE.

The work was commissioned for the exhibition Rauma Biennale Balticum 2016 – Vulnerability,
which was held at Rauma Art Museum in June 18 – September 18, 2016.

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