Life Aquatic

Petri Kuljuntausta


LIFE AQUATIC – underwater concert, sound installation and sculpture – offers experiences both under and above water from morning to evening.

Life Aquatic is the title of an underwater project, which was arranged first time at Rauma Swimming Hall, August 17 – 20, 2016. Petri Kuljuntausta composed underwater installation and performed live in the evening concerts. Artist Kristiina Ljokkoi visualized the hall and created underwater sculptures. Saxophonist Jarno Tikka and architect Tuomas Toivonen composed a piece for the evening concert.

Before the event Petri Kuljuntausta stated about the plan:

For this event I’ll make an underwater installation, title of the work is Life Aquatic. The work is based on underwater sound recordings at Baltic Sea. There will be many kind if underwater sounds in the work: passing boats, fishes, sound of sea, unidentified underwater sounds, underwater electronic signals and so on. Some of the sounds has been recorded 100 metres below the surface.

This work has been realized in collaboration with Finnish Environment Institute Syke. I have collaborated with Syke for several years now. They have made hydrophonic recordings for scientific use all around on the Finnish seas, and I am their “house artist”, who is creating art projects from their research material. At Syke they research the Baltic Sea and work in the field of science, I do sound works and compositions and work in the field of art/music. We both focus on the same material, but we look the material from a different angle. This is very unique opportunity to me. Especially I like this kind of collaboration as it could offer me new sound material, sounds recorded at distant locations and below the surface. As an independent artist, I could never have possibilities to make this kind of recordings by myself. The microphones were installed in the sea, they were connected to computer, that was programmed to record the environmental sounds regularly.

My Life Aquatic installation is open during daytime. The audience will listen to the work underwater, they have to dive, or at least swim one ear below the water surface, to hear the sound through the scull and bones — as ear doesn’t work underwater. Over water, in the air, people don’t hear the work.

All the sounds in the installation work are recorded underwater. As far as I know this is the first time ever when an art work has been realized from this basis. By this I mean that the sounds of the work are recorded in underwater environment and the listening experience happens in underwater environment.

For the  Life Aquatic, artist Kristiina Ljokkoi is creating underwater sculptures. These are acrylic balls which are in the swimming pools, and inside the balls are water samples, microscopic life forms, from the waters near Rauma.

Ecological thinking is one of the most important factor behind the whole event. We want people to notice that our actions affects to the underwater life and its balance. If we throw plastic and other trashes to sea, birds and fishes and smaller creatures eat this and get sick. And it takes hundreds of years until the plastic is vanished from the nature.
For the event I have curated evening concerts. Every evening there will be different artists and musicians performing. The audience can listen to the performances normally, no need to go to swimming pool to hear the music. But there are also my underwater speakers in the pools, so the audience could swim if they like during the performances and listen the music underwater. OR they can move up and down and compare how the music sound in the air, and underwater.
We have arranged sound and light company to take care about the AV technology of the simming hall. There will be turcoise / blue based light design and smoke machine in the swimming hall. The atmosphere of the place will be totally different if compared to its ordinary use. With large molton curtains we cover the windows so the daylight can’t come in and the colors of the lights will be then better under control. Molton curtain is for acoustic use, so it damp the echoes.